Investing in youth: BCF grants $15,000 to Corvallis schools for suicide prevention program

In a ceremony on Wednesday, May 23rd, the Benton Community Foundation presented $15,000 to Corvallis Public Schools for the purpose of starting a new youth wellness initiative. The “Sources of Strength” program will focus on preventing teen suicide by building positive support networks between teachers and students, and students and their peers. The gift was accompanied by an additional $10,000 from Larry and Barbara Mullins’ Mullins Charitable Fund.

“Often when our community is facing a problem, one of the first things we talk about is mental health. What could we be doing better to support our neighbors’ mental health?” asked Chris Quaka, President/CEO of the Benton Community Foundation. “This is one thing we could be doing, but it takes financial resources to get it off the ground. Fortunately some generous individuals in our community decided to make it happen.”

Sources of Strength establishes in each school a network of adult advisors and peer leaders who work to change social norms around seeking help, creating a culture of empowerment, hope, and gratitude. The program has been recognized as a best practice by national health care agencies and was implemented at South Albany High School in 2016, the first Oregon school to do so.

“This grant is about making sure no one is left out,” stated Quaka. “Teachers are connecting with kids, but the kids are also taking care of each other. That’s the kind of community we want, where everyone is part of the solution and everyone is involved.”


Making an Impact

The Benton Community Foundation works to build and invest resources across the whole of Benton County. In 2017, we funded a project for Philomath Community Services, an organization that provides food, clothing, basic needs, and social services to families and individuals across western Benton County. With funding from BCF, Philomath Community Services was able to install a lift for their food pantry, making it easier for volunteers to move crates of canned food donations in the two-story facility.

Over the next year, we’ll be spotlighting projects in Alsea, Monroe, and throughout rural Benton County that have received support from BCF funding. Many of these projects are made possible because passionate community members have started endowments to ensure the well-being of their communities.

If you are interested in establishing an endowment to support a cause that’s meaningful to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (541) 753-1603.




2017 Annual Report

In 2017, the Benton Community Foundation distributed more than $780,000 in our local communities. This includes 65 scholarships for local students, such as the $15,000 Lillian and Paul Petri Music Study Scholarship. BCF also awarded grants to 67 area nonprofits and organizations, supporting basic needs, capacity building, arts and culture, science and technology, adult care, and more.

We're proud to share with you how philanthropy is making an impact for local kids and families across Benton County!

Click here to read the report.


Masonic Lodge Scholarship

65th Anniversary Celebration

In 1953, members of the Corvallis Rotary Club created a Foundation to advance the common good in our community - looking after the most vulnerable among us and providing opportunities for young people.

Today, their original investment of $1,000 has grown to more than $21 million. With the help of BCF, hundreds of donors have contributed to support local charities, provide scholarships, and build permanent community resources.

We're excited to celebrate 65 years of investing in our community, while looking ahead to the next 65 years!