UCAN regularly receives support from many wonderful local foundations and advised funds. But perhaps no other single foundation has had a greater impact on the programming we are able to offer than The Ford Family Foundation (TFFF). With their President and Chief Executive Officer Anne Kubisch retiring, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank both her and the Foundation for their support of our work in Douglas County.
We have no doubt that those at TFFF were overjoyed to bring on Anne to replace the Foundation’s founding president, Norm Smith, in 2013. She arrived after spending almost two decades at the Aspen Foundation, where she established the nation’s premiere community building knowledge center. Noting TFFF’s commitment to families and children, Anne said she looked forward to “going deep in one place on the issues that I have been passionate about for my whole life.”
The timing of her arrival could not have been more fortuitous for UCAN. Though TFFF had long supported our work, UCAN would soon reach out to TFFF requesting $1.25 million, by far the most we had ever requested from any foundation. We needed a commitment of TFFF funds to secure an additional $1.5 million from the State of Oregon, funds which would together cover much of the cost of constructing a new Head Start Center adjacent to our Martha Young Service Center (MYSC). The new Center would allow us to save substantial funds spent on moving classes between leased sites, would provide children from their early days to four years old with a modern, quality learning environment, and would offer their families easy access to wrap-around services offered at MYSC.
We knew that TFFF’s Board and Anne favored awarding grants where local community support was in hand. But we couldn’t launch a capital campaign without having not only TFFF’s commitment, but also having funding committed by the State of Oregon. Anne worked with TFFF’s Board, notably the chair of the Board, Toby Luther, to craft a solution to address our Catch-22. The result: TFFF committed up to $1.25 million to the project, with the proviso that funds would be awarded as a 3:1 match for local community dollars we raised.
With TFFF’s commitment in hand, we were able to obtain $1.5 million from the State. We then launched our capital campaign, and raised the local match needed to obtain TFFF’s $1.25 million. But three years later we needed more help, as changes in project costs left us unable to finish two of our new classrooms. With Anne’s support and guidance, we were able to secure an additional 3:1 pledge from TFFF to match additional capital campaign funds raised with up to $164,544.
As Anne now leaves TFFF, and becomes as she says it, “a regular citizen of Roseburg”, she leaves behind a great legacy for our community, including our beautiful Early Childhood Center. Since it’s opening in fall of 2019, we’ve served hundreds of local infants, toddlers and children age 3-4 there. As we had dreamed when planning the facility, all of our Early Childhood programs are now located in our surrounding buildings. Families can obtain WIC services right next door to where their children attend classes. Through her support, Anne has indeed “gone deep”, having faith that our local community could come together to build a treasured asset.