Successful Citizens and Vital Rural Communities
Organizational Outcomes for the Next Decade
By 2025, more residents of rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California will be:
- Educated and prepared for successful adulthood
- Employed in a high-quality job
- Engaged in local community improvement and civic affairs
A national leader in rural philanthropy, The Ford Family Foundation is a private foundation benefiting communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. In 1957, Kenneth W. Ford & Hallie E. Ford established a then- modest foundation to give back to the timber communities of southwest Oregon. It grew in size, scope, and geography to become The Ford Family Foundation in 1996, with its main office in Roseburg, Oregon, and its scholarship office in Eugene, Oregon. One of the three largest grantmaking foundations in Oregon, The Ford Family Foundation has assets of $850M and distributes $43M annually with a staff of 40 and a seven-member board of directors.
During its formative years, the Foundation concentrated its support on three counties in Oregon and California: Douglas, Coos, and Siskiyou. In recent years, the Foundation has expanded statewide throughout rural Oregon while remaining committed to the three-county region.
The Foundation aims to improve conditions in rural communities and to increase the wellbeing of children and families who live in those communities. The Ford Family Foundation has distinguished its work by recognizing that community capacity building is key to making lasting positive change, and it has invested in leadership development and community building for fifteen years. The arrival of a new president and leadership team in the last four years has accelerated the Foundation’s commitment to strategic and proactive investments to facilitate community-based change that is driven and owned by community residents. The Foundation is targeting all of its philanthropic tools – grants, scholarships, capacity building, convening, research, and strengthening statewide systems – to improving life in rural communities in support of its mission.
Initiatives, partnerships, and grants in this area focus on investments in people who live in rural communities, including: early childhood development, youth development and education, child abuse prevention and intervention, access to health and dental care, postsecondary preparation and success, scholarships for college students, and career readiness for postsecondary students.
Vital Rural Communities
Initiatives, partnerships, and grants in this area include focus on investments in rural communities, for example: leadership development and capacity building, community-based efforts to improve local conditions, workforce and business development, rural capital investments, and rural economic vitality.
Located in Southwestern Oregon, Roseburg is a part of the Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua. The Umpqua River, which gives the region its name, begins near Roseburg and meanders for 111 miles through valleys and mountains before emptying into the Pacific. The community is nestled in a lush, forested region that has been compared geographically and climatologically with Italy and Southern France. Roseburg is just an hour south of the state’s second largest city, Eugene, home to the University of Oregon. There are myriad recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts within the Roseburg area and nearby: Oregon beaches are to the west, Crater Lake National Park is to the east, and the region is famous for hiking and fishing. Theater lovers from throughout the world flock to Ashland, home of the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is less than two hours south. Roseburg is the county seat of Douglas County with a regional population of over 100,000 people.