Port Angeles, WA, November 1, 2019– The Board of Directors of the First Federal Community Foundation announced that it will make the following grant awards to nonprofits that are making a difference in our communities:
“The Foundation board continues to be impressed by the breadth of organizations improving the quality of life in the communities we serve. While this makes our decisions as to where to allocate our funds challenging, we are excited to watch the impact that will unfold as a result of this Fall’s grants,” said Foundation board chairman Norman J. Tonina, Jr.
About the First Federal Community Foundation: First Federal Community Foundation is a private 501(c)3 charitable corporation launched in 2015 with a generous gift of stock and cash from the parent company of First Federal Bank, when the bank was converted to a publicly traded company. With this gift, First Federal Bank made clear its commitment to continue its tradition of supporting the communities it serves.
In that same spirit, First Federal Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities in which First Federal Bank maintains full-service branches. Committed to creating broad impact, the Foundation has contributed more than $3.6 million since 2015 to qualified organizations that provide community support, address the availability of affordable housing, and deliver economic and community development projects in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Whatcom Counties.
About First Federal: First Federal is a subsidiary of First Northwest Bancorp (FNWB). First Federal is a Washington-chartered, community-based savings bank headquartered in Port Angeles, WA, and serves Western Washington with 13 banking centers in Clallam, Jefferson, King, Kitsap and Whatcom counties. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. www.ourfirstfed.com / (360)417.3204 / (800)800.1577
First Federal Bank and its Foundation are proud to have been ranked by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the top two of 25 mid-sized corporate philanthropists in the Pacific Northwest in both 2017 and 2018.
Olympic Medical Center Foundation was awarded a $25,000 Community Development grant
for expansion of the Cancer Care Center in Sequim.
Profile: Olympic Medical Center Cancer Center by Karen McCormick
Few things are more terrifying than receiving a diagnosis of cancer. Beating the disease is one thing, but patients and their families must also face the daunting logistics involved with treatment and recovery. For those living in the rural communities of the North Olympic Peninsula, this often involves grueling trips to Seattle-area hospitals, often on a daily or weekly basis, when resources are already stretched to their limits.
Olympic Medical Center opened its Cancer Center in Sequim in 2002, and by 2007 was treating 2,700 patients annually. Nine years later that number had grown to 8,100 patients – an increase of 157%. “We are unbelievably lucky, in a community this size, to have a world-class outpatient cancer center here,” said Phil Walker, board member of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation and avid supporter of the OMC Cancer Center expansion project. Although no patient is turned away, the Center is now at its maximum capacity.
OMC’s planned expansion of the Sequim Cancer Care Center will increase clinical exam space, expand its pharmacy, offer more infusion and chair space, and provide room for communication and educational efforts. This will increase the Center’s capacity by fifty percent, ensuring that the healthcare needs of our growing population will be met. Walker highlights another benefit of the Center’s expansion: “We will now be able to attract and retain the finest medical professionals, including medical and radiation oncologists, RNs and nurse practitioners, and medical assistant staff. Most important, however, is that patients will continue to benefit from the exceptional quality of care they receive, right here at home.”
Olympic Medical Center Foundation committed to raising $1 million for the expansion project, and by December 2018 it had exceeded that target. In 2018, First Federal Community Foundation, together with First Federal Bank, gave a combined leadership gift of $150,000 toward the OMC Cancer Center expansion project – an investment that will help bring hope and comfort to recovering cancer patients at a time when they need it the most.
Bainbridge Island Child Care Centers were awarded $25,000 Community Development grant in 2018 to develop a new care facility for school-age children.
Profile: Bainbridge Island Child Care Centers by Karen McCormick
For multiple generations of Bainbridge Island residents, the Bainbridge Island Child Care Centers (BICC) represent everything good about a community. Founded over forty years ago, the non-profit organization serves the community and its families by providing affordable, accessible programs for pre-school and school-age children where fun and learning are promoted in a creative, nurturing and safe environment.
Faced with the need to find a new location, BICCC launched the Little Red Schoolhouse Campaign to raise funds for renovations to its new 2-1/2 acre campus, providing a permanent home for its school-age programs. The campaign resonated with people like Lily Karsten, whose father brought her to the same pre-school to which Lily now brings her own children.
John Fossett, whose children also attended BICCC, now serves as a trustee for the nonprofit. “At BICCC, my daughter felt loved and included and found comfort that would last her well into young adulthood,” said Fossett. “She still has the friends she made at BICCC.”
First Federal Community Foundation’s $25,000 community development grant award in 2018 to BICCC helped establish a permanent home for BICCC’s school-age programs, ensuring that this vital and beloved agency will continue serving Bainbridge Island families well into the future.
Lily Karsten and Barb Brewis – Three generations at BICCC
“I wanted my daughter to have the same creative and fun experience that I had at BICCC’s Children’s Center.” — Lily Karsten, Parent
Lily Karsten and her daughter, Olivia, visit BICCC’s Children’s Center with Lily’s father, Porter Condon. In the late 1980s, Porter would bring Lily to the same preschool to which Lily brings Olivia today.
Lily Karsten and her mother, Barb Brewis (center) confer with lead BICCC teacher Anne Campbell about the upcoming enrollment of Lily’s younger daughter, Gemma. Anne was Lily’s own teacher when she was a Children’s Center student and mentored Lily when she later worked there as a caregiver.
John Fossett reminisces with Brigitte Wilson, the former teacher of his children, Ellen and Jacob. John, who believes BICCC contributed to his kids’ well-being as young adults, chose to serve as a trustee for the nonprofit.
“At BICCC, my daughter felt loved and included and found comfort that would last her well into young adulthood. She still has the friends she made at BICCC.” — John Fossett, Parent
**All photos by Brofsky Productions
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jan Simon at 360-417-3112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen McCormick, who went from teller to CEO at bank, is honored at reception
PORT ANGELES — Karen McCormick had two cats and $600 to her name when she drove an old truck from the San Francisco Bay Area to Port Angeles in 1977.
McCormick took a job as a teller at First Federal’s eastside branch and embarked on what would become a nationally recognized banking career.
McCormick had become the bank’s CEO by 1997. In 2015, she became the first executive director of the First Federal Community Foundation.
“This is really a full cycle for you,” First Federal Community Foundation Board Chairman Norman J. Tonina told McCormick in a retirement reception at the eastside branch Monday evening.
“You came here on your first day, and we’re sending you off from here.”
McCormick said she was “overwhelmed” by the expressions of thanks and well wishes.
She recalled writing a book on the history of First Federal, the largest locally owned bank on the North Olympic Peninsula, after retiring as the bank’s CEO in 2009.
“During that whole process, I came to see this bank is all about community, and has been since 1923,” McCormick told about 50 attendees.
“Since it first started, it was all about community. And what a wonderful legacy this bank continues to leave.”
McCormick, who turns 65 this year, became the first executive director of the First Federal Community Foundation when First Federal was converted to a public company in 2015.
The foundation is a private 501(c)(3) charitable corporation funded with a gift of cash and stock from First Northwest Bancorp, the parent company of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Port Angeles.
It provides funding for community support, affordable housing, economic development and community development in communities where First Federal operates a full-service branch.
First Federal, a subsidiary of First Northwest Bancorp, is a Washington-chartered, community-based savings bank headquartered in Port Angeles.
It serves Western Washington through 13 banking centers located within Clallam, Jefferson, King, Kitsap and Whatcom counties.
The First Federal Community Foundation has provided $3.2 million in grants since 2015, officials said. It had $11.2 million in assets heading into 2018, according to an annual report.
“Karen is the person who really laid the groundwork to get to this point,” Tonina said.
“The good news is she sits on the board for at least one more year.”
Steve Oliver, chairman of the First Federal Board of Directors, said his colleague of nearly 40 years has been recognized nationally for her talents.
McCormick served as the chair of the Federal Reserve Board’s Thrift Industry Advisory Council.
“She sat across the table from Alan Greenspan in Washington, D.C., on a regular basis in the late ’90s and into the 2000s,” Oliver said.
In 2003, McCormick was named one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” by U.S. Banker Magazine.
“We hear a lot about a glass ceiling, and it’s certainly reality,” Oliver said.
“I don’t know what it was made of back in the mid ’90s, but whatever it was, she blasted through it.”
In addition to McCormick’s banking acumen and operational expertise, Oliver and other speakers highlighted McCormick’s philanthropic efforts, humility and “personal touch.”
“Karen has been a role model, not just to me but to many others in the baking industry,” said Dawnya Scarano, First Federal director of retail banking.
“She’s a living legend in our bank.
“She’s been dedicated to not only the bank but to our community, and our foundation, and she’s helped us through times of growth and change,” Scarano added before making a toast to McCormick’s future adventures in her RV.
Scarano recalled the handwritten Christmas cards that she received from McCormick and her two daughters.
“I thought ‘How does she have the time to do that? She’s such a busy woman,’ ” Scarano said. “That’s the personal touch.”
Bruce Skinner, executive director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, said First Federal and its foundation have been strong supporters of the local nonprofit community.
“The bank and the foundation don’t get the recognition that I think they deserve because they are significant donors to almost every nonprofit on the North Olympic Peninsula,” Skinner said.
“And I think to a large degree that’s because of Karen.”
First Federal made a major donation to Olympic Medical Center to bring digital mammography to the region about 20 years ago, Skinner said.
More recently, the First Federal foundation made a significant investment in the expansion of OMC’s Sequim Cancer Center, Skinner said.
“When I say First Federal is a leader amongst local companies, they definitely put their money where their mouth is,” Skinner said.
John Moon, executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, described a housing project in Bellingham that was spearheaded by a First Federal Community Foundation grant.
“We are just so appreciative of your vision and leadership to get this project stated,” Moon told McCormick.
Said First Federal President and CEO Larry Hueth: “Karen is one of the finest human beings I have ever known in my life, and certainly one of the finest people I’ve every worked for and with.”
David Flodstrom, past chairman of the foundation, presented McCormick with a carved topographic map of the Salish Sea.
McCormick said she was inspired by the work of community nonprofits.
“I’ve never heard passion the way you are so committed to what you’re doing, and the passion that you bring to it,” McCormick told the nonprofit officials.
Jan Simon has succeeded McCormick as executive director of the First Federal Community Foundation.
Simon, who has more than 20 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations, joined the foundation in late April and has been learning from McCormick during a transition.
Simon said she had “big shoes to fill” as McCormick”s successor.
“It’s really an honor to take the helm of this foundation and continue to make a difference in all the communities that we serve,” Simon said.
Simon worked for more than 15 years as president and CEO of the Washington Lodging Association.
More recently, she served as executive director of Seattle’s Center for Spiritual Living.
“This foundation is in really good hands,” McCormick said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at email@example.com.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jan Simon at 360-417-3112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff of Scarlet Road, with staff of First Federal Community Foundation and First Federal Bank: Awarded $10,000 Community Support grant to purchase security equipment and make property improvements to enhance safety of clients and staff. Scarlet Road was born out of the commitment to see a way out for women and children in the sex industry. Scarlet Road set out to change social perspectives, help the community understand and serve victims of sexual exploitation, providing long-term support for women and children throughout the Kitsap and North Mason area.