For over 100 years, Peoples Bank has dedicated itself to bettering the communities that surround its branches. Its Impact Grant program, launched in 2017, is designed to help fund a specific project, use, or identified purpose that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the community. Although Peoples Bank typically selects one nonprofit to receive Impact Grant funds, two agencies were chosen in 2022: Anacortes Family Center and Camp Korey.
Anacortes Family Center
The Anacortes-based nonprofit was awarded a $25,000 Peoples Bank Impact Grant to provide maintenance and updates to its emergency shelter. Opened in 2009 as a 60-to-90-day emergency shelter for women, children, and families with children, Anacortes Family Center (AFC) works to help clients achieve self-sufficiency and long-term stability through programs that develop life, employment, and financial skills.
AFC also provides substantial academic and social support for children – about 60% of its clients at any given time are children, usually of elementary school age.
Over time, the Anacortes Family Center has expanded its capacity and mission. In 2017, the agency added a nine-apartment transitional building that houses clients for up to two years. In 2020, AFC began an affordable housing project it’s currently working to expand.
Dustin Johnson, AFC’s Executive Director, says the Peoples Bank Impact Grant funding will be used to renovate and refresh their emergency shelter apartments, which have seen hundreds of families continually passing through since they first opened. As a result, appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, and stoves need replacing, as do basics like flooring.
“Having the ability to make expensive capital improvements doesn’t happen every day, and being in a position to be able to make those expenditures without having to look at things like whether we’re facing a recession is a big deal to essential service providers like us,” Johnson says of the Impact Grant.
After the last couple of years of pandemic-exacerbated increases in domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illness, the Anacortes Family Center is working as hard as ever to meet an expanding need for its services. Individual donations and volunteer hours also help. The latter ranges from working one-on-one with children to processing in-kind donations like blankets, socks, hygiene items, and even furniture.
“We always need donations,” Johnson says. “Our organization runs on it.”
When a family walks into an apartment in the emergency shelter, it’s fully stocked with food, hygiene products, and clothing. There’s also a coupon for a free pizza, plus a welcome quilt with an accompanying card. This card explains how a “quilt work” of community partners, like Peoples Bank, makes it all possible.
“They come together to provide a sense of warmth, compassion, and care,” Johnson says, of generous community supporters. “It’s not lost on us, and we certainly pass that along to every single client.”
The recipient of a $10,000 “Peoples Choice” Impact Grant, Skagit County’s Camp Korey is a year-round recreational camp for children with complex and life-altering medical conditions.
The camp is a member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global initiative that grew from founder Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp. Originally located in Carnation, Washington, Camp Korey moved to a roughly 200-acre property near Lake McMurray in 2016.
Nichol Ellis, Camp Korey’s Community Engagement Manager, says that while the camp recently built three additional bunkhouse cabins to nearly double camp capacity, Impact Grant funds will be used to increase the facility’s accessibility needs. “We are very conscious about providing accessibility in a way that is inclusive and never makes a camper feel different, or anything other than authentically themselves,” Ellis says. Camp Korey is hilly and spread out so staff, campers, and the facility’s medical team make use of three GEM carts – electrically motorized carts that resemble extra-long golf carts – to get from one area to another.
Grant funding will be used to purchase additional GEM carts, and to adapt some of them to be wheelchair accessible. Currently, those with wheelchairs have had to travel aboard a propane-powered tram, which is larger and slower than the GEM carts, Ellis says.
Like the Anacortes Family Center, donations and volunteering are critical to Camp Korey’s mission, and the generous funding from entities like Peoples Bank is what allows year-round operations to continue free of charge to families, Ellis says.
“The impact, encouragement, and support from organizations like Peoples Bank has tremendous value,” Ellis says. “We are always eager to spread the good news about what we’re doing.”