Gray Family Foundation Grant

about the foundation

The Gray Family Foundation is founded on the belief that fostering an understanding and appreciation of our natural world is a crucial part of a child’s education. The Gray Family Foundation is a supporting organization of the Oregon Community Foundation and works to encourage greater civic engagement in Oregon through investments that promote environmental literacy. By supporting programs such as Outdoor School, geography education, and professional development for teachers, the GFF seeks to give Oregon students a greater understanding of the world outside the classroom.

In 2014 the Gray Family Foundation established the Camp Maintenace Fund for the 26 camps in Oregon that provide outdoor learning opportunities to students. Over the next four years, 13 camps were selected annually to participate. Drift Creek Camp received GFF grants in 2015 and 2017. The program required each camp to first raise $17,500 (or in-kind match). Each grantee dollar was then matched by two GFF dollars for a total of $35,000 in both 2015 and 2017!

Since Drift Creek Camp is located in a riparian rainforest, it is no surprise that its structures take a constant beating from the natural elements. In the first grant cycle, projects included:  replacing the exterior lodge steps on both ends, inspecting the bridge, completing a location survey of the grounds with mapping for electric and water lines. In 2017 one major project was to overhaul the bathhouse! New privacy partitions were purchased for the toilet and shower stalls, ceramic tiles were installed in the shower area, fiberglass sheeting was installed on the ceiling. In addition, the 3rd-floor furnace was replaced.

The structure of the grant program has now shifted. Drift Creek Camp will receive a $20,000 maintenance grant for 2020. DCC will need to match the grant with $10,000 either in cash donations or volunteer labor. One of the first projects on the list is building new long tables for the lodge. These will have built-in electrical access so that students can plug in microscopes. We also hope to install system-wide surge protectors in the lodge. Plans are also in the works to replace the railings on the bridge and to begin updating the lodge bathrooms. As usual, there is more work to do than funds, the board will prioritize as needed, but ideaqs include: replacing the single-pane glass in the chapel with better-insulated windows; expanding the deck off of the chapel for an inviting outdoor gathering area to enjoy the forest view and improve ADA accessibility; installing a heat-source in the bathhouse; enclosing the Activity Center for year-round use, and hopefully, one day installing a micro-hydro generator system that we’ve all been dreaming of!