MALHEUR COUNTY — In conjunction with Giving Tuesday, the nationwide move to bolster charitable giving, The Argus Observer looked into Malheur County’s numbers in the Oregon Community Foundation’s Giving in Oregon 2019 report. The report, which garners numbers from income tax returns, details numbers for 2017, the most recent available, and was released just before Thanksgiving.
According to the report, there was an 8% overall uptick throughout the state in charitable giving across all income levels in 2017 compared to the previous year. This specific comparison for counties was not available in the report.
In Malheur County, contributions reached a total of $5,962,073, with the top ten organizations garnering $5,339,795 of that amount.
It is noteworthy that while education remains a top focus area for donors throughout the state, human services is a priority for donors in Malheur County with more than 53% of donations ($3,189,399) being allocated to organizations providing that type of support. In contrast, this category only accounts for 11% of donations throughout the entire state.
In Malheur County, the top entities which received the most donations for the human services category include Malheur County Child Development Centers (garnering the most at $2.1 million), Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living, Giggles & Grace Early Learning Center, Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, Help Them To Hope, Malheur Council on Aging and Community Services and Ontario and Vale senior citizen centers.
Youth development and education
Nearly tying for the next-highest giving categories in Malheur County were youth development and education, at 12% and 11.82% respectively.
Three organizations benefitting from donations in the the youth development category include the Boys & Girls Club of the Western Treasure Valley, Treasure Valley Children’s Relief Nursery and Malheur County 4-H Association. The Boys & Girls Club received the majority of donations in this category at $485,883.
In looking at state numbers for youth development, donations account for slightly more than 5% of giving, with Boys & Girls Clubs in Portland and Corvallis landing among the top 10 recipients.
While education is a top priority for donors throughout the state, garnering 26% of donations, in Malhuer County it accounted for 11.82% of donations.
Environmental quality came in next at a 9% for the sole organizations in this category: watershed councils.
Malheur Watershed Council received $325,394 in donations, while Owyhee Watershed Council earned $216,556.
Housing and community improvement
In Malheur County and throughout the state, the fewest donations went to organizations providing services such as housing (.74%), community improvement (2.27%).
For community improvement in Malheur County, Tri-County Love INC received more than $78,000, with Communities in Action seeing $56,708. It is noteworthy that Love INC is no longer in operation.
In the housing category, the sole nonprofit listed is Project DOVE. The organization, which is dedicated to ending domestic violence, garnered $43,978.
Health, arts, other
As with the rest of the state, health and art services are lower priorities philanthropists.
In Malheur County, donations for health services barely inched past 4% while arts barely inched past that at 4.41%.
Organizations listed as top for donations in the health category include top recipient Saint Alphonsus Foundation - Ontario ($176,188) and Four Rivers Healthy Community ($50,037). Other organizations that received donations in that category include TFP Therapeutic Services, Four Rivers Health Care, Jordan Valley Ambulance and the Presbyterian Nursing Home (which received $600 before it was shuttered in June of 2017).
It may come as no surprise to locals that Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum garnered the most donations in the arts category at $174,236. It also made the top 10 list for donations received throughout the county.
Other organizations offering arts that benefitted from donations include Drexel H. Foundation, the Ontario Basque Club, Jordan Valley-Owyhee Heritage Council, Vale Heritage Reflections Mural Society and Nyssa Historical Society.
Four local nonprofit organizations were listed among those in the Other category, where services provided do not fit into one of the aforementioned categories. These include Pregnancy Resource Center receiving the most in that category at $89,589. The Huntington Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Veterans’ Memorial Hall and Ontario Feral Cat Project were also listed.
Overall in 2017, nonprofit organizations in Oregon reported $2.4 billion in donations from individuals, as well as government and foundation grants in 2017. Since 2010, contributions to nonprofit entities have increased by 66%.
Even with the increase over the previous year, 2017 marks the second year in a row where Oregonians gave at a lower rate than Americans overall. In 2017, Oregonians gave 2.25% of their income to charity (up from 2.22% in 2016), with the U.S. rate increasing to 2.33% from 2.31% in the same time period.
Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has tracked charitable giving in the state for two decades.
On the Web
Access the interactive report, including a county-by-county view of giving, at oregoncf.org/giving2019.