Poverty to Prosperity gets $5,000 boost

Riley Hill, left, and Dirk DeBoer with Malheur County Poverty to Prosperity hold a $5,000 check from the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation.

ONTARIO — A Malheur County initiative aimed at boosting the local economy has received a boost of its own. The Samuel S. Johnson Foundation, based in Redmond, has donated $5,000 to Poverty to Prosperity.

Poverty to Prosperity aims to improve Malheur County’s economy by training the local work force. Through a partnership between Treasure Valley Community College and the Ontario, Nyssa and Vale school districts, Poverty to Prosperity has launched welding and allied health classes. An automated systems program begins this fall.

That training is crucial to help the county compete on a scale much bigger than Malheur County, said Dirk DeBoer, Poverty to Prosperity’s co-founder.

“We’re in a world economy,” he said.

“To compete, we need a good education. We need trained people. You can’t compete with the world if you don’t have trained people.”

Poverty to Prosperity seeks to build Malheur County’s morale as well as its economy.

“You need to motivate your own people so they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and get a good job,” DeBoer said.

The check to Poverty to Prosperity is designated for the program’s area of greatest need.

Riley Hill, who spearheaded the initiative and sits on its committee, said Monday he didn’t yet know how the money would be put to use.

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