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Columbia Pacific CCO awards more than $720,000 to Northwest Oregon nonprofits addressing food insecurity, mental health and housing needs, substance use disorder and more

Feb 21, 2024, 17:16 PM

(SEASIDE, Oregon) Feb. 1, 2024 — Today, Columbia Pacific CCO announced that in 2023 it approved $721,229 in grant funding to be awarded to more than a dozen nonprofit, community-based organizations serving Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties.

The grants will support programs and initiatives aligning with the community-identified priorities of Columbia Pacific’s 2020-2024 Regional Health Improvement Plan – including community resilience and trauma informed care; chronic disease prevention; and access to primary care, behavioral health care and social-safety-net programs addressing food insecurity and other local challenges.

“Since the start of our current Regional Health Improvement Plan, Columbia Pacific has invested millions in the plan’s focus areas to improve the health of our members and the wider communities we serve,” said Nancy Knopf, director of community health partnerships. “We are honored to be able to listen to community voices and act on what our communities have told us they need most.”

To build community resilience and improve access to trauma informed care, Columbia Pacific awarded:

  • a $70,000 grant to FolkTime, a peer-run, Portland-based nonprofit that is partnering with Opioid Use Response for Tillamook County (OUR Tillamook) and CARE Tillamook on a project to significantly increase the number of peer support specialists serving Tillamook, Clatsop and Columbia counties. By the end of 2024, Folk Time expects to provide nearly 50 Tillamook County residents (including Oregon Health Plan members) with the training needed to be licensed by the state as peer support specialists.
  • A $25,000 grant to EngAGE Northwest, which partners with affordable housing developers to provide residents with free, onsite arts, wellness, lifelong-learning and intergenerational programs. The funding is slated to be used to enhance the services EngAGE Northwest provides to residents of Broadleaf Arbor, an affordable-housing community in St. Helens.
  • A $25,000 grant to Riverside Community Outreach of St. Helens, which serves vulnerable children and supports families impacted by foster care in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties. The funding is slated to be used to enhance an outreach program that helps keep families intact, supports the recruitment and retention of foster parents, the reunification of families and fills financial gaps for foster parents.
  • A $15,300 grant to Tillamook Early Learning Center, a nonprofit preschool program serving mostly low-income students. The funding is slated to be used to purchase essential supplies for the 2023-2024 school year.
  • A $25,000 grant to Tillamook Food Pantry to help fund the construction of a covered exterior space, allowing the organization to handle more client volume and add a drive-up, pickup window to accommodate people with mobility issues and disabilities.

To improve access to behavioral health care, Columbia Pacific awarded $201,024 in grant funding to the Amani Center in St. Helens – where children who are or may be victims of abuse, neglect or witness to violence receive forensic evaluations and support services in a child-friendly, developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed setting.

The Amani Center plans to use the funding to start a mental health program providing trauma-focused therapeutic interventions, counseling, case management, expert witness and court testimony for crime-impacted children, and coordination with investigative partners. Program staff will include bilingual mental health providers and victim-advocate community health workers.

“The launch of our Child Advocacy Mental Health Services program will more than double the availability of trauma-focused therapeutic interventions in our community,” said Amani Center Executive Director Amelia Kercher.

She added, “Using evidence-based intervention models, we can help children and families heal and go on to lead healthier lives. The program will help families get timely access to services and, being integrated with our assessment team, reduce the burden on children and caregivers to navigate multiple systems or tell their story multiple times.”

To support social-safety-net organizations and help prevent chronic diseases through improved access to fresh, nutrient-dense food, Columbia Pacific awarded:

  • Grant funding totaling $102,500 to Columbia Pacific Food Bank in St. Helens, Turning Point Community Service Center in Clatskanie and HOPE of Rainier, organizations that play a vital role in addressing food insecurity in the geographically diverse and relatively isolated communities of Columbia County.
  • A $97,905 grant to Astoria-based North Coast Food Web that’s slated to be used to launch a regional Farm-to-Food Assistance program, in partnership with social service organizations. The program will buy nutrient-dense, fresh food from local farmers and provide it for free to community members experiencing food insecurity.
  • An $85,000 grant to Food Roots to support a partnership between the Tillamook-based nonprofit and the Oregon Food Bank. Food Roots, the Oregon Food Bank and local farmers will collaborate to expand farmers' production capacities. This, in turn, will allow Food Roots and the Oregon Food Bank to buy large quantities of fruits, vegetables and meat from local farmers and distribute it to community members. Food Roots anticipates that more than 3,000 community members experiencing food insecurity will directly benefit from the program within two years of its launch.
  • A $25,000 grant to First Steps Center for Autism + Developmental Disabilities in Warrenton. The funding is slated to be used for resources, training, workshops and support groups for children, parents and other members of families experiencing autism and/or developmental disabilities. The center opened in May 2023 and is staffed by parents of children with disabilities.
  • A $25,000 grant to Tillamook Seventh-day Adventist Church to be used for its safe-park program for people living in their vehicles and other community supports.
    • A $10,000 grant to Community Meals of Columbia County, a volunteer-run program that serves free meals out of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Helens. The program paused its meal service for nearly three years during the pandemic. The grant is intended to help the program build back, with the aim of serving more than 125 meals every Tuesday.

    To address the need for affordable housing, Columbia Pacific awarded a $14,500 grant to Tillamook County Habitat for Humanity. The funding is slated to be used for its Women Build initiative to complete the drywall in an affordable home under construction in Bay City, Oregon. Since 2020, Columbia Pacific and its risk-share agreement partners in Clatsop and Tillamook counties have invested more than $5.3 million to address the housing crisis in Northwest Oregon.

    For more information about Columbia Pacific’s community grant programs visit:

    About Columbia Pacific CCO

    Columbia Pacific CCO, part of the CareOregon family of companies, is proud to serve more than 36,000 Oregon Health Plan members living in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties. As a nonprofit coordinated care organization (CCO), we provide physical, dental and mental health care through a growing network of health care providers. Our priorities are guided by our local board of directors, community advisory councils and clinical advisory panel, and are informed by extensive community engagement. Columbia Pacific is committed to promoting the health of all those in our region. We focus on increasing access to language services, offering treatment for those experiencing substance use disorders, and fostering connections that promote social health.

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