As mentioned under Philomath 2000 Project it was the genesis and evolved into Philomath Community Foundation, the 2000 project relinquished its 501-C-3 status to the foundation.
Through 1996 and 1997 Philomath 2000 made many new friends, one of the friends was Steve Kearsley, Steve had come to Philomath and liked the feel of the community and made a decision to make this his new home. Steve discussed with the Philomath 2000 board of directors his idea’s on creating a “Community Foundation”. This set in motion discussions with the city, Community Response Team “CRT”, Philomath Community Development Team, Philomath 2000 and other interested parties. By August and September a plan to create “Philomath Community Foundation” was well on its way. Through much cooperation with the city and Mr. Kearsley’s time and his very generous monetary donation, Philomath 2000 decided to transfer its 501 C-3 non profit status to the new “Philomath Community Foundation”.
The months that followed produced mission statements, goals, literature and by November of 1997 a new board of directors for the foundation was being considered. All interested parties felt that the new board should be comprised of some former Philomath 2000 members, city, school district, chamber, CRT and members from the community at large. In April of 1998 the new board elected Jeff Lamb/Pres., Tony Hoyman/Vice Pres., Don Gist/Secretary, Steve Kearsley/Treasurer, Kevin Collins/PSD, Terry Osborne/Pastoral Ass., Helen Moore/Chamber, Marilyn Slinski/City of Philomath and Leslie Engle/Shrewsbury Fair.
The foundation was now in business and began its outreach to the community. One of the first programs was to assume the sponsorship of the annual “Walk for Trees” program. PCF founded the “Community Youth Service Recognition Award” program. The foundation sponsored Philomath’s new skate park and various scholarships, see (G-Times 9/28/98) and “Philomath Plants A Good Foundation”, (Gazette Times editorial 10/1/98).
In 1999 the foundation added sponsorship of events such as, PHS Senior Party, Shrewsbury Scholarship, PHS Mary’s River Watershed Council, City of Philomath Beautification project, High School Media Class and helped restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Mary’s River Park, see (Gazette Times 4/20/99). All of the above were funded by foundation grants. The foundation has consistently supported Philomath Community Services, PYAC, Chamber annual Christmas Lights celebration and many more over the years.
Jeff Lamb stepped down as President of PCF, in June 2000 the board appointed Steve Kearsley/President and Don Gist/Vice President.The original intent of the founders was that this organization would be a work in progress, change and evolve in the future years.
The first anniversary of the September 11th attack on America brought together the entire community of Benton County with a week long schedule of gatherings encompassing different venues and interests in the community. The Philomath Community Foundation was the fiscal agent and this public acknowledgement ran in the Gazette-Times who was also one of our cosponsors for the entire program.
For those of you that remember Philomath's contribution to this commemorative, the whole town showed up at the Philomath High School football field and filled up the bleachers. As our fire, police and first responders paraded in front of the bleachers the entire audience gave them a standing ovation.