Wasatch Community Foundation Is Major Resource To Help Out In Heber Valley

Sept 28, 2020

By Rick Brough, KPCW

Source: https://www.kpcw.org/post/wasatch-community-foundation-major-resource-help-out-heber-valley#stream/0

The Wasatch Community Foundation has been helping residents of the Heber Valley for nearly 20 years. Like many other non-profits, they’ve been challenged by the pandemic.  

The chairman of the Wasatch Foundation, Tom Fowler, said the organization was created in the early 2000’s.

He said their activities are centered on five pillars—health, education, recreation, arts and human services.       

“Each one of those pillars has its own chair and its own committee.  They develop programs for the valley.  We meet as a board and determine which one of those programs we want to establish for the year and then we move forward from there.  And it’s worked fairly well over the last 15 or 20 years.” 

He said the founder of the program, Jim Richie, asked five other leaders in the Heber Valley to join, with each making financial contributions, to create one non-profit that could act as a unified program.      

“The goal was instead of having four or five different 501-c-3s, going out and asking the same businesses and the same individuals for a donation, if we could have a broad enough foundation that supported the valley, that the individuals could give one time a year, and then that money would go to the different programs that were being established.”

Among other activities, the Foundation has supported the Wasatch Recreation Center and Intermountain Dialysis Center, it helped to bring Utah Valley University to the area, and is now working to bring a Hospitality Program there, and has sponsored the Western Music Festival and an annual Thanksgiving Dinner (which unfortunately, Fowler said, won’t be held this year.)

Since the pandemic struck, they have worked with the Christian Center of Park City, and St. Mary’s.      

“We became a group that gave the names of the families that we knew needed help.  Many of our people work in Park City in the hospitality area, as you know, and many of them were having very difficult times.  So we raised about $140,000.  We worked with those two groups.  We gave them the names.  They were able to vet those families.  And we supported their rent, their insurance payments, their utility payments.  The payments did not go directly to the family, but went to those other landlords, utility companies or insurance companies.”

He said they’ve been able to help 250 families through the pandemic.

Another activity they sponsor is called “the backpack program.”     

“We have a backpack program that supports those families on the weekends.  So every weekend, these children get a bag of groceries that they can take home for the weekend. We also have what we call the Christmas backpack program, which obviously these same children could be off at school for ten days, twelve days. So during the break, before that break occurs, these children are given a slew of groceries that hopefully weight them over, over this time.”

Tom Fowler from the Wasatch Community Foundation said they hope to create an endowment in the next two or three years.