On Tuesday, September 21, the Visit Bend Board of Directors approved the grantees selected to split $837,225 from the first annual granting cycle of the Bend Sustainability Fund.
Eight community organizations are receiving grants ranging from $2,975 to $350,000 in the first round of funding aimed at protecting and enhancing Bend’s wild places. After the groups submitted applications in July 2021, the Bend Sustainability Fund (BSF) Advisory Council narrowed the field of finalists to those eight. In August and September, a community vote helped decide how funds will be shared.
The following projects are set to receive grants in the first cycle of funding:
- The Big Sky Bike Park from Bend Parks and Recreation District will receive $350,000 in total divided over a two-year grant.
- The Cascade View Trail Construction Project from the Central Oregon Trail Alliance will receive a one-year grant for $48,250.
- Summer Hiking Trails at Mt. Bachelor from Discover Your Forest will receive a two-year grant worth $245,000.
- The Nature Playground from the High Desert Museum will receive a one-year grant worth $100,000.
- The Lodgepole Loops Access Enhancement Project from Meissner Nordic Ski Club will receive a one-year grant worth $2,975.
- The Badlands Wilderness Trail & Trailhead Improvement Project from the Oregon Natural Desert Association will receive a one-year grant worth $17,000.
- The Tumalo Falls Trail Restoration Project from Trout Unlimited will receive a total of $44,000 divided over a two-year grant.
- The Rimrock Trail Restoration Project from Trout Unlimited will receive $30,000 divided over a two-year grant.
“I am overwhelmed by the quality of projects submitted and the engagement of our community in the process of selecting grant recipients for the first funding cycle of the Bend Sustainability Fund,” explained Serena Gordon, Visit Bend’s sustainability manager. “We are honored to see the BSF awarding grants to such a robust slate of projects. We look forward to our community and visitors benefiting from the reinvestment of these restricted transient room tax dollars into the places and spaces that make Bend a great place to live and visit.”
On top of the grants listed above, five additional $500 grants will go to projects picked by voters in the community ballot phase of the granting cycle. The chosen recipients are the High Desert Museum, Central Oregon Trail Alliance, Meissner Nordic, Oregon Natural Desert Association and Trout Unlimited.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) was one of the groups with a project approved for funding. “We’re grateful to receive one of the inaugural grants from the Bend Sustainability Fund,” explained Beth Macinko, stewardship coordinator for ONDA. “Funding trail restoration and repair in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness will allow us to preserve and enhance this beautiful desert environment and improve accessibility for generations to come.”
Projects eligible for consideration were required to protect, steward or create a tourism-related facility with an impactful life of at least ten years and offer substantial use by visitors. To learn more about the projects chosen to receive grants this first year or to apply for the 2022 granting cycle, visit bendsustainabilityfund.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.