JOSEPH — The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture has received a grant that will give it a major boost in funding its programs in 2021, especially as the nonprofit looks to expand on the information it presents.
The center has received a grant of $30,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation, an award that was part of more than $4.3 million OCF announced in May.
“This funding was primarily for us to build upon our existing programs, But in a way that really reflects what’s going on in our community and in the world,” said Kellee Sheehy, Josephy’s development director. “For instance, with our youth services, the funding is helping to pay to maintain the programs we already have in place. A lot of the momentum really came to a screeching halt in 2020.”
Oregon Community Foundation said in a press release the grant monies were prioritized to support communities “disproportionately impacted by the multiple crises in Oregon, including Black, indigenous and Latina/o/x communities, people of color and rural communities.”
Information specifically on the Josephy’s funding from OCF said the money would be used to help build the audience “through rebuilding and restructuring programs to address and focus on (diversity, equity and inclusivity) priorities and issues in a rural, largely white community.”
“It was asking about ultimate success, and what our ultimate vision of success for these programs is we’re helping nudge the culture of Wallowa County in the direction of inclusivity and understanding,” Sheehy said.
Sheehy, who handles grant writing for the center, said it has received funding from the foundation in the past, and that it applied for a grant from the foundation because the values of the two align.
“It does have to do with that lean toward maybe becoming leaders in the community as far as introducing diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said. “It’s part of what the Josephy board is integrating into its plan.”
She added that many of the groups that give grant money, like OCF, want to see programs run by organizations like the Josephy continue their offerings.
“It’s because a lot of the granters too, they want to see programs started back. They want to support the organizations that are doing that, just to restart and get everyone connected again,” Sheehy said. “Then adding our diversity, equity and inclusion and extending our reach, those are all things to do with our growth.”
She added improvements in the Americans with Disabilities Act’s accessibility and audio guidelines in the center also could be included in “inclusivity,” and how the center continues to present its teaching about the Nez Perce.
“We’re retelling their story, but what does it mean? Maybe it’s a drum circle outside,” that could be used as a teaching mechanism for visitors, or for a tool to help tribe members feel more welcome, she said. “I tell people all the time, (Wallowa County is) diverse in our own way. We got ranchers and farmers, but there are other ways that we can share that type of information with kids and help them learn about it.”