Community Giving Update: Locals Know Best

Jul 02, 2013

Giving away money is hard work! When we pledged $250 million in community development funding to the state of Oregon back in January, we knew it would be a big undertaking.  All the funds would be disbursed within Oregon communities over the next five years. These included affordable housing, mortgages for lower income borrowers, economic development financing, revitalization projects, small business and farm loans, and more. Now, six months later, we've already invested $53 million!

Part of our initial pledge included providing over $100,000 in direct contributions to local charities in 2013 alone. A “direct contribution” is just that – a check from Washington Federal, given directly to a charity to be used for their needs. But we wanted to make sure our money was well spent. So we decided to ask our local clients for their advice.

Locals do know best.

During the months of May, June and July we've been featuring six local charities per month on our website and Facebook page where people can go and vote for their favorite charities. Each vote equates to a $5 donation, up to a $5,000 maximum per charity. By the end of these three months, we’ll have donated up to $90,000 to a total of 18 Oregon charities. Our hope for this campaign is twofold; helping worthy charities receive funding and bringing those charities expanded awareness and exposure to the larger community.

June & July Progress

Today, we’re nearly two months into Locals Know Best and we’re excited about what’s been accomplished! Our May and June charities have each received 1,000 votes, enough to reach the $5,000 donation level. These charities’ services extend throughout the state of Oregon and cover a variety of social and communal needs. Here’s a few examples:

Neighbor Impact, a May nominee, will use their funds to support their Emergency Services programs, including their food bank, family shelter and transitional housing programs.

Portland-based Friends of the Children will use their Locals Know Best community gift on maintenance and improvements to their organization’s clubhouse, enrichment activities for children, students PSAT and SAT fees, scholarship application fees, and graduation materials.

One of June charities, MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, plans to use their funds to support 15 babies in their intensive Therapeutic Infant Classroom. Each year, this organization helps to keep more than 300 infants and toddlers safe from abuse and neglect.

How can you help?

It’s pretty simple. You just need to logon to a computer and vote! You can cast one vote every 24 hours and you can vote as many times as you like. (Remember, we’re donating $5 for each vote!) So logon, vote and be sure to check back in with us - we’ll keep you updated via Facebook and Twitter about the charities progress. Let your friends know how they can benefit their favorite charitable organization by voting too. Cast your ballot at or visit us on Facebook.