On the surface, Foundation work may seem to only be about giving money to a nonprofit organization — simple as that. But no! When done well, a foundation’s money giving is only a small part of its activities. To give is not the end game. Well, then why do we exist? TO EFFECT CHANGE!

Who changes? As a Foundation, we do. As a receiving nonprofit organization or partner, they do. The people the nonprofits serve also change. We seek to energize our nonprofit partners to excellence by helping them find positive change resulting in the ability to better the lives of those less fortunate. How is this done? In our changing times the answer to the question is – THINK DIFFERENTLY!

We accomplish our core value to effect change by employing the following key strategies to support our nonprofit partners:

  • Conducting site visits of our nonprofit partners to hear and see what they do, meet their people, learn their processes, and provide recommendations on how we may help to advance their mission.
  • Providing powerful coaching engagements to assess our partners’ leadership effectiveness and advise on new perspectives to help our partners become a catalyst for the change they desire.
  • Attending our nonprofit fundraising events such as luncheons, galas, or evening programs to understand how the nonprofit functions in their community.
  • Awarding grants primarily focused on funding video production to help our partners SHOW and TELL their stories of impact that result in increased fundraising donations for their operating budget.
  • Introducing nonprofit partners to other partners to allow for networking opportunities in support of common goals.

Though we are a small foundation, we have learned to leverage our giving. For example, we may be asked for a $10,000 donation to the general budget of a nonprofit. During site visits we discuss the option of funding a video that will not only “tell” the story of the organization, but “show” it as well – both at a gala and on their website. In lieu of giving $10,000 to a general budget, such monies may be allocated to funding a video production (if not two!). Our outcome data has shown us that a small video can increase the gala giving by nearly 40% in some organizations. $10,000 may become $50,000, $100,000, or even more!

Though a $5,000 or $10,000 is not a small sum, times exist when even a larger donation would be critical to a project or group. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Walters Family Foundation to grow our capital. The IRS requires foundations to give away at least 5% of the entire portfolio each year. So, we focus on investment strategies, keep our overhead low, and continue to raise capital to grow our ability to help our nonprofit partners.


Our Areas of Focus


The Walters Family Foundation enables positive life changes for at-risk youth, families and the elderly by focusing primarily in the areas of Families In Crisis, Education, Mental Health and Prevention Programs. See how we engage with our partners utilizing our key strategies to effect change in these areas:



Violence in the home is not spoken about publicly or often. But it exists! Where can a spouse or child go for help? We are thankful for the work of the Raphael House in east Portland or the Clackamas Women’s Services in Oregon City or the Bradley Angle House in north Portland who provide a shelter, food, clothing, as well as legal counseling and court help as needed.

Some facilities have a closed-circuit TV connection to the court where the judge can give the legal protection that is required without having the victims to go to the actual courtroom. The focus is not only on the spouses, but the children are provided loving care as well.

A camaraderie exists between these organizations in different cities. They share best practices and emotionally support each other. Even though the work is hard at times, those who engage in such help are passionate about the service they give. They are proud to see a new life emerge as a result of their doors being opened.

The Walters Family Foundation has been welcomed by these nonprofit partners to conduct site visits to see their offices and their secluded safe houses. We were given tours and held frank discussions about the care that is given. The mission of helping at-risk youth and often moms is fulfilled through such great organizations.




The Walters Foundation understands how reading is important to young children, especially in ages two through six. We are proud to partner with SMART, which attracts hundreds of volunteers in Oregon to read to young kids. Early reading to children has repeated shown to be helpful in better school performance. Many kids who were read to through the SMART program have come back as volunteer readers themselves! The Foundation and SMART have a great relationship of learning together to better the education of our children. Links: https://smartreading.org/



Financial Beginnings

What the Walters Foundation has found upon visiting Financial Beginnings is significant enthusiasm and optimism about teaching their coursework in many schools in Oregon. This is all done at no charge to the students including adults. It is joyous to have found yet another avenue to advance the education of our youth. Link: Financial Beginnings (finbegor.org)


Cornelius Public Library

The Cornelius Public Library continues to expand to meet the needs of many people of all ages. Karen Hill is the head librarian and remains passionate not only about books, but the digital media to which so many kids need. The Walters Foundation sponsored the Walters Gallery Wall and the Walters Community Room. New signage will be funded to complete the room. This room seats up to 100 people at a time. Link: https://www.corneliusor.gov/library/

Mental Health


Center for Community Counseling

Suicide, homelessness, depression, and various mental health issues are confronted through many nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Community Counseling in Eugene, Oregon, founded by Dr. Jan Moursund in 1978. Their volunteer counselors provide family and individual therapy to those with need, but have no insurance or funds — all at no charge to those needing help.

The Walters Family Foundation is proud to partner with the Center for Community Counseling and has conducted visits to provide support and guidance. Center for Community Counseling Executive Director, Debbie Saunders, is taking the organization in a new direction as she contemplates new innovations in fundraising. During our visits, we have met several of the board members along with the leadership. We are proud to support the Center as they serve an incredibly important mental health need in Eugene.





Queen award  RECIPIENT

In September 2019 the Boad of the Walters Foundation created a new award to be given to a nonprofit organization that exemplifies Excellence in the Art of Positive Change. While it is easy to describe what a nonprofit organization does, it is more complex to outline what they really “sell” or what the end game is. During Site Visits the product that the reviewers seek is really embodied in two words: Positive Change. One person who has exemplified incredible positive change that has impacted thousands of high school kids is Ms. Laura Queen. Her work is not only life changing for the students, but it has impacted the faculty, school leadership, parents, and donors who come to know who she is and what she does. For the impact on the leadership of the Walters Foundation, the Foundation elected to name the award, The Queen Award, after Ms. Queen. This title will follow the award in perpetuity.


Two people have received this award including Ms. Laura and Ms. Ally Roth of the With Love organization.