Portland, OR. The state’s largest public charity announced it is the recipient of $75 million from the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust. The assets were bequeathed as part of the late Bill Swindells’ estate. The contribution will be added to Oregon Community Foundation’s existing endowment and will honor the Swindells’ vision and legacy of strengthening communities in Oregon through philanthropy.
The Oregon Community Foundation thanked the family in a written statement:
The Swindells family has a long tradition of charitable giving in Oregon. Bill Swindells’ father William Swindells, Sr., was the founder of forest products company Willamette Industries and co-founded OCF in 1973. From its early days with an initial gift of $63,000, Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has grown in 45 years to more than $2 billion under management through 2,800 charitable funds.
Bill Swindells served on the Oregon Community Foundation board from 1983 to 1991 and helped lead the foundation’s growth. He and his wife Ann formed the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust in 2002. Other Swindells family members are involved with Oregon Community Foundation as donors, advisors and volunteers.
“This donation—one of the largest in Oregon Community Foundation history—represents the tremendous and lifelong commitment to Oregon of Bill and Ann Swindells, and the entire Swindells family,” said OCF President Max Williams. “Bill and Ann knew the value of investing in the success of all Oregonians, and we are committed to continuing that legacy at Oregon Community Foundation in the years to come.”
In a community foundation, donor funds are pooled under shared management to maximize community benefits and impacts. Though some donors request funds be used for specific purposes, the Swindells’ estate directs the fund administered by the Oregon Community Foundation Board, a diverse group of 14 volunteers, representing all areas of the state of Oregon, who govern the work of the Foundation.
“It was very important to my dad that his estate be transferred to Oregon Community Foundation as an unrestricted gift, for the use of the OCF Board on priorities they identify,” said William R. Swindells, Bill’s son. “As someone intimately involved with philanthropy, he understood the value of such flexibility as Oregon’s needs change.”
A strategic priority for Oregon Community Foundation is bridging the “opportunity gap”—decreasing inequities in access to education, health care, services and jobs, particularly for Oregon children born into poverty and children of color. Nearly half of all children born in Oregon are born into low-income families, and these children are less and less likely to reach the middle class. To combat the persistent gap in access to opportunity, Oregon Community Foundation deploys research, advocacy and grant-making to:
Strengthen neighborhoods and communities. This includes developing new affordable housing and preserving existing affordable housing; providing opportunities for economic mobility out of high poverty neighborhoods; and improving low-income Oregonians’ access to financial services.
Create economic security. This includes supporting paid family and medical leave, expanding the earned income tax credit and increasing subsidies for childcare for low-income families.
Expand access to education and jobs. This includes expanding apprenticeship programs; services for young people not currently in school or working; providing access to quality early childhood education and scholarships for disadvantaged students.
“Today, access to opportunity and a healthy, successful life can be predicted by the zip code into which you are born,” said Williams. “At OCF, we are on a mission to ensure that no matter where an Oregon child is born, they have the chance to achieve and thrive.”