Bremerton retiree donates $250,000 each to four Kitsap nonprofits

Donor gives $1.875 million in total to seven groups serving the environment, arts and children

PORT ORCHARD — An anonymous donor from Bremerton has given $250,000 each to four Kitsap County nonprofit organizations serving the arts, evironmental protection and education.

The four groups in Kitsap County are among seven nonprofits receiving a total of $1.875 million in funding, a representative of the donor said.

The organizations receiving the donations know little about their benefactor, a retiree who lives in the area but does not want to be identified. Trevor Ross, executive director of the Olympic College Foundation — another donor recipient — has been asked to serve as a liaison between the representatives of the donor and the selected nonprofits, Ross said.

The funding “caretaker” said the donor lived and worked in Bremerton for decades and wanted the gifts to support community-based programs that mirrored their personal values relating to children and the environment.

“This is a legacy donation, one that is felt immediately and is also intended to have long-lasting impacts,” Ross said.

“It is important to the donor that the money went to organizations who would use it in a very direct and deliberate way over the next couple of years while funding specific programs that could change lives and protect the environment.

“The hope is that these donations encourage others to support organizations that help make their communities a better place. This donor had the resources to gift significant funds, but any amount of money or time can make a difference.”

The seven nonprofits receiving donations are:

  • Bremerton WestSound Symphony, home to the Bremerton Symphony orchestra. The organization said with the donation, all concerts for the next year will be free to the public. The symphony also will work to expand its offerings and accessibility to the community. In addition, various music education programs will be coordinated with Bremerton-area schools.
  • Bremerton United Methodist Church said it will use the funds to expand services and programs to meet the needs of local children and neighbors. The church already has launched a school garden program that teaches students to grow vegetables.
  • Great Peninsula Conservancy of Bremerton, whose mission is to protect habitat and conserve land in the Puget Sound region, will use the donation partly toward maintaining current land holdings and furthering the organization’s mission. The group’s first purchases included a pickup truck and various forestry tools.
  • Nature Conservancy, which protects land and waterways all over the world, will use the funds for local projects, including those focused on forest restoration and habitat on the western slopes of the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound.
  • Ocean Conservancy, an organization that helps formulate science-driven policy to protect oceans, will use the funds to continue work done through their Global Ghost Gear initiative, which aims to clean up marine debris and derelict fishing gear throughout Puget Sound.
  • Olympic College Foundation, which supports Olympic College and its students through scholarships, grants and program funding, has used a portion of the anonymously gifted funds to expand the OC Promise to include both Bremerton and Olympic high schools. The OC Promise provides one tuition-free year to high school graduates who could not otherwise afford the cost of college. In addition, some of the funds are earmarked to support student housing assistance for the college’s most vulnerable students.
  • World Wildlife Fund, which focuses on wilderness preservation and reducing human impact on the environment, will allocate money for a program to protect and restore populations of Plains bison. The program is in partnership with South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux Tribe. It is the only gift that will not be used in the Puget Sound area.

The remaining $125,000 will be distributed among other as-yet-announced local nonprofits, the details of which are being finalized by the donor’s representatives.