Hood River is a small town where everyone knows everyone and acquaintances feel a bit like family. In May of last year one of our own, Matt Klee, died tragically in a mountain biking accident in Whistler, British Columbia. The community rallied around his wife Jennifer and wanted to create a lasting legacy to represent the generosity of spirit that was such a part of who Matt was. Everyone knew Matt loved to ride bikes, but only his closest friends knew of his deep and abiding passion for music. Jennifer had read about the OCF funded Band Together project and contacted our organization to see if we could work together. We set up the Live Like Matt Fund to support music education in the two elementary schools and one middle school that are not a part Band Together, making it possible for all the students in our district to benefit from what we are learning through the project.
Additionally, the Hood River Education Foundation wanted to help as well. They set aside $10, 000 to procure musical instruments and equipment for the three above mentioned schools and provided funding so that all the 5th graders in those elementary schools could join the Band Together students on a field trip to the Oregon Symphony.
In essence, the $70,000 we received from OCF leveraged an additional $20,000 in community support this year alone. We are thrilled and look forward to garnering more support as we move forward.
What we learned: These unanticipated collaborations are a reminder to our team to be aware that so much more is possible than we imagined when we began this project.
Posted by: Shelley Toon Lindberg, Executive Director Arts in Education of the Gorge