Earth Week Give 2023

Redemption Stories

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Drexel H. Foundation

“Redeeming with BottleDrop Give helped redeem rural Oregon arts and culture.”

With the Drexel H. Foundation in Eastern Oregon, it’s tempting to lead with the redemptive power of the arts. For nearly 30 years, the foundation has provided artistic and cultural programing at no charge for youth and families across a staggering 9,930 square mile expanse of some of Oregon’s most sparsely populated (and most beautiful) areas.

But the real story here starts during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Drexel H. Foundation was unable to perform their programming in person. With businesses facing the immediate economic impacts brought by the pandemic, and people feeling social isolation in their homes, the Drexel H. Foundation leaned on the redemptive power of bottles and cans to raise the funds necessary to rapidly pivot their programming and create drive-by visual arts competitions, virtual talent shows, art camp take-home kits, historic window repairs, yard art competitions, and virtual children’s film festivals. That’s a particularly resilient form of redemption, with a remarkable impact.

Not only does the Drexel H. Foundation provide critical (and free!) access to the arts, but they promote an ethic of recycling and reuse in their programs and services. They provide a bike reuse program for the residents they serve, and they even have a free prom dress program where they reclaim gently used prom dresses and give them new life again for yet another person’s special night, giving items new purpose and ensuring that no resource is wasted. That’s what Oregon’s Bottle Bill is all about.

Free arts programming. Free bikes. Free prom dresses. Free window and historic restoration. Are you noticing a trend? The folks at the Drexel H. Foundation don’t think redemption should come with a price tag, which means that fundraising is critically important. Right now, they’re raising funds through Blue Bags to build fire-safety stairs at the 1895 Grand Opera House in Vale, redeeming and restoring a community asset that has been enriching lives for over 125 years.

Do you want to be part of the Drexel H. Foundation’s redemption story? You can donate funds from your Green Bag account to help support their efforts.