The Gorge Community Foundation has announced that with the 2021 granting cycle, the Joan Burchell Fund and the Riddell and Athalie Lage Fund will be combined into a single program, the GCF Community Grants program, to increase the amount of funding available. Information about the donors whose legacies comprise these funds is below.

For nearly two decades, the Gorge Community Foundation has made grants through its donor advised funds and grant-making programs to strengthen the fabric of Gorge communities. In 2021, Community Grants will continue to support the region with a sharpened focus on the most pressing challenges the region is facing today.

The purpose of the Community Grants program is to provide charitable funds as the foundation board determines are most needed and not limited to a single focus or exclusively to the interests of a particular constituency. The total available for 2021 granting through GCF Community Grants is $14,000 and proposals will be accepted for any amount up to that total. The 2021 Request for Proposal can be found at

Applications are due May 10 and funding decisions and grants awarded the end of June. The range of grants in the past has been $650 to $4,000. Grant recipients are expected to comply with reporting requirements in order to be eligible for any future grants.

The following projects received funding in 2020:

• The Dalles Farmers Market: $1,200 to implement a revamped SNAP program for families to shop for produce and healthy food at the market

• Hood River Farmers Market: $1,500 to supplement a matching incentive program

• FISH Food Bank: $2,000 to supplement additional food purchases owing to increased need

• Oregon Food Bank: $3,000 for food acquisition, storage & distribution specifically for the Columbia Gorge Food Banks

• White Salmon Valley Education Foundation: $1,500 to provide food to families in the White Salmon area

• The Food Bridge Project: $1,000 to purchase greenhouse supplies for two farms providing produce for families in need

• Back Packs 4 Kids: $1,500 to provide meals in Klickitat County to children when not in school

• Stevenson-Carson Educational Foundation: $800 to supplement meals to school-age children

• Washington Gorge Action Programs: $840 for area food banks throughout Klickitat County

About Joan Burchell

Joan Burchell was born in New York City on April 25, 1923, and grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y. As a young woman, she defied tradition by moving to Venezuela to work as a decorator and furniture designer. She traveled extensively in South and Central America before returning to New York to work for Reader’s Digest until retirement. Burchell was an avid swimmer and kayaker who traveled and camped alone in Europe. After retirement, she traveled the country looking for a place to retire and chose the community of Mt. Hood in the Columbia River Gorge. She lived there for 20 years.

Burchell loved the community, and the community loved her. She was self-educated, mechanically clever, and artistic. Her spirit, humor, independence, and interest in all things endeared her to many people. She passed away peacefully, with friends at her side, on Dec. 14, 2008.

About Riddell and Athalie Lage

Edward (Riddell) Lage and Athalie Miller were married in the Pine Grove Church in 1935 and raised three children in Hood River. Riddell, the son of 19th century Oregon pioneers, ran and modernized his family’s farm, Lage Orchards Inc., which earned the Century Farm designation for 100 years of ownership by a single family. Riddell passed away in 1975, and Athalie was 103 at the time of her passing in 2020.

Both Riddell and Athalie were lifelong residents of Hood River and active in the community through business, youth and social activities. Their legacy fund commemorates their dedication to their community through service and philanthropy.

About the Gorge Community Foundation

Founded in 2001, the Gorge Community Foundation’s assets total over $7.5 million and the foundation manages nearly 50 designated funds and 30 donor advised funds. The foundation made grants and scholarships totaling over $340,000 in 2020. The foundation is managed by a 10-member Board of Directors led by Board President Gil Sharp that includes representation from Gorge communities on both sides of the river. More information is available at