WALLA WALLA — An anonymous donor has given financially-strapped Rising Sun Clubhouse a new lease on life, for at least several months. On Monday, $15,000 was handed over to Harvey Crowder, interim director of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, to be given to the clubhouse.
The story in Sunday’s U-B detailed dire and chronic shortfalls in the coffers of the clubhouse, which offers social and educational activities for people living with mental illness. Without an injection of $12,000 — about three months of wages and operating costs — the organization was slated to close this month, board President Charles Eicheler said in the article.
This was the second time Rising Sun has gone to the brink of extinction. In 2009, the organization received $20,000 from an anonymous donor in the nick of time to survive a financial crisis.
Monday’s anonymous donor had reached out to Crowder in the past with an offer to help finance the county’s public health department’s former flu shot roundup. That came in 2011, the first year the event had to be canceled due to lack of funding, Crowder said.
“I told him I really appreciated the offer, but It would only last a year and we’d be back the following years for the same amount to keep it going. I recommended that he not give me the money.”
However, at that time, Crowder did talk to the man about other options for giving back to the community, including helping Rising Sun Clubhouse.
The philanthropist went away, not appearing in front of Crowder again until Monday with his offer of $15,000.
“I love the spirit of Walla Walla,” Crowder said.
Since Monday another $5,000 in donations from people have come in, said Shelby Paulsen, Rising Sun’s director. She attributed the burst of giving to the news story, a recent letter to the editor and her own postings on Facebook.
A few of those inquiring have been able to make a commitment to volunteering while others have handed envelopes to Paulsen or donated online.
The $20,000 in new money gives the organization about five months of breathing room and plans for fundraising efforts continue, Eichler said. For more information or to make an online donation go to www.therisingsunclubhouse.org or call Paulsen at 529-0120.
Sheila Hagar can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8322.