Our Philosophy





Sherwood Trust views grantmaking as a strategic activity in the form of long-term investments to build capacity on a sustainable basis, reflecting certain principles that guided Donald and Virginia Sherwood during their lives.  Our philanthropic vision is that everyone in the Walla Walla Valley has a sense of belonging and contributes to a thriving region.  Sherwood Trust serves as a catalyst for building capacity, creating a cohesive, vibrant community.

Our philanthropy is singularly focused on the Walla Walla Valley and its surrounding communities from Dayton to Milton-Freewater.  We view our grantmaking through the lens of the Tupelo Model, which requires strategic investments, over time, at multiple levels of a community.  The premise of this approach is based on our belief that our region’s greatest asset is its people, and that our long-term economic development is best supported when we work from the grassroots level to build the foundation for our area’s growth.  We support local people solving local problems and invest in proven programs that are making a difference in our community to improve our quality of life.



Leadership Development

Sherwood Trust invests in people through our Community Leadership Program, which teaches a diverse group of citizens how to build their skills, engage with each other, and work together to solve community problems.  Our Annual Workshop for nonprofits and the Nonprofit and Learning Center, our partnership with Walla Walla Community College, provide training opportunities targeted to nonprofit leaders, staff, board members, and volunteers.  Our programs are intended to create opportunities to build “social capital” – who we know and how we use our networks to help each other – among area residents.

Organizational Development

Sherwood Trust invests in nonprofit organizations to strengthen their capacity to accomplish their critical missions.  Nonprofit organizations are the leading agents of enduring change to improve the quality of life in the Walla Walla Valley.  We seek to support effective organizations – those with sound business practices and quality management – with a successful record of accomplishing results and to fund an organization’s number one priority to help make a strategic difference in enhancing its effectiveness in a sustainable manner.  These grants range from supporting strategic planning, to adding staff or technology solutions, to building new facilities.

Community Development

Sherwood Trust invests in community-driven initiatives to address local challenges in the community.  Community grants take two forms:

  1. those that address community-led process, and
  2. those that meet unmet needs in the community or a neighborhood through capital projects or programs.

The beneficiaries of these investments are a whole community or neighborhood rather than individual organizations. Our Community Development grants that support community process have included ongoing support to Commitment to Community and Community Council; these grant applications are by invitation only. Examples of grants that support community projects or programs include a grant to the Waitsburg Historical Society for public art installations and to the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance for community engagement projects facilitated by the Pomegranate Center.  Grants to neighborhoods are conducted in partnership with Commitment to Community and have included support for trash pick-ups, installation of alley lighting, or after school programs.

Economic Development

Sherwood Trust invests in capital projects and programs that are related to economic development and to stand alone projects that provide value to the overall community. An example included support for the launch of Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture Program.

Learn how to apply for a Sherwood Trust Grant here.