People who live and work on Whidbey are facing increasing challenges in finding affordable housing. When teachers, restaurant workers, farmers and so many others struggle to afford a place to live on the island, it affects the community and all of us as individuals. The ripple effects of the housing crisis reach everyone who lives here, even if they are stably housed. In an island community, lives are intertwined in every way.
Rural, island communities have housing affordability needs and development challenges that are different than urban and suburban communities, including limited capacity for new development and limited existing inventory, among many more complicating factors. These dynamics have resulted in a community that has become unsustainably skewed, with an ever-shrinking workforce, approximately 68% of the residents are retirement age, and roughly 10% under the age of 20-years-old. Affordable housing is urgently needed on Whidbey Island.
About the Fund
There are several organizations on the island working together to face these challenges in various ways. Solutions are not simple and will involve multiple approaches. In late 2023, Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) partnered with JADE Craftsman Builders to create a field-of-interest fund—the Whidbey Affordable Housing Fund—to provide a source of philanthropic dollars for this work. To start, this fund will distribute grants to nonprofit organizations for their work on affordable housing on Whidbey Island.
More about JADE Craftsman Builders
JADE Craftsman Builders serves South Whidbey and takes pride in creating well-built, beautifully designed custom homes. JADE is also very conscious of the need for affordable housing, particularly workforce housing for those who provide critical services in our community, such as teachers, postal workers, restaurant workers and many others. Reducing the cost of construction, tax benefits, ownership strategies, social impact investing, government funding and nonprofit leadership can all help address the housing crisis we face. The Whidbey Affordable Housing Fund is intended to be one more way to support essential housing projects in the community. JADE, which has already made a gift to establish this fund along with several of JADE’s clients, plans to encourage other local builders to help grow this pool of funds so that more people who need homes have them.
“Everyone in our community is impacted by the fact that so many people, including families with children, simply can’t find housing here—even when they’re offered a decent job. Wanting to make housing affordable for all is what motivated us at JADE to create this fund. We’re grateful to partner with the Whidbey Community Foundation to make this happen.”Dan Neumeyer, Owner of JADE Craftsman Builders
How will the fund grow?
JADE and WCF anticipate inviting other builders to participate. There may be others, such as realtors or vacation rental managers, who wish to take part. Any member of the community who cares about affordable housing can make a contribution to the fund. All donations to the Whidbey Affordable Housing Fund held at WCF are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. Whidbey Community Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit, EIN: 81-3860867. WCF accepts many forms of donations, including cash, check, credit card, IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions, appreciated securities, and real property.
How will projects be chosen for funding?
All grants distributed from the Whidbey Affordable Housing Fund must be approved by WCF’s Board of Directors. JADE and WCF will form an Advisory Committee to develop guidelines for funding, review applications, and make recommendations to WCF’s Board of Directors. If you are interested in learning more, and/or joining the Advisory Committee, please contact WCF at email@example.com or 360-660-5041.
More about Whidbey Community Foundation
Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) connects people who care to causes that matter. WCF was founded in 2016 by long-time local community leaders who understand Whidbey’s needs and strengths and who are committed to making the Foundation a gateway to more meaningful relationships between donors and local nonprofit organizations. WCF’s mission is to improve the quality of life on Whidbey Island by providing support for the nonprofit sector, assisting donors to build and preserve enduring assets for charitable purposes, and meeting community needs through financial awards. Since 2016, WCF has opened 35+ funds and made over 440 grants totaling over $2.54 million for various different causes.
Updated February 2024