Between scholarships, grants, nature preservations and historical sites, Olympia Tumwater Foundation works to fuel others’ passions along with its own.
Founded in 1950 by Peter G. Schmidt Sr., longtime president of the Olympia Brewing Company, the foundation has spread its fortunes in multiple areas of Thurston County. Through a wide range of community projects, it has definitely benefited countless people in the area in some way, and continues to do so.
One of the historical programs it runs is the Schmidt House, built in 1904 for the brewery founder Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna. The foundation obtained the house in 1983 and has restored it to its former glory. The gorgeous rose garden is maintained by the Olympia Rose Society. The property is used for the public history programs organized by the foundation’s public history manager, along with a limited number of weddings and other special events.
The most ambitious undertaking by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, according to its website, was construction in 1962 of Tumwater Falls Park. Right on the Deschutes River, the falls has been enjoyed by locals and tourists for decades. Features of the park include walking trails, footbridges, reflective pools, and, of course, waterfalls. The park is open to the public daily free of charge, and tours are available.
The Olympia Tumwater Foundation also offers a significant education program. Since 1967 it has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships and grants, helping hundreds of students. The awards include traditional and nontraditional scholarships plus early learning grants.
For more information about the foundation and its education awards, Schmidt House and Tumwater Falls Park, along with the foundation blog, visit olytumfoundation.org.
JORDAN MARIE MARTINEZ