The Bridges Foundation was created in 1987 by Jack and Nancy Bridges.  Their goal was to develop opportunities for them and others to share their blessings with others by creating a philanthropic entity that would not rely on expensive overhead.  Through their initial $25,000 contribution, they personally gave over $1 million dollars of assistance to non-profit organizations throughout the world.

Over the past 30 years, the foundation has matured not only in it professional experiences and goals, but also with regard to refining its overall mission statement.  Current Trustees now reside in the State of Oregon.  Since Trustees enjoy learning about the non-profits supported by the foundation, the majority of gifting is consequently prioritized for the Pacific Northwest area.  

The Trustees of The Bridges Foundation offer their experience, professional leadership and opportunity to serve as an endowment for community gifting.  Gifts to The Bridges Foundation can be used to enhance your gift-giving goals.  Donated funds can be pooled with other donations to continue to support the four goals of the Foundation’s Mission Statement:  education, disabilities/medical relief, technology, environmental protection/advocacy, and historical preservation.  At your option, you may delegate to a charitable fund of your choice consistent with The Bridges Foundation Mission Statement.

Gifts of appreciated securities or real estate may allow a donor to make a substantial contribution while receiving valuable income tax advantages.  To further your philanthropic efforts through The Bridges Foundation, please contact the Trustees or make a contribution through our secure donation page below and note your area of gifting.

We thank you for your interest in learning more about The Bridges Foundation. 

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
— Jane Goodalll
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Banner Caption: Cortinarius violaceus (common name:  Violet cort or Violet webcap) finds home in old-growth conifer forest, Opal Creek Wilderness, OR. 

From 2002-2015, The Bridges Foundation provided $34,500 to Friends of Opal Creek/Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center much of which was matched by the Paul Allen Foundation. To help promote conservation through educational experiences, The Bridges Foundation helped to acquire a pickup, new fireplace for the lodge and renewable energy at this unique lodging facility nestled within the Opal Creek Wilderness area.


Additional Information:

“As we all know, Opal Creek represents one of the western Oregon’s last remaining intact low elevation old growth areas. But it is much more than that. It is a powerful symbol to so many, to so many of you. It is an inspiration. It is a place of educational and spiritual renewal and exploration. To walk among the centuries old fir, hemlock and cedar inspires tremendous awe and instills, I think, a perspective of life itself.”   
Excerpt from Senator Mark O. Hatfield, Opal Creek 5th Anniversary Luncheon, Governor Hotel, Portland, February 5, 2004

The pristine canopy of old growth enveloping native flora and fauna, refreshed by sparking clear opal-hued water were home to native people thousands of years before the white man discovered this gem in 1859.  Gold miners forged the rugged terrain to find their bounty.  Jawbone Flats mining camp began in 1930, seeking lead, zinc, copper and silver, with mining roads and Gold Creek Bridge later constructed under President Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1939. It’s founder was James P. Hewitt, a relative of the Atiyeh family.

George Atiyeh, the nephew of former Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh, spent his childhood at Jawbone Flats.  He became a logger, a usual profession in the timber-covered blankets that envelop the Cascade Range.  When he learned that the magic of Opal Creek and its revered old growth were destined to be clear-cut, he as part of the Gang of Four, spearheaded a nearly 20-year battle to protect the area from logging and mining.  Friends of Opal Creek was established in 1989 and their endeavors rose to national prominence to protect the old-growth forest.

In 1992 owners of Shiny Rock Mining Company gave Friends of Opal Creek a land gift valued at $12.6 million. Included were 151 acres of land including Jawbone Flats and a stand of old-growth forest.  By 1996 the 20,827-acre Opal Creek Wilderness, the 13,538-acre Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area and the 3,066-acre Wild and Scenic River designation for Elkhorn Creek was established through federal legislation led by Oregon’s U. S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield. Except for Jawbone Flats the “Opal Creek Act” also required that all privately owned lands be returned to public ownership.

In 2005 the organization changed its name to Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center to reflect their evolving mission of education and stewardship. Today Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center offers overnight lodging and meals,  

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programs and workshops with a goal to increase public understanding of its natural and historical resources, scenic beauty, plant and animal diversity and ecological complexity of this extraordinary area.  The Opal Creek forest has received international attention and is enjoyed by 50,000 visitors each year.