Meeting the Match: Next Door Inc. reaches major goal

The goal was reached well before closing time Thursday for the first-ever matching grant given to the Next Door Inc.

By Monday, the total was $121,975 as NDI surpassed the match amount for a $100,000 grant from and Phil and Judy Jensen of Hood River in memory of Phil’s father, Luhr Jensen.

By the morning of Jan. 31, the final day for meeting the match, the nonprofit was short by about $1,900.

By about noon, the donations went about $1,900 over the mark.

NDI, now in its 42nd year, is the largest social service agency in Hood River County, and also provides services in Wasco and Klickitat counties.

“Two very special groups of people made this happen,” said Heidi Venture, development manager for NDI.

“One is our employees, who work with program participants and help them and they’re out there in the community making the Gorge a better place,” Venture said, “and the others are our supporters, who are outstanding.”

NDI received nearly 280 separate donations, commonly $100, toward the match.

“People were really motivated,” Venture said.

One $5,000 donation is being matched for Leaders for Tomorrow program, which will keep that program alive, she said. In Leaders, a group of local high school students visit local businesses and organizations for a close-up learning experience.

Venture said “the majority” of the funds will go to broad program support, such as rent in The Dalles and the mortgage in Hood River, utilities and supplies.

“It costs money to do stuff,” Venture said, “no matter what the good work it is you’re doing.”

In 2009, Phil and Judy Jensen loaned NDI $300,000 to help pay for the renovation of the agency’s new building in Hood River while NDI waited for grants to be funded.

When the loan was due in June 2012, the Jensens told NDI they would give $100,000 as a matching fund in honor of Phil’s dad, Luhr Jensen, with a final matching date of Jan. 31, 2013.

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