Bainbridge Community Foundation awards $15,100 grant to FW Community Hall

The Fort Ward Community Hall has been awarded a $15,100 grant by the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

The community hall project, which will restore the heritage bakery building for public use in the Fort Ward National Historic District, was one of two projects to receive more funding than requested in the foundation’s 2016 grant cycle.

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“The foundation and our funding partners are very excited about the Fort Ward project,” said Debbie Kuffel, BCF program and finance officer. “Not only will this project place a community center in one of the most vital neighborhoods on Bainbridge Island, but the fact that it was youth and neighborhood led made it a high priority for donors. “

Awards from the foundation’s annual community grant cycle were announced Wednesday. Fifty-three grants totaling $243,661 were awarded to community groups and agencies serving Bainbridge Island.

“We’re honestly left kind of speechless by the generosity of this grant,” said Douglas Crist, Friends of Fort Ward board president. “Of course the two words that really count are ‘thank you,’ to the Bainbridge Community Foundation and its partners and financial supporters. It’s their vision and goodwill that elevates so many programs throughout the island.”

The BCF grant comes on the heels of recent awards to the Fort Ward project by the Suquamish Foundation ($2,500) and the Kitsap Community Foundation ($4,000). It vaults the fundraising campaign much closer to meeting a $60,000 matching grant pledged by Bainbridge Island Rotary earlier this spring.

The bakery building was constructed in 1910 to serve the US Coast Artillery Corps garrison at Fort Ward. The 1,900-square-foot brick building with its distinctive cupola was repurposed by the Navy as a power station to support the fort’s radio and codebreaking operations during World War II.

The restored building will include a central hall and kitchen facility for meetings, classes and other events. The facility will be managed by the Bainbridge Park District, joining Seabold Hall, Island Center Hall and Camp Yeomalt on the roster of local historic buildings preserved for public use.

The community hall campaign is being led by Friends of Fort Ward, an all-volunteer neighborhood nonprofit group, in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District and Kitsap County (Fort Ward) Sewer District No. 7.

The project has previously earned grants from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, along with donor advised funds from the Seattle Foundation and numerous private contributions.

Tax-deductible contributions from island businesses and individuals are welcomed to fully fund the restoration project.

Prospective donors can arrange personal tours of the bakery building and presentations by emailing fortwardhall@gmail.com.