Foundation will honor generosity

Local philanthropists will be saluted at luncheon

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

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The return of Catholic high school to Vancouver and an unwavering commitment to such charities as Share, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Clark County Food Bank and the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington are among the reasons Steve and Jo Marie Hansen will receive the Philanthropists of the Year Award.

The award for outstanding philanthropy is given every year by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, a charitable agency that amasses and grants money to local nonprofit groups. The foundation will present the award at its annual luncheon, set for May 8 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington. Tickets are $50.

Although the Hansens have lived, and given, in Clark County for more than 30 years, they are especially noted for steering a $2.5 million campaign to bring a Catholic high school, Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic High School, to Clark County. That school opened in 2010, the first Catholic high school to operate here in 40 years.

“We were somewhat reluctant to receive an award for our giving, because giving is a natural reaction to the many pressing needs that face our communities,” Steve Hansen said. “It’s our responsibility to respond and help our neighbors.”

Also honored at the Community Foundation luncheon will be Scott and Jody Campbell, third-generation owners of The Columbian newspaper, who will named 2012 Friends of the Foundation. This award recognizes both professional and personal support of the Foundation.

And a new award will be launched as well. That’s the Lifetime of Giving award, honoring dedication to philanthropy across many years. The first winners are Harris Dusenbery, who with his late wife, Evelyn, established several Community Foundation funds to support homeless people and the performing arts; and Margaret Colf Hepola, who has volunteered for and supported projects from libraries and parks to museums and the Cedar Creek Grist Mill.

To buy tickets for the luncheon, visit http://cfsww.org or call 360-694-2550.

Scott Hewitt: 360-735-4525; http://twitter.com/col_nonprofits; scott.hewitt@columbian.com.