Birkenfeld trust donates $770,000+ to nonprofits

The Seattle Foundation recently awarded six Kitsap County nonprofit organizations more than $770,000 from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust.

A bequest launched in 2005 after the death of longtime Kitsap County resident and Bremerton-born C. Keith Birkenfeld.

Administered by the Seattle Foundation, the trust allocates money for the nonprofit sector of Kitsap County, which Birkenfeld deeply supported, and will donate about $12 million by 2025.

The peninsula region of Girl Scouts of Western Washington and the Chuck Semancik Memorial Foundation — both tied to Bremerton — were among the recipients, landing $74,600 and $5,000 respectively.

The Girl Scouts are currently headquartered in an aging building, erected in 1934, on an accident-prone corner of Warren Avenue. Officials plan to use the money on a new regional office.

The still-undisclosed location will offer more parking and a larger meeting area for scouts, among others, said Kathy Thayer, who has been employed by Girl Scouts and worked in the old building for almost 18 years.

“The building we’re in has served us very well. There’s a lot of history attached to the building,” Thayer said. “(But) right now we’re in one big room, we’re looking forward to the change.”

The Chuck Semancik Memorial Foundation, formed in 2000 to honor former Bremerton football coach Chuck Semancik, will spend the $5,000 on maintaining the Path of Freedom war memorial, located at Bremerton High School’s Memorial Stadium.

“The financial aid is greatly appreciated and will be directed toward the building, maintenance and operation of the Path of Freedom,” president Lane Dowell said. “Mr. Birkenfeld’s generosity and spirit of ‘give back’ to his community is truly admirable.”

“I think the Birkenfeld (trust) sees that we are a very credible organization and are doing things to benefit the community and our veterans,” Dowell said.

Birkenfeld recipients are selected every year based on a grant application process.

Kids Discovery Museum of Bainbridge Island ($325,000), Elder & Adult Day Services of Bainbridge Island ($262,500), Battle Point Astronomical Association of Bainbridge Island ($50,000) and Horse Harbor Foundation of Poulsbo ($56,200) also received donations.

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