News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Advocate’s work earns Maps grant

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

The Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund co-founder Deana Freres was one of 15 recently chosen to receive a $1,000 grant for SCWRF from Maps Community Foundation’s Community Awards program.

As well as co-founding SCWRF, Freres advocates at the local, county, state and federal level for survivors of the wildfire. She leads the advisory committee in supporting the Santiam Canyon with direct-to-survivor grants and is also on the Long-Term Recovery Group advocating for the rebuild of the Canyon and community resiliency. Freres also serves on the local Family Building Blocks board and on the Santiam Hospital and Clinics Foundation board. 

Freres received kudos from Maps for inspiring others, empathy and compassion that she shows to her neighbors, and whole-heartedly caring for her family, friends and community. 

“Each awardee is such an inspiration,” said Kim Hanson, Maps Community Foundation executive director. “It has been a privilege to get to know their give-back stories and to fund such a diverse group of nonprofits that are truly making our community healthier, stronger and more vibrant.”

The Maps Community Awards program honors community members like Freres who go above and beyond to “Make a Difference” in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Winners also received a gift of locally produced items that celebrate the region and support area businesses, according to Maps. Annually, the Foundation honors 15 community members in the region who are an inspiration through their volunteerism or employment. 

This year’s winners directed their grants to local nonprofits including North Willamette Habitat for Humanity, Capaces Leadership Institute, Family Building Blocks and Be Bold Street Ministries. A full list of winners can be found on the Maps website. 

Freres picked SCWRF to receive the grant for its “dedication, grit and steadfastness” to the Santiam Canyon communities hit hard by the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. 

“While the ongoing wildfire recovery effort still has a long road ahead, I am encourage by the daily successes survivors are experiencing,” Freres said. “I hope this gift from Maps encourages them in return.”

According to Freres, representatives from SCWRF meet weekly with the Santiam Disaster Services Team make funds available to households who are experiencing significant obstacles that prevent them from moving forward in their recovery and rebuild process.  

“SCWRF is able to provide crucial ‘gap funding’ for survivors so they can return to their Santiam Canyon homes.

Freres gave Hanson a shout-out for her active engagement in several organizations that “provide impactful and much-needed support services to our community.” 

“It is an honor to work alongside her and the entire Maps team,” Freres said. “They match their available resources to the support needs of local nonprofits in Stayton, Sublimity, and the entire Santiam Canyon Region. 

“I am really humbled and grateful for this recognition and their ongoing partnerships in our area,” she added. 

Maps Community Foundation is the philanthropic branch of Maps Credit Union, a member-owned financial cooperative with 73,000 members and 10 full-service branches serving the Mid-Willamette Valley region.

As part of its mission, the Maps Community Foundation seeks to promote vibrant, thriving communities by making strategic investments in Marion and Polk Counties where the majority of Maps members live. In 2021, the foundation invested more than $300,000 into community programs.

For more information on Maps Credit Union and its outreaches, visit

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