About John and Linda Shelk Foundation:

Our Mission
Advocating for Eastern Oregon with special focus on Crook, Grant, Wheeler and Harney counties

Our Goals
Serve as a source of information to funders and service providers about nonprofits, particularly in Harney, Grant, Wheeler and Crook counties

Communicate with nonprofits about available resources for funding, technical assistance, training and professional development

Advocate for Eastern Oregon people, organizations and communities


We established the Shelk Foundation in 1994 after co-advising on the OCF Shelk Advised Fund for fifteen years. We noticed the nonprofits in our geographic region did not access those advised funds with grant requests very frequently. Since most of our contributions are through the advised funds, we wanted to help them gain the capacity to understand the process and submit a competitive proposal.

Through the Shelk Foundation we use another approach and focus on offering assistance to nonprofits. We began in 2002 with the first biennial Cultivating Communities Conference and alternated locations between Prineville and John Day until 2010. In 2012 we joined other funders and a local planning group to organize the first Eastern Oregon Nonprofit Conference in Ontario. More than 250 people attended, including nonprofit representatives from 7 Eastern Oregon counties, and funders and presenters from around the state.

In addition to supporting local conferences and workshops to make them more accessible for nonprofits in our region; we provide information, resources, technical support and guidance. Nonprofits serving Grant, Wheeler, Crook and Harney counties and Funders interested in supporting these rural communities can call our staff person, Kristi Steber, at 541-447-6909 for information.

Linda Shelk

Geographic Area

The 37,000 people who live in Crook, Wheeler, Grant and Harney counties are the Foundation’s focus, but we share common interests with the other 15 counties east of the Cascades.

Eleven of these counties are designated “frontier” with fewer than six people per square mile. Frontier counties have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, as well as some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. Besides the lack of jobs, we also lack access to higher education and specialized healthcare. Public transportation for low-income, seniors and disabled people does not exist. The nearest supermarket for some people is three hours away. A majority of the land is publicly owned and does not contribute to the tax base to provide basic services.

Shelk Advised Fund of OCF

The Shelk Advised Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation was established in 1976 by John’s parents, Stuart and Pauline Shelk. John and Linda co-advise on this fund and most of our grant funding is through this advised fund. Nonprofits in Crook, Wheeler, and Grant counties can qualify for grants from the Shelk Advised Fund by applying to the OCF Community Grants program.
The Shelk Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant requests.


This is one of the most important trainings every nonprofit board member should attend.

Seasoned community leaders with 30 years experience on nonprofits boards have this to say about CNS’s board trainings:
“I have worked with nonprofits for more than 30 years and learned more in this training than in all my years of experience. I’m usually impatient with trainings, but this one was excellent, well-presented, and time-appropriate. I was grateful to be there.”
“Our treasurer was shocked to learn about his legal responsibilities. Every nonprofit officer and every board member should take this training so they will know how to keep from violating law, both state and national covenants.”
“Many boards operate casually, go with the flow and think they are operating well because their votes are usually unanimous. A good board meeting needs robust discussion and questions about anything in the financials they don’t understand.”

Watch for more information about CNS board trainings coming to your community this fall
Monday, October 19 in JOHN DAY
Tuesday, October 20 in BURNS
Wednesday, October 21 in PRINEVILLE