Community Spotlight: Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation
Supporting the Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation
The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation (KGASF) provides scholarships to Indigenous students pursuing degrees in aquaculture and related fields. It was formed to honor and continue the legacy of the late Kurt Grinnell, a beloved member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and driving force for local aquaculture industry.
Kurt Grinnell, whose legacy was the inspiration behind KGASF.
Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants, to help produce more seafood in a sustainable way. Not only does the aquaculture industry create jobs and generate revenue, but it also helps address food security issues.
Because aquaculture is rooted in the cultural traditions of many local Native American communities, it’s important to support young tribal members interested in the field. The Foundation focuses on Native American, Alaska Native, and Canadian First Nations students who want to continue Grinnell’s legacy through careers in aquaculture, and other closely related fields such as fisheries and marine science.
In support of this mission, First Fed has donated $10,000 to KGASF in 2023. In addition to this year's gift, First Fed has pledged $25,000 over the next five years in even amounts.
“We were really impressed by the responsiveness and commitment from the team at First Fed,” said Jeanne McKnight, board member of KGASF and Executive Director of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, where Kurt Grinnell served as Vice President of the board of directors. “First Fed is KGASF’s bank because their generosity funding local organizations and non-profits makes a huge impact.”
Matt Deines, John Dentler, and Jeanne McKnight discuss plans for KGASF at a local First Fed branch.
First Fed CEO Matt Deines hopes the donation will convey to the Grinnell family the depth of respect the community still has for Kurt Grinnell and his vision. Deines also recently announced that he is joining the board of KGASF.
“I was inspired by Kurt Grinnell’s legacy and the KGASF mission to empower Indigenous communities by building knowledge and skills,” said Deines. “It is an honor to be part of this effort to bring sustainable aquaculture production to the Olympic Peninsula.”