Highest honor bestowed on Cowlitz Indian Tribe

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Clark College Foundation presents Excellence Award for commitment to veterans


The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Clark’s Veterans Resource Center and other services at the college focused on providing access to food for students experiencing food insecurity over the last few years. Their financial commitments to Clark are keeping student-veterans in college, helping them prepare for a civilian career and civic duties.

Clark College Foundation’s Award for Excellence for 2020.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe received the 2019-2020 Clark College Foundation Excellence Award recipient, the highest honor the foundation bestows.

Because of that commitment and their investments in other nonprofit organizations as well as the connections they have built and maintained throughout Southwest Washington, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe is the 2019-2020 recipient of Clark College Foundation’s Award for Excellence, the highest honor the foundation can bestow on its partners.

“We are honored and grateful to partner with Clark College in support of your work to empower student veterans to receive the education they need to build successful and prosperous lives for their families and communities. The land that is now Clark County has always been a part of Cowlitz Tribe’s ancestral homeland. And giving back to our community and looking after our neighbors continues to be central to our Tribal cultural values. We are honored to support our local academic community with grant dollars that benefit programs and empower students,” said Philip Harju ’74, chairman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s General Council in a video.

Their funding is boosting emergency grant funding, counseling, outreach and recruitment, textbook support, tutoring and food assistance, so the Veterans Resource Center can be a promising pathway for our men and women who dedicated themselves to serving our country.

The partnership with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe helps remind Clark College and Clark College Foundation of the obstacles and injustices indigenous peoples have faced, while at the same time demonstrating the promising future they are building and their generosity of spirit.

The majority of veterans who enroll at Clark College to pursue degrees are the first in their families to attend college and are low income. Veterans returning to civilian life are at increased risk of emotional and financial hardships such as homelessness, eviction, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide. Getting access to resources quickly and easily when they encounter educational challenges or experience emergencies is a critical step to keeping student-veterans in school and on their educational path.

The Tribe was honored during a virtual celebration on October 20 at Clark College Foundation’s annual Savoring Excellence gala. By recognizing them with the Award for Excellence, the foundation is accentuating the sovereign nation’s key role in Southwest Washington.


Download the transcript of Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s thank you response.

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Clark's Veterans Center of Excellence supports students.Ed Boston in the TV studio for Savoring Excellence 2020.