IVCanDO’s Brief Work History

IVCanDO is the product of decades of teamwork. In the early 1990’s an inspired and ambitious group of Illinois Valley volunteers teamed up with some folks from Wolf Creek and Sunny Valley so that rural Josephine County could be selected as an Enterprise Community, one of the first 36 nationwide. That designation came with a $1.3 million federal grant and technical assistance from USDA – Rural Development. Residents used the money to create the Illinois Valley Community Response Team, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, which brought residents together to draft the first ever community strategic plan. The first major project from the plan was to design and build the Family Coalition building.

Putting that plan into action, the IVCRT worked to improve quality of life for residents, building strong partnerships and new institutions, attracting additional public and private funding, and launching several spinoff nonprofit organizations. Areas of focus included tourism, infrastructure improvements, educational support, and economic development. In 2005 the IVCRT adopted the name “Illinois Valley Community Development Organization” (IVCDO) or IVCanDO, to better reflect the organization’s purpose and attitude. Important accomplishments during that time include starting the Revolving Loan Fund for small business, construction of the IV Visitors’ Center, restoration improvements to Forks State Park, and funding to support Kerby residents to form and build a water district to serve 200 households. To date, IVCanDO has leveraged the original federal funding by a ratio of twenty to one.

Strategic planning has been a key approach, with an emphasis on careful listening to residents’ interests. After six months of community-wide meetings and discussions involving hundreds of people, the Illinois Valley 20/20 Community Vision and Strategic Plan was drafted in 2016. This renewed vision and plan launched a broad range of projects, from social service networking to wildfire fuels reduction. From 2001-2018 IVCanDO operated Oregon Caves Outfitters, which holds the National Park Service concession contract for hotel, restaurant and gift gallery services at the Historic Chateau Lodge of Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve. In recent years, the organization has partnered with Rogue Community College to open the innovative Illinois Valley Business Entrepreneurial Center in Kerby, garnered a total $400,000 from Josephine County and City of Grants Pass to add to the Revolving Loan Fund, established theater and dance opportunities to area students through RiverStars Performing Arts, and launched the Cave Junction Farmers’ Market.