The Spirit Mountain Community Fund bids farewell to former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley after more than nine years of service as a member of the Community Fund’s Board of Trustees. Darlene announced her retirement during the January board meeting, which has recently become official as her replacement has been determined.

Darlene began her career as a teacher. She taught high school for 14 years before entering the world of politics. Her political career included being elected to the West Linn City Council, Oregon State Legislature and then to Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District, where she served 12 years before announcing she would not seek reelection.

Shortly after leaving office, Darlene joined the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a passion for helping Oregonians succeed, especially when it involves educating the youth.

“Darlene is truly one of a kind and I admire her greatly. Her steadfast work and dedication not only to the Community Fund as a board member, but also for her leadership as a former Oregon Congresswoman, is inspirational. Her drive for fairness and equality for children and families was always evident in her decision making and I will truly miss her,” said Mychal Cherry Executive Director.

"It was a joy working with Darlene. She brought such a deep knowledge of the Oregon community and a passion for the need to provide services for the least fortunate. At the same time, she has a sharp eye for the value of a dollar. She was great at looking at a proposal and recognizing what was actually needed,” said Chip Lazenby SMCF Board Chairman. “I will miss Darlene's humor and grace at our meetings." 

During her time as a board of trustee for the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Darlene played a part in providing 1,271 grants for a total of $31,259,401 in funding to nonprofit organizations in northwest Oregon in the following programmatic categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environmental Preservation, Health, Historic Preservation, Problem Gaming and Public Safety.

“I am glad that Congresswoman Darlene Hooley is focusing on enjoying her retirement and I’m also already missing her terribly. Darlene’s down-to-earth wisdom and dedication to kids was a guiding light for us all. I will always remember how she could boil the issue down to the core principle with compassion, humor and wit,” said Kathleen George Board of Trustees and Grand Ronde Tribal Councilwoman. “She was and is a powerhouse. She was one of those great leaders who used her influence to raise up other women leaders and the voices of those who have been marginalized. Darlene is an Oregon treasure.”