A Redding Philanthropist on Good Works and Stepping Up

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Ordinary people who give back to their communities make towns attractive and economically viable. Small communities couldn’t survive, much less thrive, without them.

Steve Woodrum, whose family has been a part of Redding’s history and culture for over a century, is such a person. Passionate about making Redding a great place to live and to enjoy our natural environment, he’s an active part of Shasta County’s philanthropic landscape.

Woodrum sees his philanthropyas capital investments in the community and in kids and their future.

“It’s about doing things that will have a lasting effect,” he says. And Nature is a big part of that.

Woodrum is actively involved with the City of Redding and Henderson Open Space. The land for this 35 acre semi-wild nature preserve had been in his family for generations. You can still see the foundations of the old Hempsted homestead there.

His $50,000 donation to Redding East Rotary is helping transform this former debris-filled property. It helped build a road and, hopefully with the help of a matching state grant the City’s applied for, paved parking and clear signage that Henderson Open Space users can appreciate will be added.

Helping kids is a big theme with Woodrum.

“If you help a kid, that influence might last the rest of his life,” he said.

The $7,000 Woodrum donated to the Redding YMCA helped buy a pool cover, a heater and helped fix up the outdoor terrace. But this donation went even further.

Besides being an exercise center, the Y also sponsors a young person’s chess club that meets there in the evenings. The club wanted to bring in a Grand Master from the Bay area for a recent chess tournament but lack of funding to pay his honorarium almost nixed the idea. Funds left over from Woodrum’s donation helped save the day.

Woodrum contributes to other projects that support local kids.

His $500 donation to the North Valley Boxing Academy helped buy mats for the floor and the wall of their wrestling room. He also sponsors some kids so they can attend the boxing gym.

Woodrum says all the things he donates to are for kids, but not just for the usual basketball or skateboard park. “They’re for kids that might not be thought about,” he said.

His keen interest in helping young people spurred him and a friend to fund the “Straight Talk for Teens” newspaper column.

“It’s good advice,” he said.

Woodrum’s philanthropic efforts include both indoor and outdoor activities.

There’s a lot of natural beauty in and around Burney and Fall River Mills, he said, but they don’t have many indoor opportunities for balance, he said. So he donated $5,000 to the movie theaters in both towns and $12,000 to the Fall River Valley library.

Now the theaters have first-run films. This can help attract tourists, he said, “and it gives families something else (to) do.”

So far his funds have helped the Fall River Valley library become a good meeting place, increased patron access to computers and proceed with a solar project.

Philanthropy needs to be done properly, Woodrum says.

“If you’re in charge, if you’re responsible about it and do some homework so you know the money isn’t going to be wasted,” he said, “it’s incredibly gratifying. If it’s done properly, it’s an investment in yourself and the lives of many others.”

Woodrum offered a challenge to others to get involved in giving back.

“What’s important to you,” he asks. “What speaks to you that you can do? If you have a few extra bucks, do something that will give back to the community.”

If you and friends target shoot and you want to establish a shooting range, then put your money down and do it, Woodrum said, Or if you love open space, why not donate to Henderson? Funding could be used to expand its trail system. Or get involved with the Fall River Valley library project. Run almost totally by volunteers and independent, it’s an IRS-acknowledged charity.

“All America is under a lot of stress right now,” Woodrum said. That’s one reason he likes to contribute to places like Burney and Fall River Mills.

Woodrum is boldly offering to do a match for those who jump onboard with him. For every dollar donated to the library project, he’ll match it with $2.00. To learn more about this project, you can contact the library directly at 530 336-6445.

View more of Debra Atlas’s work at www.Eco-hub.com or contact her at debraatlas@gmail.com

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A former long-term resident of Redding who loves its natural wonders, journalist and blogger Debra Atlas is reachable www.Eco-hub.com or debraatlas@gmail.com
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Gerry says:

    Congrats on stimulating others to put themselves forward! What a great role model.

  2. Avatar Ginny says:

    Always good to read about others who help their community. Wonderful! Building up is better than tearing down…..

  3. AJacoby AJacoby says:

    What a great, common sense, admirable, no,make that heroic, example. The kind of spirit that has made America, America.

    Thank you for the article. Thank you for living and working in our communities.

  4. Avatar Grammy says:

    Good to see someone give money to the areas that they can see the difference while they are alive. The money will be assured of going where they intended. Not re-directed to where the governing body wants it to go to. Or in the case of huge foundations that has a governing body that can lead the philanthropic in their direction and away from the original plan.
    Case in point..the horse park that was planned on Clear Creek was also intended as a long landscaped driveway for a huge home.
    Just saying that while you are alive see the donation in action.

  5. Avatar Margaret says:

    Woodrum is a great example of how thoughtful philanthropy, even at a moderate level, can have huge impacts on local communities and groups of people. Thanks for thinking about the Intermountain area, Steve, and thanks for writing about it, Deb.

  6. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Wish the Bethel discovered foundation at Henderson could be known for certain. A Hemsted from Fresno stated the family home moved across Cypress in the long ago was relocated under the former Raley’s. Stay tuned; work is ongoing to determine the Henderson home site story.

  7. Avatar Stefanie says:

    Steve, if you read this comment please reply. This is Stefanie, Par’s granddaughter.  I can hardly even remember the last time I talked to you. Please keep in touch.