S'Klallam Foundation

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization rechartered from the Klallam Development Fund in 2002 to benefit the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, its members, and its mission. The Foundation works to improve the quality of life for tribal members while increasing the understanding of the Tribe's rich cultural heritage with people residing in Kitsap County, the Puget Sound area, and beyond.

A Board of Trustees meets twice yearly to govern and direct the Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation. The Board includes the following individuals:


Jeromy Sullivan, President 

Chris Tom, Vice President

Renee Veregge, Secretary/Treasurer

Donovan Ashworth, Council Member

Lena Tunkara, Council Member

Barbara Leigh-Smith, Community Board Member

Lee Neff, Community Board Member


Foundation staff members include: Joan Garrow, Executive Director; Betty Decoteau, CFO; Hannah Jones, Development Associate; Elena Von Sternberg, Accountant. The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe donates the services of staff as needed to facilitate the work of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation.

The Foundation works to advance an appreciation and understanding of tribal art, history, and culture. The Foundation also seeks to promote education, wellness, and increase awareness and action to protect the environment. Another primary component of the Foundation's mission is the management of Heronswood Garden.

A summary of the Foundation's projects and programs over time:

x̣čn̕w̕txʷ (pronounced: haa-chi-nought) or House of Knowledge

longhousejoepriceIn 1999, the Tribal Council initiated what would become a $5 million dollar capital campaign, envisioning the first S'Klallam longhouse in over a hundred years. The longhouse was planned to be an integrated facility with a career and education center, a new home for the Little Boston Library, and an elders center. The House of Knowledge complex was designed by Johnston Architects of Seattle and Cutler/Anderson of Bainbridge Island.

The project construction began in 2002 and was completed by 2007. Senator Patty Murray served as the Honorary Chair of the capital campaign. The effort included a Steering Committee and over 100 volunteers. It took many grants, a Congressional appropriation, many donations by businesses and individuals, and a substantial investment in the project by the Tribe.

Five tribal art auctions were held as fundraisers during these years. The first two art auctions were held at the UW Burke Museum in Seattle and the remaining three auctions were held in the House of Knowledge Longhouse, after it was completed. The generosity of artists to the House of Knowledge project cannot be understated.

The late Bea Charles and Adeline Smith, two wonderful members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, who spent many years teaching the S'Klallam language, inspired the S'Klallam name for the House of Knowledge. We honor their teaching and gift of the word x̣čn̕w̕txʷ. 


Preschool Capital Project

During 2011 and 2012 the Foundation was actively involved in seeking grants and fundraising for a desperately needed new Preschool Building. On the happy day of March 13, 2013 a grand opening was held to celebrate the completion of the new facility.

earlychildhoodThe building project focuses on the natural environment being a part of the curriculum for children with elements of nature integrated into the project. An example of this is finding an old growth cedar stump featured within the building's design for children to view as an active garden feature. Children view a living roof and active rain garden when they arrive and leave the building daily.

A tribal art auction in the fall of 2011 netted over $17,000 for the new preschool. Participants enjoyed the dinner and watching the preschool children perform traditional dances and songs. Grant funders for the preschool include the Medina Foundation; Suquamish Tribe Appendix X; Quil Ceda (Tulalip) Appendix X; and many individual donors. The project finished on schedule and within budget, with the support of a HUD Indian Community Block Grant; PGS Housing Authority Grant, and the tribe's significant investment. The children love their new preschool.


Portraits of Tribal Elders

Early in 2012, the Foundation, with the coordination of tribal staff, completed an elder portrait project funded by the Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, Puget Sound Energy, the Tribe's Appendix X charitable funds, and tribal administrative funds. The project included 28 elders. The photographs were taken by photographer Eduardo Calderon late in 2011. Along with each print that was matted and framed with archival materials, we received a high resolution scanned image. Copies were made for each elder and the original scanned image is in the Tribe's archives. They are displayed in the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Center, opposite elder photos taken approximately 20 years ago from a project called "Pride Is Our Heritage" by photographer John Stamets.



snə̓xʷɬ yaʔyiyəŋ - canoe journey

Have you ever been to Point Julia in the summer and witnessed the arrival of canoes from the Pacific Northwest and Canada? The Canoe Journey is a re-awakening of the canoe cultural of ancient times, brought back to many tribes in 1982 with the Paddle to Seattle (thank you Emmett Oliver, Gerald "Jake" Jones, and other tribal leaders).

canoephotosThe Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe is known for its wonderful hosting of this annual event. From the traditional foods served at the welcome feast (clambake, salmon and crab), the evening ceremony in the House of Knowledge Longhouse, and the great places to pitch a tent, people say it's one of their favorite stops along the journey. The Tribe sponsors the hosting--including staff time, resources, and expenses. The event is open to the public. Shuttles are available to transport people to the beach.

The canoe families represent many tribes who traverse calm and rough waters from near and far shores. It's a daring trek to undertake, with all ages involved, and standing firm about no alcohol or drugs. Some say it's a life-changing experience and all involved feel proud of their culture and enjoy the social time of re-establishing friendships with other native people.

The Tribe's Canoe Family fundraises throughout the year to help pay for the journey to a different host tribe each year. The Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation looks for grants and donations for this important event. We are thankful to The Potlatch Fund for their consistent support. The 2018 Canoe Journey destination is Puyallup, WA.


Charitble Contributions to The Port Gamble S'Klallam Canoe Family

If you or your business would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Canoe Family please contact Kelly Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (360) 710-8959.

The Strong People: A History of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

strongpeopleA five-year project, the Tribe's history book, The Strong People: A History of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, was published in January, 2013 and is now for sale. We thank the following funders who helped to underwrite the book: Port Gamble S'Klallam Appendix X grants, The Genographic Legacy Fund, Nisqually Tribe Charitable Fund, The Potlatch Fund, Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Squaxin Island Tribe 1% Charitable Contribution Commission, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, and individual donations. A celebration and book reading occurred on February 27, 2013. Many people were involved in making this dream come true, and we are especially grateful for the memories of tribal elders that have been documented over the years. Their stories shaped the book. To purchase a copy of The Strong People, click here.



Tribal Art Programs

Through the years the Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation has coordinated fundraisers and programs to educate and support tribal artists to become better well known for their talented work and to preserve knowledge of tribal elders:

  • PGSF has coordinated 6 tribal art auctions as fundraisers to benefit the House of Knowledge and Preschool building projects (from 2004 through 2011).
  • "Children and Educational Panels For Display" was a youth grant involving learning about and photographing tribal ancestral places, resulted in learning activities for the children and educational panels that now are displayed in the Little Boston Library and the Youth Center. (2008-2011).
  • "Washington Stories" historical panels tell the Tribe's story. They were developed by a Foundation/tribal team and toured throughout the State during 2007. They are now on display in the lobby of the Tribal Center. Funded by Humanities Washington and in coordination with the Museum of History and Industry.
  • A Smithsonian Native American grant, applied for on behalf of tribal member, Joe Ives Sr., to create a mural dedicated to the elders (2006-2008). The mural is called "Telling Stories and Sharing a Meal." Tribal youth and other carvers assisted with the project.
  • A grant from Muckleshoot Charitable Fund allowed the Foundation to purchase art from tribal members for the House of Knowledge Longhouse (2004-2005).

One place to view Port Gamble S'Klallam art is at The Point Casino. There was a determined effort to have a piece of art from most tribal artists on display throughout the casino. In 2016, the Foundation helped secure funding for Native art featured in The Point Hotel. 

Energy Efficiency

A grant funded by the U.S. Department of Energy resulted in the evaluation of 23 tribal buildings in 2010. The goal of the project was to provide a clear picture of the energy efficiency and conservation opportunities in tribal facilities to save energy and money and curb greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks. A building condition assessment was included as part of the project. A written report was prepared by Paul Horton Consulting Group, LLC, in March, 2011. Many of the recommendations have been implemented.


In 2012 the Kitsap Community Foundation provided a grant for weekend food bags for 6th-12th grade youth during March and April. Lunch was served in the Youth Center Monday-Friday during spring break for K-12th grade. In addition youth received a to-go breakfast bag Monday-Friday for the following morning's breakfast. 152 youth, K-12th grade, were supplemented with food through this project.


The Foundation was successful in obtaining a 2008 grant from WA State Department of Ecology. The grant, "Port Gamble Bay Toxic Site Sampling, Clean-up and Cultural Resource Participation", was integrated into other efforts done by the Tribe's Natural Resources Department.

Veterans Memorial

During 2007 planning, fundraising and construction for a tribal community Veterans Memorial occurred. Ron Charles, Rudolph Purser, Ivan George, Wayne DeCoteau and Bernard Tom consistently attended planning meetings. The Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in November, 2007. Six grants funded this effort. Later a flag pavilion and a walking path were installed.