Congratulations to The Center Foundation’s executive director, Carol Stiles, for being nominated for the Bend Chamber’s Woman of the Year – Community Hero Award. Carol is a remarkable person that has made a difference in the lives of many Central Oregonians. She has served as an advocate for children on many boards, committees, and taskforces, and is currently the Executive Director of The Center Foundation. She has worked for the non-profit organization since 2005 as the first executive director. Under Carol’s leadership, The Center Foundation programs have grown to provide a host of services including: athletic trainers in five Central Oregon High Schools, ImPACT Concussion testing for high school athletes, free pre-participation sports physicals every August, brain and spinal cord injury prevention for elementary school students, and free bike helmets to children in need.

During her time with The Center Foundation, Carol has made a tremendous community impact. The organization now has athletic trainers in five area high schools. As Executive Director, she works tirelessly to elicit sponsors, community donations, and hold fundraisers to finance the important work they do. Only about 45% of high schools nationally have athletic trainers and research shows that trainers save lives of high school athletes. It is the cornerstone of what The Center Foundation does, and Carol supports her trainers in every way possible.

She has also grown the scholarship program immensely over the last ten years, The Center Foundation conducts an extensive scholarship program to encourage leadership, academic excellence, and community service. The High Desert Hero, Worrell Scholarship, and the Junior Scholarship programs culminate each May with the Salute to Heroes Dinner, a celebration of the youth of Central Oregon. In addition to the scholarships, she ensures that each student is recognized publicly by building relationships with community media partners.

The budget has nearly tripled during Carol’s tenure at The Center Foundation. With increased funds, the organization was able to implement and expand ImPACT concussion testing significantly, is now giving away over 1,500 free helmets annually, and performs over 350 free pre-participation sports physicals each year. Her focus and determination to provide these services and programs to youth is unparalleled.

Carol is a true leader in our community and passionate about our youth, serving on many committees and taskforces in Central Oregon to develop important programs for local families. She was instrumental in bringing Head Start to the area, developing and implementing the “Great Start Five Year Plan” successfully before taking on the role of Director of Head Start. She worked on the Committee on Early Education and Development (CEED) and one of her major accomplishments included working in partnership with Deschutes County leaders to develop the “Promise to Our Young Children”, a 10-year vision for young children and their families.

Carol was a founding member of Family Resource Center of Central Oregon, spent five years as chair of Oregon Early Childhood Initiatives, and eight years as chair and co-chair of Deschutes County Committee on Early Education and Development. Carol also held leadership roles with the Governor’s Early Childhood Taskforce, Central Oregon Health Council, a state taskforce on Children of Incarcerated Parents, and many others.

Carol’s dedication to youth and selfless giving deserve to be celebrated. We acknowledge her as a local hero who has made outstanding contributions to The Center Foundation and our community.