"Improving our community and the quality of life of children, youth and families by supporting child abuse prevention, educational opportunities for young people, and the Exchange Club's service projects"
The Articles of Incorporation for the Foundation were filed October 31, 1966 with the purpose of supporting the ideals and programs of service of the Exchange Club of Downtown Spokane. Through the years, numerous small donations and bequests were made to the Foundation, which brought its fund balance to an average of $50,000, which gave the foundation the ability to claim exempt status as a 501 (c)(3). In October 2006, the foundation received a large bequest of $1,000,000 from the Merrill K. and Janet E. Nystuen Estate. Although $100,000 of the bequest created an endowment for two college scholarships, the bulk was directed to be used to support the programs of the Exchange Club, particularly the prevention of child abuse.
The Nystuens were family friends and clients of longtime Exchangite Bob Holder. Because they had no other living family members, Bob spoke to Merrill and Janet about the foundation and its benevolence to local non-profit agencies and support of youth and education. He also explained to them the ideals of the National Exchange Club and its programs of service in support of youth, community service, Americanism and the prevention of child abuse, all beliefs and causes dear to Merrill and Janet's hearts.
Upon receiving this gift, the foundation board worked diligently to create a funding policy and a purpose for distributing the earnings from the invested principal of the Nystuen estate. The intent of the Nystuen bequest and the ideals of Exchange Clubs motto "Unity In Service" were incorporated in those policies and were incorporated into the Foundation's mission statement adopted at the foundation retreat in September 2011.
The Merrill K. and Janet E. Nystuen Scholarships
These scholarships are awarded in conjunction with The National Exchange Club Youth of the Year Program, which honors outstanding students who exhibit excellence in academics and leadership. The applicant must exhibit strength of character, humility, scholarship and leadership.
A scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from Central Valley High School who is has been accepted and will be attending a four-year college of their choice. The Lewis and Clark High School scholarship, in memory of Janet's brother, Glen William Miller, who was killed in WWII, is awarded to a graduating senior attending Washington State University. Of those two recipients, a finalist is selected who competes at the Northwest District level for an additional $1,500 scholarship. The District Youth of the Year competes in the National Youth of the Year program for a $10,000 scholarship and recognition at the National Convention Youth Recognition Luncheon. The recipient’s winning essay is also featured in the national Exchange Today magazine.