Gordon Elwood Foundation

Amanda Thompson Fund

Amanda Thompson helping youth succeed in school and life

The Trustees of the Gordon Elwood Foundation are honored to announce the expansion of the Gordon Elwood Foundation’s service to Southern Oregon through a recent bequest from the Amanda Thompson Estate. Amanda’s wish was to provide youth with opportunities for success in education and employment.

Amanda’s world view was deeply influenced by members of her family. Although Amanda’s maternal grandfather “Grandpa Scott” had lost almost everything on an Alaska mining investment just prior to 1929, Amanda recognized early on that he had been very astute and intentional in setting up an education and healthcare trust for his grandchildren. He wanted to encourage a strong work ethic among his grandchildren while promoting higher education. Grandpa Scott was legendary among his grandchildren for his statement, “An education is the one thing that they can never take away from you.”

Education was very important to both sides of Amanda’s family. Her grandfather’s forward thinking allowed Amanda to carry forward her family’s strong belief in the benefits of education.

“Not everyone has the same opportunity I had because of my grandfather, so I would like to help kids succeed and especially through the difficult years of middle school when other kids can be mean. I want them to know that it’s important to work hard and get an education because nobody can take that knowledge away from you.”

“Growing up is not easy and education is key to personal and career success.”

Amanda was personally very aware of the challenges of childhood. And she was acutely aware of the obstacles to children of families with financial challenges where the idea of post high school education or vocational training can be elusive. Inspired by her own experiences and her family’s commitment to supporting people through ministry and healthcare, she met in early 2015 with leadership of the Gordon Elwood Foundation before her passing. She wanted to invest her savings locally to be used over time for education, positive youth supports and career training for motivated young people.

Amanda Scott Thompson passed away January 7, 2016 from breast cancer. She was born January 19, 1954, in Ashland, Oregon to Episcopal priest, Reverend John Thompson and his wife, a dental hygienist, Shirley Thompson. The family moved to Eureka, California when Amanda was in first grade, where her father became the rector at Christ Episcopal Church. He was later ordained Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

Amanda graduated from Eureka High School in 1972 and attended college at what is now Southern Oregon University. She transferred to Oregon Institute of Technology and graduated in 1978 with an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene. Amanda worked as a dental hygienist in Portland, Oregon and Eugene before she settled in Medford in 1981, retiring from her career in 2013. She loved her dogs and cats, reading, the outdoors, and spending time at her family cabin at Lake of the Woods. Her many hobbies included fishing, skiing, sewing, needlepoint, running, kayaking, yoga, fly-tying, sailing, as well as home remodeling. She actively supported several community organizations in Jackson County that focused on giving children of all ages a hand up and someone to support their dreams.

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"As stewards of Gordon's Foundation we have the opportunity to carry out his interest in giving people a hand up, not just a hand out."

Dan Kosmatka
Board of Trustees,
Gordon Elwood Foundation
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