Amanda Thompson Fund

In 2017, the Trustees of the Gordon Elwood Foundation were honored to announce the expansion of the Gordon Elwood Foundation’s service to Southern Oregon through a 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. Amanda’s maternal grandfather, “Grandpa Scott”, had lost almost everything on an Alaskan mining investment just prior to 1929. Deeply impacted by this, Grandpa Scott wanted to encourage a strong work ethic among his grandchildren while promoting higher education. Amanda’s childhood was influenced by his teachings and she recognized early on that he had been very astute and intentional in setting up an education and healthcare trust for his grandchildren. Grandpa Scott was legendary among his grandchildren for his statement, “An education is the one thing that they can never take away from you.”

Growing up, education had always been a core value in Amanda’s family. Her grandfather’s forward thinking allowed her 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 Thompson

Amanda took personal interest in 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 from 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 leaving approximately $2.5 million to benefit the community she loved. 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.