LIFE IN LONGBRANCH
A lot has changed in Longbranch since the photo at the top of the page was taken in 1909. The Narrows Bridge replaced the Longbranch-Steilacoom county ferry. Local farmers took their eggs, berries, and holly to market using the new highway. But the little village at the southern end of the Key Peninsula continued to prosper and grow.
Today Longbranch is the home of choice for those who value natural beauty, clean air, and the riches of the southern Puget Sound. We have all chosen to live “at the end of the road” for our own reasons, but we all share a love of community, culture, and the pioneer spirit.
Investing in the South Key community, The Longbranch Foundation has been created to perpetuate the best of what’s here, and the potential for what can be for those who follow us. Click here to read our latest news, or click here to read about our grant process.
The Foundation supports the Longbranch Improvement Club and all that it has stood for since visionaries created it in 1921. “To improve the community…” is just as worthy a mission today, and the Foundation encourages charitable support of that goal.
Image Attribution: Alexrk2 / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. HELP OUR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE TAKING CARE OF CHILDREN, SENIORS, AND FAMILIES DURING THIS TRYING TIME! JUST CLICK COVID-19 TO SUPPORT THE KEY PENINSULA NON-PROFIT OF YOUR CHOICE.
Fall is officially here and with the Fall comes our Annual Celebrate Campaign. This is a chance for all of us to reflect on how we give back to the community that nurtures and supports us. I for one, am blessed with all of the relationships I have made through the LIC and the Foundation, and the various ways we can all help each other while enjoying life.
The Foundation, created in 2016, continues to expand its program and services to the Key Peninsula Community. We promote and enable educational opportunities for our youth, we maintain the area’s history by supporting the historically designated LIC Clubhouse, we work to improve the Filucy Bay environment with support to the Longbranch Marina.
After a cold and wet winter, the hot days of summer are here. A change to warmer weather is always wonderful on the KP as it brings the sounds of children playing late outside, swimming, kayaking, boating, and all those sitting by the campfire experiences.
This summer has also brought changes in the make-up of the Foundation Board as Michele Gorman and Barb Floyd have stepped down. I want to extend a huge round of applause and appreciation for all their hard work and service to The Longbranch Foundation.
The day provided so much more than an opportunity to buy a few needed (or not so needed) items. It was an occasion to once again greet community on the grounds of the historic Longbranch Improvement Club. The morning was chilly, but the smiles were warm all around at the Super Sale, sponsored by The Longbranch Foundation. The proceeds from the event will directly benefit the club’s unique building.
LIC is the ideal venue. The grounds also provide us the space to take a quiet walk through lovely trails with a friend, or to sit and share a bagged lunch with others in the community garden.
Recently, I woke up at 3 AM, sat up in bed and gazed out the window at Filucy Bay. I was struck by a longing to go out into the calm night for a paddle on my board. A voice inside my head intruded, saying to me that it was dangerous to go out alone at night. Something might happen and I’d be alone. The reasons and doubts stacked up until a wall was eventually created. I didn’t climb over that wall in my mind that night, instead I resigned myself, stayed home, warm, safe, but perhaps slightly defeated.
That pull towards the evening water has remained and the next full moon I intend to go, to
climb that wall that separates me from trying.
I woke up last weekend to a dry, partly sunny morning. Looking out at
Filucy Bay, I noticed that the water was glassy and that the tide was nearly full. So, at 7:15 AM I picked up my paddle board and headed towards the marina. The air was crisp, and the water was beautifully calm, making for an easy paddle.
Growing up I never was on the water, whether in a boat, kayak, rowboat, whatever. Getting out now and seeing life in, and around the water, or back to land is a new perspective. Think about it, being on the water is experiencing an entirely different part of the world – it’s not land. You see things differently; you see things you can’t see from land. You also experience the water; how it moves under your board or boat. What’s the tide doing? The wind? Is it choppy? Will that seal, or river otter come close?
I feel as though the foundation began the year by taking a giant step into it, with long legs and big shoes! We certainly have a lot on our plate and continue to be an important presence on the KP. We can only do this because of volunteers who are willing to take on challenges and tasks that come before us.
Here’s an overview of what we are up to…and, by the way, feel free to get involved at any time!
On November 8th, the community celebrated the opening of the new Evergreen Elementary School at the Ribbon Cutting ceremony. During the ceremony, the Foundation dedicated the handmade quilt to the school community.
As I write this piece for the November newsletter, I am suddenly aware that the holiday season is just around the corner. I should have known of course. Because now when I go outside at any time during the day the sky seems a bit closer to the ground and I often find myself wrapped in damp fog or feeling a decidedly chilled breeze brushing over me.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Family, friends and food – what could possibly be better?
Hopefully, by now the wilting heat of summer is behind us as we head into Fall; my favorite season of the year. Rather than seeing winter looming on the horizon, I feel summer heat gently fade into crisp weather and begin to see the change in color all around. In this season we may awake to sun or rain, it’s always a guess and isn’t that the true beauty of it?
The Peninsula Hawks held their annual scholarship awards program (virtually) Wednesday evening May 19. Marcia Harris and her committee selected three graduating seniors to receive scholarships.
In addition, TLF is proud to continue our tradition of awarding Recurring Scholarships to those students in school who are doing well, this year there are two students who will receive Recurring Scholarships to continue their education.
When we started planning the 2021 bienniel auction we set two goals: a monetary goal so we could expand our support to the students and a goal of providing an educational, engaging and fun event. We are happy to report that we passed our monetary goal and we have received feedback from many people who really enjoyed the themselves and praised not only the fun show, but the bidding process, the testimonial videos, the food and the wine.
there is much activity on the Auction web site with some items already sold out! There is an amazing group of volunteers working hard to make this a fun, worthwhile event. If you have not purchased your ticket yet, please join us now!
Your gifts of time and money have once again helped us fulfill our goal of improving the KP Community.
A LITTLE HISTORY of THE LONGBRANCH IMPROVEMENT CLUB
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed,it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
What is an Improvement Club? Many neighbors on the Key Peninsula have heard about The Longbranch Improvement Club (LIC), but don’t know much about it. According to the original Articles of Incorporation, the club formed a corporation in 1921 to buy “Real Estate for the purpose of a Consolidated School, Athletic, and Picnic purposes and to encourage any activity for the betterment of Schools, Homemaking, Roads, Marketing, Dairy, Poultry and all its branches.”
According to Key Peninsula Historical Society & Museum, “Improvement clubs grew out of the Progressive Movement that swept the nation from the 1870s to the 1920s. Civic duty and improving the quality of life were to be based on new learning and technology. This was a national focus, and Teddy Roosevelt tasked communities to focus on rural improvement.” It is interesting to note that even the City of Tacoma had an improvement club at one time; a scattering of improvement clubs remain active today.
In the 1940s when School #328 was discontinued, the LIC assumed ownership of the former gymnasium building, built-in 1934 as a WPA project during the Great Depression. The old Pierce County pier in Filucy Bay had been abandoned in the 1930s when the “Mosquito Fleet” ferry service to Longbranch was discontinued. In 1959, members of the LIC, through agreements with Pierce County and Washington state, took over management and maintenance of the marina. They built a 168-foot pier and attached it to the old county dock.
Today, the LIC continues to be active on the Key Peninsula. The building and marina still serve in the spirit of the founders of the LIC. The marina is open to the public for use by local and visiting boaters. The clubhouse, now on the Register of National Historic Places, is used by the club for events and is available for rent. In addition, the local Fire District uses the property for helicopter evacuation practices, and the Parks District holds a Day Camp at the facility each summer.
The Longbranch Improvement Club has remained committed for nearly 100 years to fulfilling its mission, which is “… for the Betterment of the Community”, and it is now joined by The Longbranch Foundation in that effort. Both organizations are evolving and we look forward to continuing to improve our support for the Key Peninsula. Much credit goes to our members and residents of the broader community – Thank You!
WHY TWO ORGANIZATIONS
The answer turns on federal laws concerning exemptions for charitable organizations from income taxation.
The Internal Revenue Service recognizes the Longbranch Improvement Club (LIC) as a tax-exempt social welfare organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. As long as it continues to meet certain requirements, its income is immune from taxation, however, donations to the LIC by individuals or other organizations are not authorized to take income tax deductions. The LIC has significant income from non-qualifying sources such as the rental of its clubhouse and moorage fees at the Longbranch Marina. The LIC has a membership of over 200 members that conduct a variety of educational, social, and philanthropic events and provides support for a number of other community organizations.
The Longbranch Foundation (TLF) was formed in 2016 to raise funds and provide grants for specified charitable purposes that qualify it as a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Not only is its income exempt from taxation, but individuals, businesses, and other organizations are authorized to take income tax deductions, to the extent authorized by law. Its specified charitable purposes include preserving and maintaining historic properties, maintaining and improving local recreation grounds and trails, supporting scholarship programs and public school activities, enhancing the environment of Filucy Bay, improving public safety at the Longbranch Marina, and supporting community service organizations and activities. Both organizations are managed and supported by volunteers. Both organizations use the same pool of volunteers for LIC Events and TLF Fundraising activities.
The Longbranch Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization associated with The Longbranch Improvement Club. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.