Alaina Holm is convinced the experiences she gained through the Mudd Nick Foundation (MNF) helped her become Neah-Kah-Nie High School’s (NKNHS) 2016 valedictorian – and more.
By Ann Powers
“Definitely,” she said. “It widened my perspective of the world, made me more independent, more confident, grow as an individual and empowered me.”
From MNF-sponsored excursions to Portland for plays and concerts in grade school, a college visit in junior high, Blazer games and even to Costa Rica on a two-month foreign exchange program in high school, Holm said, “All that cool stuff we wouldn’t do otherwise because of being from a small town. Coming off of that… I was ready to conquer everything else I had to do until graduation.”
And beyond. And not just for Holm.
“My Future Business Leaders of America team was successful enough to win the state competition and move onto nationals two years in a row,” NKNHS graduate Max Hooley wrote in MNF’s newsletter. “And the Mudd Nick Foundation contributed funds to both of those wonderful experiences.”
For about 25 years, MNF has provided thousands of what it calls ‘Learning Experiences’ for students – both special needs and in the general student population – in north Tillamook County. But, those programs come with a price and next month the Foundation will hold its main fundraiser – the Mudd Nick Foundation Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Dinner and Auction, Sept. 16-17.
MNF Board President Monica Isbell said a pre-tournament spaghetti dinner is scheduled 5-9 p.m., at the North County Recreation District, 36155 9th St. in Nehalem, on Friday, Sept. 16. Golf team assignments and tee times will be announced and attendees can peruse the silent auction items.
Isbell added that the golf tournament kicks off at 7:30 a.m., at the Manzanita Golf Course, 908 Lakeview Dr. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The annual gourmet dinner and silent and live charity auction follows from 5:30-10 p.m., at the North County Recreation District.
“We want to maintain this foundation for a long time into the future and we rely on people in the community, and outside the community, to volunteer and for donations,” Isbell explained. “If they live in the community, their children have benefited from the program. The seniors that just graduated have had (MNF) Learning Experiences their whole school career.”
“It started as a golf tournament for college friends,” said Isbell.
No joke. It really did.
In 1990, Jim Mudd and Doug Nicholson, Oregon State University (OSU) college buddies and graduates, formed a co-ed golf tournament they dubbed the Mudd Nick Invitational, according to the MNF website.
A duck dressed as a beaver became the logo because of the numerous University of Oregon and OSU alumni participating. As the event grew, Jim’s wife, Lynn Mudd, suggested it be transformed into a community benefit – and the Mudd Nick charity golf tournament was born in 1993.
Invitees and participants began donating to support selected activities for kids in the north Tillamook area. Initially, a month-long summer art program and a skate ramp were sponsored – which are still going strong today.
Contributions and momentum continued to build, and MNF was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a board of nine directors in 2006. The tournament evolved as well, drawing approximately 80 players nationwide and raising more than $1 million over the past decade, according to MNF officials.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would turn into something like this,” Jim Mudd said. “You can do magical things with that kind of money.”
Mudd emphasized the Foundation only funds programs that are not tax supported.
“Our mission is to give a child a life-changing experience,” he said. “We give them an opportunity to see what’s possible. We try to step outside of the box.”
Nicholson, who lives in Florida, flies in every year for the auction, Mudd added.
Local students have also come to play a vital role in the Foundation’s longevity by joining the Junior Mudd Nick program. They do community service, raise money and develop new ways to improve the area.
MNF is mostly all volunteer, with just two part-time staffers who liaise with school administrators and other youth leaders to coordinate Learning Experiences. Kids get to participate in these opportunities free of charge.
“The thing I love about MNF is it wants to affect every single student in the community as best as they can,” said Jennifer Holm, Alaina’s mom and MNF program director. “It changes their outlook and makes them realize the things they can do and not just stay in a small town.”
Like her daughter plans on doing. This fall Alaina heads for OSU to major in music – for starters.
“Maybe I’ll double major in music and business,” she said. “I’m also really interested in linguistics.”
Hooley added MNF is so special because the people behind it are so special.
“I have been fortunate to be able to work for Jim and Lynn Mudd at their famous Manzanita Mudd Dog Stand this summer and it’s there that I am learning what kind of people are behind the Mudd Nick Foundation,” he stated in the Foundation’s newsletter. “Together they have truly built a foundation that has become a huge part of what makes our little sliver of the coast such an amazing place to live.”
To learn more about MNF, volunteer, donate or register for the Mudd Nick Foundation Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Dinner and Auction, visit muddnickfoundation.org or call 503-368-5205.