TransAlta Coal Transition Board Awards $2 Million to Centralia Community Foundation


TransAlta Coal Transition Board Awards $2 Million to Centralia Community Foundation – Grant assists Lewis County students prepare for college and careers, part of TransAlta’s $55M coal transition investment into the local community 

Centralia, Wash. (November 15, 2017) – Thanks to a $2 million-dollar grant awarded to Centralia Community Foundation by the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board, the Foundation will partner with the Centralia School District and Centralia School Board to build a district-wide evaluation and instruction plan to prepare students for college and vocational careers.

“The vision that the Centralia Community Foundation shared with us is that by supporting and improving the educational system, the entire community will be able to realize the benefits of this investment,” said Mickey Dreher, transition board member.  “This approach has worked elsewhere and the board is excited to be part of such an important community-driven journey.”

Under the historic agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington. To date, TransAlta has awarded nearly $3.7 million through its coal transition grant boards.

“These TransAlta funds will make a difference in this community,” State Governor Jay Inslee said. “By investing in local education, options for youth will be expanded.  This dovetails nicely with the new STEM facilities currently under construction in both Centralia and Chehalis. Together we can make a difference for young people throughout this region.”

“We are truly pleased to be able to help transform public education for Centralia students through this grant,” said Dawn Farrell, CEO and President of TransAlta.

The project will launch a systemic approach to preparing students to enroll and be successful in college or vocational careers. The BERC Group will partner and coach administrators to enhance teaching practices, strategies and methods. The TransAlta Coal Transition Board’s $2 million grant will begin by funding the initial assessments and establishing milestones and metrics with the goal to enhance the effectiveness of the new Centralia High School STEM facilities currently under construction.

“The unique role of a community foundation is the ability to create public/private partnerships that bring different entities together for a common vision” said Tim Browning, Vice-President of the Board and Chairman of the Education Committee. “We have seen how successful and measurable that strategy is in advancing education in Chehalis schools. The Centralia Community Foundation was formed to follow the success of the Chehalis Foundation while making specific changes to reflect the unique Centralia population.”

The project is being built off the neighboring Chehalis Foundation effort, which commissioned the BERC Group to evaluate their school systems. To date, Chehalis has seen higher numbers of graduates accepted into colleges with scholarships and classroom improvement across the district.

Mark Davalos, Superintendent of Centralia School District, is excited about the role that education will play in building a stronger community. “The Centralia School District is thrilled to receive any and all assistance to become a better organization of learning. Our challenges are many, but we believe our partnership with the Centralia Community Foundation will support us in providing what is needed to help our students with greater access to college and career preparation.”

The Centralia Community Foundation was formed in June 2016 to enhance the lives of citizens of Centralia by supporting the creation of a highly successful education system. The Foundation recognizes that a vibrant school district is critical to attracting businesses and families to select Centralia their home. The organization taps some of the area’s most optimistic, successful and accomplished community leaders all with the goal of improving Centralia for the generations to come.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:
Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past five years with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: