Ruiz is one of seven selected from nearly 200 nominees for her “grit” and commitment to bettering the world

 To celebrate what would have been the 126th birthday of namesake Marie Lamfrom, the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation (MLCF) distributed grants to nonprofits in honor of colleagues, volunteers, leaders, or members at these organizations who demonstrated grit in their daily work. Just seven of nearly 200 nominees were selected. Among those honored was Perla Ruiz, a Family Access Network (FAN) advocate currently serving Ponderosa Elementary School and Mountain View High School in the Bend-La Pine School District. To recognize her contributions to helping Central Oregon kids thrive, MLCF awarded FAN with a $12,000 grant.

 “From her nomination, it is clear that Perla demonstrates grit every day, reminding us of Marie’s spirit and memory,” said Tyler Hobbs, President of MLCF. “And, given her history of service to Family Access Network, we wanted to issue this award in her honor.”

Ruiz’s nomination highlighted her journey from first discovering FAN as a client, to later being hired as a FAN advocate herself, and showed the ways she uses her personal experience to help Central Oregon families open doors to new possibilities. The 2021-22 school year required even more grit from Ruiz, as she took on serving a high school for the first time under the continued shadow of the pandemic. Ruiz told her FAN journey in her own words for FAN’s 2020 annual fundraiser, here:

 “We’re incredibly proud of Perla’s work at FAN, and so thrilled that she was selected for this honor,” said Julie N. Lyche, FAN Executive Director. “FAN advocates do an enormous amount of work, both with families directly and behind-the-scenes, coordinating with our over 100 community partners to ensure kids in need have access to resources that will help them thrive. Bringing attention to this difficult and rewarding vocation is wonderful, and we’re glad Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation has chosen to celebrate their namesake’s spirit in this unique way.”

The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation was established in 1998 to honor the life of Marie Lamfrom by continuing her support for Oregon causes. They aim to support and empower nonprofits financially, creatively, and strategically; facilitate and nurture human connection, learning, healing, and joy; pursue partnerships that value and empower those involved; to yield ongoing positive outcomes, alleviate human suffering, and promote thriving communities. The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation prioritizes support in service to education & mentorship, arts & creativity, and health & well-being in Oregon and Washington State.

Photo L – R: Robyn Harmon – FAN Project Manager, Perla Ruiz – FAN Advocate and Marie Lamfrom Award Recipient, Julie Lyche – FAN Executive Director

 About Family Access Network (FAN)

Unique to Central Oregon, FAN began in 1993 and currently employs 27 advocates at 65 sites in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties. These advocates work tirelessly to help families break the cycle of poverty. The direct placement of FAN advocates within schools allows FAN to effectively reach and connect disadvantaged children and families to essential basic needs. In its 30 years of operation in Central Oregon, FAN has assisted 176,341 individuals, opening doors to hope, help, and new possibilities.

To learn more about the Family Access Network, please visit or call (541) 693-5675.

Family Access Network’s mission is to offer assistance, possibility and hope to Central Oregon families in need by connecting them with crucial resources that will help children flourish in school and in life. Every year, FAN advocates improve the lives of nearly 7,000 children and family members in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties.

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