Nike donates $500K worth of supplies to early learning programs in eastern Oregon

UMATILLA/MORROW COUNTY, Ore. — Umatilla Morrow Head Start (UMCHS) received a donation Friday of literal truckloads of furniture, playground equipment and classroom materials from Nike’s world campus headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

The donation is estimated to be worth nearly half a million dollars and will benefit numerous childcare programs and education programs at early learning centers in Hermiston, Pendleton, Stanfield, Boardman, Condon and Wallowa. It includes furniture, outdoor playground structures, fencing, bathroom fixtures, books, strollers, cots, iPads and more. The supplies will be used for UMCHS programs and in classrooms this fall.

UMCHS was selected as the primary beneficiary of the donation from Nike following several weeks of talks between Nike site directors and UMCHS Executive Director Marueen McGrath.

“The Nike team has always been a groundbreaker when it comes to supporting early care and education, and this gift of high quality resources will ‘pay it forward’ to some of our communities’ most vulnerable children in eastern Oregon,” said McGrath.

Dennis Julian, Head Start Director for UMCHS, said he is confident the child care agency will be able to offer in-person learning starting the first week of October. Until then, the team will be unpacking and distributing the gifts to area classrooms.

“It was one of those things where they wanted to help as many agencies as possible and much to our delight when we got down there, we’re absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that we have been gifted. We’re just grateful that we’ve had this opportunity that someone thought to reach out to us and we’re going to make sure that this gets stretched out as far as we can,” said Julian.

UMCHS said its programs give children the tools they need to succeed in higher learning and to parents, the resources they need to excel.

Parents can send their children to preschool knowing they are going to learn skills that ensure they are ready for kindergarten. Among them are math, literacy, social-emotional learning, nutrition and physical exercise. Each aspect focuses on preparing children for higher forms of education and this donation will help enhance the environments for our children.

“After the year we have all had, Nike’s gift reminds us of how important it is to look out for one another…we are not in this alone because educating children is everyone’s business,” said Julian.

If you are interested in exploring early learning opportunities like preschool or would like to learn more about the programs offered at UMCHS, call 541-564-6878 or visit