Imagine nearly 2,000 cubic feet of pennies stacked on top of each other – each cube containing 50,000 pennies that weighs nearly 300 pounds, and this enormous pile of coins reaches into the sky higher than the equivalent of three Seattle Space Needles.
Some might call this eye catch monument stunning, but retired Pastor Rand O’Donnell prefers to call it a Mountain of Hope. As O’Donnell sees it, Mount of Hope stabilizes as it offers a hand-up through poverty to a better day. Its interest is dedicated to people in Skagit County who are jobless, homeless, penniless, or otherwise without hope.
The idea came to O’Donnell in 2010 when he encountered a man whose house had burned down. Devastated and still covered in soot from the ashen remains of his destroyed home, the man asked O’Donnell for a room to stay for a few nights. O’Donnell, still serving as a pastor at Mount Vernon First United Methodist Church at the time, escorted the gentleman to a hotel room and paid for his stay. He then asked him “Do you have a penny?” He had a quarter, a nickel, and two pennies and without hesitation gave one up on them. O’Donnell kept that penny and posted it to his church office wall and dated it April 29, 2010. The Mountain of Hope had begun.
O’Donnell partnered with Community Action of Skagit County on this idea. Now, pennies are collected from people, families, schools, civic organizations, non-profit organizations, and businesses across and beyond Skagit County and brought to Community Action in Mount Vernon.
Once gathered, these pennies are invested at The Skagit Community Foundation, where there is now an endownment in place that allows the nearly 10 million pennies gathered so far to compound at a healthy interest rate. Dividends from this fund are distributed to Community Action and used to help clients and individuals meet emergency and critical needs.
To support the Mountain of Hope Endownment fund, donate below.