Matching Gift Challenge

Old Mill

Revitalizing the Old Mill

The Old Mill stands as a symbol of community spirit for the people of Oakesdale and for the entire region. A survivor of the fire of 1892, its enduring legacy is a source of community pride, resilience and connectedness in the Oakesdale community. As we preserve this iconic structure for the next generation, we want our community to flourish, honoring the past while embracing the opportunities of the future, including economic growth and community gathering space opportunities. 


Former Oakesdale resident and local business leader, Larry Stanley, has joined with community leaders and residents of Oakesdale to launch an exciting matching gift challenge to acquire Oakesdale’s historic Old Mill and return it to the community for economic revitalization and historic preservation. 

Situated in the heart of Oakesdale, the Old Mill represents the rich history and visual identity of our beloved town. Built in 1890, the Old Mill is the only surviving grain mill in Whitman County and one of the few still standing in Washington State. Although it has largely been closed to the public since 1960, the structure remains a treasured landmark. Oakesdale’s annual celebration is named “Old Mill Days” in honor of the mill, and visitors passing by on the nearby state highway often stop to take pictures of the iconic symbol of a bygone era. 

A Match for the Future

When the mill recently went up for sale, Larry Stanley saw this as a significant opportunity for the town of Oakesdale. Larry, along with many in the community, believes the Old Mill is key to Oakesdale’s future prosperity. 

Joined by generous commitments from Innovia Foundation, Avista Foundation, the John J. Hemmingson Fund at Innovia and the Oakesdale Community Fund at Innovia, as well as generous individual contributions, Larry Stanley’s match has grown to $120,000. The entire community is encouraged to participate in the 1:1 matching gift challenge to raise the funds needed to secure the Old Mill. With the generosity of the community, the iconic structure can be purchased, restored and preserved as an economic driver for the future of Oakesdale.  

Will you join us?

To support the future of our region and advance the community vitality of Oakesdale and surrounding areas, would you join the leaders in our community and consider a gift to help acquire the historic mill and meet the fundraising goal?  

Gifts can include one-time contributions, 3-year gift commitments (access the form) or a customized plan to fit your needs. Innovia Foundation can also accept gifts of grain or other unique gifts. All gifts are tax deductible. Please reach out to one of us or Aaron McMurray at Innovia (509-624-2606) if you have questions. 

An Oakesdale Childhood

For anyone born and raised in Oakesdale, the rolling hills, rich history and close-knit community leave an impression. Larry Stanley was no exception.

Born in the 1920s, Larry watched Oakesdale flourish as a retail hub for nearby towns. As the son of one of Oakesdale’s few barbers, Larry absorbed his father’s business savvy throughout childhood, shining shoes and cleaning up around the shop.

When the Great Depression arrived, his father’s small shop survived as a community gathering place for locals to catch up on the latest news of the town. When Larry’s father passed away, leaving medical bills behind, the town organized a fundraiser dance to support the barber who had built up their community for so long. Scores of residents purchased a ticket, even if they could not attend the dance. Larry’s childhood in Oakesdale inspired a compassionate work ethic that continues to drive his success and his heart for the community. Now retired as the founder of Empire Bolt & Screw Inc., a respected hardware wholesaler, Larry wants to give back to the place that gave him so much.

Larry Stanley in his marching band uniform as a child in Oakesdale.

The Lathen Family Legacy Honored

With family roots running deep in Oakesdale, Tom Lathen was quick to step up to Larry’s challenge. Tom, too, is the son of a former Oakesdale barber and beloved community member, Tommy Lathen. Local residents would gather to get a $1 haircut or just chat at Tommy’s Barber Shop. Crippled from polio, Tommy worked hard, sometimes selling shoes on the side, to provide for his family of six, including Tom. 

A lifelong resident of Oakesdale, Tommy’s mother Cecil Lathen also left her mark on the community. Born in 1884, Cecil arrived in Oakesdale as a young teacher. For many years, it was difficult to find an Oakesdale resident who didn’t spend their first-grade year under Cecil’s careful tutelage. 

By the time Tom left Oakesdale as a middle schooler, the community had captured a special place in his heart. To honor the legacy of his father Tommy and grandma Cecil, Tom and his wife, Kathy, made a gift to the fund, hoping to inspire others to uplift the Oakesdale community that has impacted so many.

$20,000 Matching Gift Challenge

Larry Stanley is launching a $20,000 matching gift challenge to establish the Oakesdale Community Endowed Fund at Innovia. Once endowed, the fund will exist for generations to come, preserving and nurturing what makes Oakesdale so special. A council of Oakesdale residents will ensure the fund is making a transformational impact on the opportunities and needs that matter to the community, including:

  • Middle school students from the Oakesdale School
  • District practice during band class.
  • Revitalizing downtown
  • Restoring local historic structures
  • Enhancing public parks and play areas
  • Building partnerships with first responders for community events
  • Investing in local school and youth development activities

Middle school students from the Oakesdale School District practice during band class.

Give both today and tomorrow.

We invite you to consider the ways that you can make a lasting impact through the Oakesdale Community Fund.

By leaving a gift in your will for the benefit of the Oakesdale Fund, you can maximize the impact of your generosity for the needs of today and tomorrow. Innovia Foundation is inspiring people across our region, no matter how wealthy, to expand the impact of their giving by committing just 5% in end-of-life generosity to the local communities they know and love. No matter how you choose to give, every gift makes the future of Oakesdale a little bit brighter.

Will you join us?

We invite you to discuss your giving options with the Innovia Foundation gift planning team at 509-624-2606 or

Gifts and pledges can also be made by mail:

Innovia Foundation
attn: Oakesdale Community Endowed Fund
818 W. Riverside Ave, Ste. 650
Spokane, WA 99201

Scroll to Top