Bainbridge resident who established Birkenfeld trust was a “frugal” teacher

Today I wrote about the South Kitsap Skatepark Association receiving $75,000 for its planned facility at South Kitsap Regional Park. The grant came from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust managed by The Seattle Foundation.

Birkenfeld is frequently mentioned in the Kitsap Sun. A Bremerton High School graduate, Birkenfeld was a teacher and later administrator in the Bellevue School District. He lived on Bainbridge Island most of his life and was active in community organizations.

His will provided $14 million to establish a trust that would inspire other donations. To date the trust has distributed $3.9 million in funds, mostly to organizations benefiting Kitsap County residents. According to spokeswoman Claire Bishop, Birkenfeld, a single man, was frugal and invested his money with care, and so amassed a substantial nest egg in his 66 years.

Besides the skatepark association, other recipients of major awards in 2011 are:

Bainbridge Land Trust, a $250,000 grant toward the purchase of Hilltop, a 31-acre parcel connecting two sections of the 541-acre Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island;

Seabeck Christian Conference Center, a $150,000 contribution to the Seabeck Centennial Campaign to re-build guest houses and to install an outdoor amphitheater;

Hope in Christ/Coffee Oasis, a $125,000 grant to purchase and convert a building into a teen shelter in Bremerton;

SK Skatepark Association, a $75,000 grant to cap off fundraising for a world-class skate park in Port Orchard;

Other Kitsap County projects will receive pre-development funding to assist with planning new large projects with Kitsap County-wide impact. Another $33,000 set-aside from the trust each year finances the Humanitarian of the Year Award, administered by the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

2 thoughts on “Bainbridge resident who established Birkenfeld trust was a “frugal” teacher

  1. Mr. Birkenfelt was my High School civics teacher as a junior at Bellevue High School in 1963-4. He was right out of college and couldn’t have been more than 5-6 years older than us students. Great teacher, lots of enthusiasm and energy. I still remember a mock political convention that he organized that involved most all of the school. I guess the fact that it was a Republican convention shouldn’t be a surprise given that it was in Bellevue. Btw Barry Goldwater was the winner.

    I briefly met Kieth much later during my RE career and then a bit later got to know him much better as I sought him out for political advice and support. He was a great wonderful person and much missed by many.–Jim Avery

  2. The Clear Creek Trail received a grant that allowed us to build the Birkenfeld Bridge in the north valley and the Birkenfeld Boardwalk along the north side of the Ponds. Thank you Keith!

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