Blaine Police Department receives $20,000 donation

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The city of Blaine recently accepted a $20,000 gift from the Stroum Family Foundation which will be used toward additional training of Blaine Police Department (BPD) officers and staff.

At the January 27 city council meeting, Blaine city councilmembers voted 5-0 in favor of Ordinance 20-2942 amending the 2020 general fund police department budget with a donor-advised grant. The vote was essentially a vote to accept the $20,000 gift, which was made to the city of Blaine for unrestricted support for BPD.

The gift was made by the Stroum Family Foundation, which was started by the Seattle businessman and philanthropist Samuel J. Stroum, who passed away on March 9, 2001 at the age of 79 according to a Seattle Times obituary. After becoming a titan of industry in electronics and auto parts, Stroum gave away millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations, and helped raise millions more for causes ranging from the arts and education to healthcare and faith.

Stroum’s daughter, Cynthia, who once served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, is now helping to run the family foundation, and has been donating to police foundations among other organizations. Since there is no police foundation in the Blaine area, the donation to BPD was channeled through the Whatcom Community Foundation. “We’re very appreciative,” Blaine police chief Donnell Tanksley said at the city council meeting.

“This amendment formally recognizes the acceptance of the gift and supplements the 2020 general fund police department budget with the $20,000 donor grant,” city finance director Jeffrey Lazenby told councilmembers prior to the vote. “Thank you to the Stroum Family Foundation and the Whatcom Community Foundation.”

City manager Michael Jones said that the funds will help alleviate some reductions in the city’s annual budget. “You may recall that in our budget conversations earlier this year as we went through draft budgets, we reduced some of our budget in the area of training and to simply make the budget work,” Jones told councilmembers. “The police chief and I have had conversations that although this is an unrestricted donation, it would likely go toward additional police department training, so it’s really a bonus to kind of backfill some of what we didn’t have available when we were adopting the 2020 budget.”

Councilmember Alicia Rule also expressed her gratitude to the Stroum Family Foundation and the Whatcom Community Foundation. “What a wonderful gift,” she said at the meeting.

“Due to the fact that the funds are unrestricted, they will be used for training for both law enforcement and office personnel,” said a BPD spokesperson. “It will be used in an equitable fashion to enhance and ultimately assist us in continuing our positive community engagement.”

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