STARS receives multi-year grant


Last updated 11/14/2023 at 12:29pm

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STARS volunteers get people in Sisters to medical appointments. Among the volunteers are John Finley (driving), Tom Gonsiewski, Gayle Sawyer, and Rennie Morrell.

Sisters Transportation and Ride Share (STARS) has received a $30,000, three-year general operations grant from Roundhouse Foundation, supporting nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) for Sisters Country residents. Roundhouse said the multi-year grant was awarded to acknowledge the great work STARS does in the community, and to provide sustainable support in the coming years.

Rennie Morrell, STARS Program Manager, said, "Roundhouse has always believed in STARS and has provided us generous support over the last three years. This new grant will be a cornerstone for keeping STARS successful over the next three years and is very encouraging to the dedicated STARS volunteers."

It is an important moment as STARS begins its transition to an independent nonprofit organization. After operating under the Age Friendly Sisters Country (AFSC) umbrella for four years, STARS is taking this logical next step and Roundhouse Foundation support will enable the mission to continue and thrive.

In 2018, the necessity for better transportation from Sisters to Bend and Redmond was identified in a community endeavor sponsored by Citizens4Community and Senior Alliance, which ultimately became AFSC, with the mission to be an incubator for ideas. Operating as an AFSC Action Team, STARS volunteers have built an essential NEMT service for Sisters Country residents. Operationally sound and highly regarded throughout Central Oregon, STARS has become a flagship model for startup organizations and for other communities looking to address medical transportation challenges.

The need for STARS is not in question. Sisters is a rural community so a round-trip medical ride for specialty care to Bend or Redmond ranges between 50 and 100 miles. Public transit services are not an option for many STARS passengers who have medical challenges that cannot be accommodated by public transport. Since launching on March 1, 2020, STARS volunteers have provided over 1,200 free round-trip rides and driven over 55,000 miles. Volunteers have made STARS successful because they see the need firsthand every single day.

The Roundhouse Found-ation is dedicated to supporting programs like STARS that inspire creativity, connect people with each other and their sense of place, and ensure sustainability for the long-term economic success of Oregon's rural communities. Learn more at


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