First Story would not be where it is today without the passion and dedication of founder Hayden Watson. Robert and Virginia Watson, founders of Hayden Homes, taught their son the importance of building a successful home building company and about the spirit of generosity. Virginia believed we should live in a world where we give more than we get and that philosophy became the inspiration behind First Story.
In 1998, as a way to honor his father and mother, Hayden started First Story. The non-profit began by giving direct donations to charitable causes in towns and cities across the Pacific Northwest. But, Hayden’s vision was bigger than that, and in 2002 First Story collaborated with Hayden Homes to build the very first grant house.
Today, First Story addresses the affordable housing crisis with an integrated approach that gives individuals a hand up to homeownership while encouraging inclusivity. The nonprofit collaborates with builder Hayden Homes to construct homes in their communities which are then sold through First Story's loan program. This unique approach, that avoids segregated housing, provides move-in ready homes to qualified applicants who are at or below 80% area median income.
For over 20 years, the nonprofit has supported other community partners through its giving grant program. To date nearly 700 charities who are providing shelter, food and advocacy services to families in crisis have received over $1.6M from First Story.
First Story's mission is to promote giving and inspire communities through the creation of
homeownership opportunities and financial support.
Our vision is to change lives.
Caleb Anderson, President - Broker, Cascade Sotheby's International Realty
Hayden Watson, Founder - President, Watson Companies
Alicia Moore, Secretary - Vice President for Student Affairs, COCC
George Slape - Retired, Former Owner of Western Title
Dennis Murphy - CEO, Hayden Homes
Scott Knox - President, Madrone Construction
Tim Knopp - Oregon State Senator and Executive Vice President, COBA
Stephanie Alvstad - Executive Director, J Bar J Youth Services
Claire Duncan - Executive Director, First Story