a collaboration founded on giving

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 through an integrated approach that focuses on giving 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 quality, move-in ready homes to qualified applicants at or below 80% area median income. First Story also gives to other charitable causes throughout the Northwest. For the past 20 years, the nonprofit has been helping make communities stronger by donating over 1.3M to important local organizations dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations. Nearly 700 charities who are providing shelter, food, emergency relief and services to families in crisis, homeless teens and veterans have received a grant from First Story.

mission & vision

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.

Board of directors

Angela Price, President  - Retired, Former Executive of Pacific Power
Hayden Watson, Founder - President, Watson Companies
Caleb Anderson, Treasurer - Broker, Cascade Sotheby's International Realty
George Slape - Retired, Former Owner of Western Title
Dennis Murphy - CEO, Hayden Homes
Scott Knox - President, Madrone Construction
Jason Conger - Attorney, Lynch, Cosnger, McLane
Tim Knopp - Oregon State Senator and Executive Vice President, COBA
Stephanie Alvstad - Executive Director, J Bar J Youth Services
Alicia Moore - Vice President for Student Affairs, Central Oregon Community College
Claire Duncan - Executive Director, First Story

"Being on the Board of First Story is one of the most rewarding experiences I have personally ever had. …this non-profit has given me and all our donors a real solution for making a difference for real people."

Angela Price, Board President