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From softball team to community nonprofit

Just Us Guys is celebrating becoming a official nonprofit group


Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Just Us Guys board members, from right, Christopher DeGroat, Michael Damiano, Bob Kleckner and Brent Timm could not be happier that their organization recently was given official nonprofit status. Just Us Guys started as a softball team. Over the years, it has grown to become much more.

Now, Just Us Guys has achieved its biggest accomplishment to date: It has been registered as a nonprofit witht he IRS.

“It’s everything for us,” said Christopher DeGroat one of a handful of softball players who helped found the organization in 2010. “It took us a year and a half, but now we’re completely tax exempt and able to accept tax deductible donation.”

It was a football bet made four years ago over the annual Oregon-Oregon State Civil War that put the Just Us Guys softball team on the path to becoming a nonprofit community group. The losers of the bet would have to panhandle for money for a local family in need at the I-5 off ramp on the south side of the Wilsonville Road interchange.

After raising more than $1,200 in just a few hours and attracting the attention of news stations, the men realized they had tapped into something special.

“Channel 6 shows up, Channel 12 shows up, it was chaos on that off-ramp but in a good way,” co-founder Brent Timm has said of the experience. “But the fire was lit then. And unbeknownst to us, we didn’t realize it was already out of our control. Whether we liked it or not, we had a choice. We could get on board and ride the wave that had been created or pull the plug. But there was too much good being done to pull the plug.”

In late 2012, Just Us Guys continued their work when they hosted a fundraiser at the headquarters of Wilsonville company Sol Republic. That effort wound up raising close to $15,000 for the family of Wilsonville boy Estevan Catalan, who died last year of a rare brain tumor. But it also served as a lesson in the importance of gaining official nonprofit status for the organization.

Now with that milestone behind them, Just Us Guys is ready to move forward and put their tagline “Making a Difference in Wilsonville” into action.

“So not only are we looking to throw this event at the end of the year,” Timm said. “We are open to venues and help with that end of things. There’s some good ideas in the works.”

There may be plenty of blanks left to fill, but the outline of the upcoming Just Us Guys winter fundraiser are already coming into focus. It will tentatively be planned for the weekend of either Dec. 6 or 13, to coincide as best as possible with this year’s Civil War football game in Corvallis.

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Just Us Guys looks to the community to guide its charitable endeavors.“We have some spectacular bands lined up, and this is going to be an evening event with meals and drinks,” DeGroat said.

They are looking for a suitable venue for the event, one which can host up to 300 guests as well as live music. But they also are looking to trim costs as much as possible, like any nonprofit.

“We’re trying to keep our costs down,” DeGroat said. “We don’t know all the facilities, but there’s a lot of industrial land in this community, and if somebody is willing to donate a location for the night, anything, really, the community can do to come behind us and help people in this town.”

And who, exactly, is the charity of Just Us Guys aimed at?

That’s up to the public, board members said. The process is simple. Visit the group’s website, justusguys.org, and visit the “Current Endeavors” section. There, it asks for the names of people in need. Timm and others admitted the concept is intentionally vague. But it allows for a wide range of requests.

“Our focus has gone to medical problems and deaths in the family in the past,” board member and founder Bob Kleckner said.

That’s likely will continue to be the case going forward, board members said, although it all depends on the requests that come in.

“Really, we’re looking for hardworking people who have been thrown a bad pitch in life,” Timm said.


By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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