Charity Spotlight: Paul Carlson

by | Jul 16, 2018 | Charity Spotlight

True, Noble, Right – The Canby Dahlia Run

In the small town of Canby, Oregon there is a beauty that is not found anywhere else in the country. Each August through September, over 30 acres of dahlias come into full bloom. The blooming dahlias also serve as a glorious backdrop to one of the most scenic races in the Northwest and charitable event that has raised over $120,000 for local area children’s charities.

In 2011, Paul Carlson, Board Member for the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce and past city councilman, and Amy Wood, an active community worship leader, were led by their deep faith to find a way to help sustain several local charities.  Their mission, raise money for the comfort and protection of youth, from the unborn through adulthood. As the dahlias bloomed, so did their idea for the Canby Dahlia Run.

“What is more beautiful, pure, and lovely than dahlias and children? Our small town is home to Swan Island Dahlias, which happens to be the largest grower of dahlias in the country,” explained Paul. “We saw an opportunity to marry the celebration of the blooming dahlias with a way to raise money for noble charities committed to serving and protecting our youth.”

Today, the Canby Dahlia Run attracts hundreds of runners each year. Entirely staffed by volunteers, including Paul’s wife Stefani and their children, 100% of the run’s proceeds go to charity. Beneficiaries of the race include admirable charities such as Operation Snuggle, Sky View Horse Ranch, Hope 360 Pregnancy Clinic, Sparks of Hope and Wilderness International.

“We look for charities who serve to protect children,” stated Paul. “Sparks of Hope has purchased several German Shepherds who are trained as therapy dogs to accompany children who have been sexually abused and have to face their abusers in court. This is an example of how our annual run is benefiting children.”

The Canby Dahlia Run is one of several events in what has come to be known as Canby’s Big Weekend. Canby’s Big Weekend occurs the last weekend in August every year. This year, the Canby Dalia Run is on Saturday, August 25th at 7:00 AM. Runners have the option of a 10K or half marathon; however, the half marathoners get to experience the splendor of the dahlias as the course traverses through the Swan Island Dahlia Farm. All runners are guaranteed a Dri-fit t-shirt, medal, and a dahlia upon crossing the finish line.

Beyond his community and charitable work, Paul has let his faith guide him in business too. In 2015, after serving as a financial advisor for over fifteen years with other employers, Paul founded 4:8 Financial. The firm focuses on providing independent wealth management services and financial consulting to the residents of Canby, unbiased from corporate influences. Amy has since happily joined the firm as an employee too.

For Paul and his wife, Stefani, the bible verse Philippians 4:8 continues to guide them in work, family, and life.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

To learn more about the Canby Dahlia Run, the charities the run benefits, to register, or to volunteer visit:

To learn more about Paul Carlson and 4:8 Financial visit: