Portland, OR. An annual fundraiser called “Impact Oregon’s Future” raised a record $270,000 for the Children’s Institute. Marta and Ken Thasher (above) celebrated Ken receiving the Children’s Institute’s 2020 Alexander Award for his long-standing passion is to make a difference for children and families in Oregon.

The virtual event, held on October 20th, was emceed by CI’s Senior Early Education Advisor Soobin Oh. It highlighted the nonprofit’s work across Oregon to increase access to critical early childhood programs including preschool, home visiting, child care, and many other services. The virtual benefit included recorded messages from VIP supporters.

Jordan Schnitzer toasts Ken Thrasher on receiving the 2020 Alexander Award.

Governor Kate Brown congratulates Ken Thrasher on receiving the 2020 Alexander Award.

Cindy and Duncan Campbell stepped up as presenting sponsors for the 2020 Impact Oregon’s Future event. Duncan founded Children’s Institute over 16 years ago and served on the board for many years.

Children’s Institute CEO and President Swati Adarkar reflects on the nonprofit’s achievements.

Swati Adarkar commented, “It’s really incredible to witness the growth of the movement to support Oregon’s children. Strategic investment in our youngest Oregonians is a sure way to impact our state now and into the future. We’re pleased and grateful that so many people, parents, leaders, and community partners see the value of the work we do and have donated critical resources to fuel our work forward.” Swati Adarkar explained why the nonprofit is grateful. “Every dollar helps us continue the work we’ve been doing for more than sixteen years, connecting young children across Oregon to vital programs and services that support their healthy development and early school success.” The Children’s Institute honored Ken Thrasher with the Alexander Award at the event.

The award was named for Richard C. “Dick” Alexander, one of Oregon’s foremost business and civic leaders, who was committed to improving the lives of Oregon children with a focus on early childhood.

“Ken truly embodies the spirit of the Alexander Award,” Adarkar said. “His commitment to children and families has been exemplary and he has had an extraordinary imprint on advancing Oregon’s early childhood agenda. Ken’s deep, long-standing passion is to make a big difference for children and families in Oregon, and he has. I was thrilled to celebrate him.”

Others who added their gratitude and thanks for Ken’s service and commitment to Oregon’s children during the event included Governor Kate Brown; Martha Richards, Executive Director of the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation; philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer; and Beaverton School District Superintendent Don Grotting.

From Children’s Institute:

Founded in 2003 by a group of business and philanthropic leaders, the Children’s Institute brings Oregonians together to support the early learning and healthy development of young children, prenatal to eight years old.

We believe in starting early because investments in young children’s education, health, and safety are proven to improve lifetime outcomes for children who experience barriers to opportunity due to poverty, race, disability, and/or geographic location.

Through advocacy, research, policy, and practice, Children’s Institute works to ensure that young children have the programs and services they need to nurture their love of learning and prepare them for success in school and beyond.

Join us to make sure every child in Oregon has the best start in life.