The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

Portland, OR. Learning at home with a laptop is likely to become “de rigueur.” The French American International School (FAIS), which recently raised over $200,000 at its virtual fundraising event, will be starting the school year with a comprehensive distance learning model. 

According to Shawna Foster, Director of Development at FAIS, the distance learning model will prioritize goals such as: Supporting the FAIS mission of cultivating intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences; fostering a learning experience of connection and interpersonal relationships where people feel safe, seen, and valued; enhancing predictability for students, families, and teachers by using consistent timeframes, platforms, and tools; optimizing teacher instruction and interaction time with students while respecting the developmental needs and sustainable patterns for teachers and families; and designing schedules and instruction times around the well-being of students.

“None of this would be possible without our wonderful teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide stability and continuity for our students and develop meaningful learning experiences,” Foster said. 

In addition to planning for distance learning, FAIS has also prepared schedules and student cohorts to transition to a hybrid or on-campus learning model. For those interested in exploring educational opportunities for their children at FAIS, you can visit the Virtual Admissions Center to watch a virtual open-house recording, browse a photo tour of the campus and schedule a one on one Zoom meeting with the admissions team. 

FAIS held a Virtual Community Gathering on May 29th to raise funds for the FAIS community. 

“Last spring, FAIS friends and family came together to celebrate our student art and raise important funds to support our community during this time of financial uncertainty,” Foster said. “The FAIS Virtual Community Gathering, which replaced the annual gala due to COVID-19, drew over 180 families to participate and support the school. This community event was an opportunity to join together in a spirit of celebration and appreciation for the French American International School.” 

French American International School Virtual Community Gathering fundraiser

In the week leading up to the event, families drove through campus to see all of the student art projects from the comfort of their car at a Drive-Thru Art Gallery. 

“This was a celebration of the hard work that all of our students put into the art projects throughout the year, and was a wonderful reminder of what we can create together,” Foster said. 

The virtual event was hosted by Johnna Wells of Benefit Auction 360. Families bid on art projects, entered the raffle to win a designated parking spot on FAIS campus, and gave generously during the moment of giving. The event raised over $200,000 for FAIS.

About the French American International School: 

The French American International School cultivates intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences. Whether students join our community in preschool, kindergarten, or middle school, our goal is the same. By the time students graduate from FAIS, they will have established a foundation of lifelong skills to prepare them for high school and to succeed in a global, interconnected world. 

Bridge Meadows Intergenerational Communities Change Gears

Bridge Meadows Intergenerational Communities Change Gears

Portland, OR. The Bridge Meadows model is an intergenerational neighborhood where adoptive families of youth formerly in foster care bond with their older neighbors. The nonprofit has had to dramatically alter its operations due to the pandemic. “In our community, it’s about one-third elders—adults over 55 is how we define that—and then families who have adopted kids out of foster care,” Director of Communications Lindsay Magnuson explains. “The way everything is built is so people can connect, and that means being in person, face to face, doing things in the courtyard. And so [Covid-19] has kind of ripped away this way of connecting that has been so essential for people in our communities, and so we’ve had to pivot and figure out: how do we maintain that feeling of intimacy and connectedness without the physical proximity?” 

Several of the Bridge Meadows elders in North Portland started busily sewing masks to support local health care workers.

Bridge Meadows will be hosting its annual fall auction and gala, IMAGINE, on September 17th. The event will be hosted—as in previous years—by KGW anchor Drew Carney and Benefit Auction 360’s Johnna Wells. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually. 

“We are aiming to do a very interesting, dynamic and short program,” said Bridge Meadows Director of Communications Lindsay Magnuson. “We really want it to be valuable because the event usually has this community reunion feel, and so we wanted to kind of try to replicate that as much as possible.” 

“Though our event will be held online this year, we are excited to celebrate the resilience and power of intergenerational community with you in new ways. Hear stories from the community about the impact the Bridge Meadows Model has on the lives of children who have experienced foster care and how you can help us bring this solution to more communities.” 

Bridge Meadows lawn prior to the pandemic.

Many of Bridge Meadows programs, such as check-ins with its members and therapeutic groups, have been adapted into virtual programs, and members have been hard at work figuring out how to help older members who are uncomfortable with newer technology and parents who are adjusting to homeschooling. 

According to Lindsay, “We’ve also been brainstorming with the community about how—now that we kind of know a little bit more about how [Covid-19] is spread—figuring out how to safely connect in person with [social distancing].” 

On top of the upcoming IMAGINE gala, Bridge Meadows has also been hosting virtual roundtables, where community members, partners, champions and donors get together to check in with one another and host Q&A sessions. 

For those interested in supporting Bridge Meadows, Lindsay recommended signing up for their newsletter, attending their virtual events, and making financial contributions. 

While the pandemic has created many challenges for Bridge Meadows, Lindsay noted that there has been some benefits: “I think that this experience has really made us become more comfortable with how you diversify your methods of maintaining community. We have learned how to do that very quickly, and we’re still learning,” Lindsay said. 

About Bridge Meadows: 

Bridge Meadows develops and sustains intergenerational neighborhoods for adoptive families of youth formerly in foster care that promote permanency, community and caring relationships while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults.


Socially-Distanced Queen’s Coronation a First for Rose Festival

Socially-Distanced Queen’s Coronation a First for Rose Festival

Portland, OR. Lincoln High school senior Anya Anand was elected 2020 Queen of Rosaria on July 30th, Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a special, socially-distanced Queen’s Coronation was held at the Queen’s Walk in the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park. 

Traditionally, the Queen’s Coronation is an event that gathers a large ensemble of community volunteers who determine the year’s Queen; however, under this year’s unique circumstances, in the interest of keeping the event small, the Rose Festival had the Rose Princess’s vote to elect one of their peers to the Queendom—making it the just second time in the Rose Festival’s 112-year history that the Court elected their own Queen.

Asked what it was like to be the first Queen elected by the court since 1930, Anand said, “It’s an incredible experience […] it just means a lot that so many of my fellow Rose Court sisters believe in me so much and gave me the honor of being Queen.” 

As Queen, Anand is awarded a college scholarship provided by the Randall Group. Anand plans to attend the University of California at Davis to study psychology; from there, she plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. According to a press release, “[Anand] was very active at Lincoln: as a volunteer Co-President of the Associated Student Body and Asian Student Union, as well as Co-Chair of the Multnomah Youth Commission Committee. [Anand] has been passionate about education from an early age and is president of REAL (or Rural Education and Literacy), in India.”

Many who attended the event socially distanced themselves and wore masks, including the Princess’s and the Royal Rosarians, who wore intricate red masks as a part of their traditional Rose Festival garb. 

Rose Princesses at the Queen’s Walk in the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park.

Speaking of some of the differences of this year’s Rose Festival, Anand said, “First of all, I know half of the Princesses didn’t get their in-person announcement. Some of them were announced over Zoom, and we all met for the first time over Zoom.” 

Anand said meeting the other Princesses in person for the first time was her favorite moments of the season so far, ”It was such a different experience to meet them in person because you could feel all of the energy—and you can feel it over Zoom, but it’s a totally different feeling when you’re all together: you’re all looking at each other’s outfits, dressing up, getting ready together. I love all of these women with my entire heart.” 

Many at the event spoke of the inspirational resilience of this year’s Court, and commended their fortitude in the face of many obstacles that made this year’s Rose Festival one of the most unique in its extensive history. 

“The inspiration that is this Court and Queen Mya [2019 Rose Festival Queen] is a lesson to us all,” said Royal Rosarian Prime Minister Kimberly Brown, “their optimism and resilience and attitude has been so mature. It’s been inspiring to watch them overcome those hurdles that came up.” 

At the laying of the Queen’s plaque along the Queen’s Walk, Anand had each of the Rose Princesses press their thumbs into the cement surrounding the plaque, a tradition started by 2019’s Queen Mya Brazile.

2020 Rose Festival Queen Anya Anand and Royal Rosarian Prime Minister Kimberly Brown getting ready to lay the Queen’s plaque along the Queen’s Walk.

“Just like Queen Mya did last year, I would like to invite my Rose sisters to place their thumbs in my plaque, because we did this together,” Anand said, “this year has been very tough, but we all made it together, and I love you all and I would love to share this moment with all of you.” 

In the end, despite the hurdles of the pandemic, the official Rose Festival crown—worn by every Queen since 1922—was ceremoniously placed upon Anand’s head. 

“I’m looking forward to representing my city and the Rose Festival,” Anand said, “I think it’s really important, especially because the Rose Festival has been around for so many years, and it’s another way to instill that tradition and sense of normalcy in such a changing and evolving time.”

About the Rose Festival Court: 

“The mission of the Rose Festival Court program presented by Unitus Community Credit Union, is to provide scholarships courtesy The Randall Group for higher education, to promote community outreach and volunteerism, and to offer networking and mentoring opportunities to outstanding young women in a program that perpetuates an appreciation for Rose Festival history and tradition.”

About the Rose Festival: 

Part of Portland’s popular culture for more than a century, the Rose Festival has its roots in tradition while its programming is both contemporary and nostalgic. Foresighted city leaders started the festival during the first decade of the 20th Century in order to put Portland on the map and brand it the ‘summer capital of the world.’ Little did they know that more than a hundred summers later the Rose Festival would be world famous for its amazing, award-winning events, as well as serving as a community leader for celebrating values like volunteerism, patriotism and environmentalism. In 2010, the Rose Festival was finally acknowledged as Portland’s Official Festival by proclamation of the Council.

With dozens of events spotlighting the diverse interests and culture of the community, the Rose Festival makes a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of lives annually, bringing smiles to the faces of both locals and guests. Peruse this website to learn more about the festival’s three popular parades, its three-weekend urban fair packed with great entertainment, good food and fantastic features, and about the iconic Court made up of local high school women making goodwill visits all around the state. The Rose Festival makes Portland a better place to live and visit.

Architectural Heritage Center to Reopen With New Exhibit: “Darcelle XV at Home”

Architectural Heritage Center to Reopen With New Exhibit: “Darcelle XV at Home”

Portland, OR. The Architectural Heritage Center will be reopening on July 24th with an new exhibit called, “Darcelle XV at Home.”

Many Portlander’s know Darcelle XV as the beloved “world’s oldest working drag queen,” who has been a staple of the Portland LGBTQ+ and nightlife scene for five decades. But what many may not know about Walter Cole—Darcelle XV when he is in drag—is that he lives in the historic “Elmer and Linnie Miller” Residence in Northeast Portland. The home was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Walter Cole in his home, the Elmer and Linnie Miller Residence.

The new exhibit will feature the work of Portland photographer Tom Cook, and showcases Darcelle XV in the historic residence. 

According to a press release: “Cook’s portrait series captures the unique character of the 1896 Queen Anne style house and its longtime owner, Walter Cole, best known as the female impersonator and performer Darcelle XV. The home’s décor has taken on the lavish style of Darcelle XV while still maintaining its original layout and details. Among the house’s features are stained glass windows created by Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan, glass artists, work and life partners, and founders of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, under which the Architectural Heritage Center operates.”

On top of being an example of historic architecture, the home has been a gathering place for political activists and gay rights events over the years. The residence also shows the indelible mark that Darcelle has left on the home. 

Elmer and Linnie Miller House, Portland, Oregon.

The exhibit will be open to Architectural Heritage Members July 24–25, and will open to the public after that on Thursdays–Sunday’s from 11am–5pm. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, safety protocols will be in place for those who visit the exhibit, and masks will be required. 

“My home is overdone, over-decorated and over jeweled, just like Darcelle, but it reflects me,” Cole recently told The Oregonian. “If someone gave me a framed photo, I wouldn’t have one spot on the wall to hang it.”

Darcelle XV sitting in the Elmer and Linnie Miller Residence.

Also on exhibit at the Architectural Heritage Center is “East Portland: A Changing Landscape, A Forgotten City,” which focuses on East Portland in the 1840’s–1910’s. 

About the Architectural Heritage Center: 

Owned and operated by the non-profit Bosco-Milligan Foundation, we empower people in the Portland region to preserve both landmark buildings and the regular “vernacular” vintage homes and storefronts that collectively define our neighborhoods, traditional downtowns, culture, history, and quality of life.

Latino Network Faces Increasing Need as it Gears Up for Annual Gala

Latino Network Faces Increasing Need as it Gears Up for Annual Gala

Portland, OR. The Latino Network is gearing up for its big annual gala, Noche Bella (Beautiful Night), which is set to take place on Sept. 25th at 7:00 p.m. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually. The picture seen above was taken at an event prior to the pandemic. 

“We’re really excited to virtualize everything,” said Latino Network Communication Manager Martina Bialek. “We have an auction, and our auction items are coming through, and we’re just really trying to get people excited to attend, whether it is from the comfort of their homes or elsewhere.” 

Normally, the event draws around 600 people and raises approximately $400,000 for the organization to fund programs, operations and administrative work, according to Bialek. 

The pandemic has forced the Latino Network to alter many of its regular operations; however, the organization has been busy offering as much support as possible to the communities it serves. Everything shifted to virtual operations on March 13th, and since then, school coordinators have found innovative ways to continue to offer the education and support that the organization regularly provides to students and families. 

“We’re basically an education focused non-profit, so, just from the sense of our programming, we’ve had to absolutely change everything, from the way that we interact with our students to how we show up for families who are in need right now,” Bialek said. 

Latino Network program participants at a pre-pandemic event

One innovative way the organization has adapted its communications is through Facebook groups. “We created Facebook groups and invited parents and started doing Facebook Live nighttime reading for students,” Bialek said. 

In terms of community assistance, the Latino Network has been working on the Covid-19 Response Team, which provides economic assistance to families, and also helps get them on the referral list for the Oregon Worker Relief Fund. 

Through this program, the Latino Network has been able to help families cover their basic needs, such as food, utilities and rent. 

Latino Network staff and program participants hosting standing food drive

“It has been a little challenging because we’ve reached the $10 million mark through the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, and we’re waiting for the second installment to come, which means that through that window, we’re not getting any new applications,” Bialek said. 

Until the Latino Network is able to secure the additional funds from the state, the organization is keeping busy connecting families to any type of utility assistance they can get based on their circumstances. 

“Being a nonprofit, it’s like we’re pulling money from all of our unrestricted funds, and all of our fundraising money, and we’re just putting it all towards helping the families,” Bialek said. “But we’ve reached a point where that’s just not a possibility at this point. So we’re getting other utilities involved and we’re really making sure that they can offer any type of assistance that they can to our families.” 

Bialek applauded the work of the staff at the Latino Network through this time, saying, “They’ve just been going above and beyond to really put families at the forefront of everything.” 

Throughout the pandemic, the Latino Network has also had many opportunities to work with other organizations: “Being able to work with other like minded community based organizations has been wonderful because we’ve been able to really tagteam all of our needs, and we were able to really expand on them,” Bialek said. “For example, we’ve been working really closely with the ACLU of Oregon, and we’ve really been able to create a partnership that is definitely going to last for years to come.” 

Bialek said that those interested in supporting the Latino Network can make a donation or elevate the work being done by the organization. 

“I feel like there is a big wave of change in the country, and the fact that our Black hermanos and hermanas are able to elevate their needs and are able to fight for what they need is wonderful,” Bialek said. 

“We’re no strangers to police brutality either, we’re no strangers to racial targeting, we’re no strangers to discrimination or racism, and on top of that we have a pandemic that has completely devastated our community in ways that we’re only scratching the surface of right now. So any visibility we can get, any support we can get helps, whether it’s economic or just sharing something on Twitter—just making sure that our struggle is seen and heard.”

About the Latino Network: 

Latino Network was founded in 1996 by community leaders who grew concerned about the lack of adequate resources to meet the needs of the growing Latino community. Since that time, we have evolved to become an organization that also encompasses transformational programs aimed at educating and empowering Multnomah County Latinos. Low achievement scores, youth violence and high drop out rates undermine the Latino community’s potential. We address these issues by promoting early literacy, encouraging parent involvement, working with gang-involved and adjudicated youth and families, and providing academic support and activities to high school aged youth. We also build leadership capacity for youth and adults.