Portland Philanthropist Joe Weston Receives Catholic Charities Highest Honor

Portland Philanthropist Joe Weston Receives Catholic Charities Highest Honor

Portland, OR. Real estate developer and philanthropist Joe Weston was honored with the Catholic Charities Single Candle Award. Standing in the photo above, are his son Joe, former wife Marilyn, and daughter Tiffany. (Andie Petkus/Catholic Charities)

The Portland philanthropist received the honor at a fundraising gala that raised more than $600,000 for some of the neediest Oregonians. Catholic Charities of Oregon is a provider of affordable housing and other services to families, migrants, refugees, and people who are homeless. The nonprofit awarded its highest honor on April 21st.

Here’s a video about Joe Weston:

At Catholic Charities of Oregon, Germaine’s Kitchen and Café, a workforce development program and hot meal site, contracts to send hot meals to local shelters and the agency’s women’s drop-in center.

In an acceptance speech, Joe Weston said philanthropy requires not only cash, but those who step forward to give time and talent. “If you have money but don’t have volunteers, you have nothing,” Weston told a crowd of more than 400 gathered at the Portland Art Museum. Weston grew up poor in Portland but saved money from a job at Franz Bakery to buy his first duplex in the 1950s while a student at Central Catholic High School. Now, he owns and manages buildings throughout the region, many of them apartments for working families of modest income.

A supporter of Catholic Charities and other good causes in the Portland area, Weston has announced that the bulk of his wealth will go into his foundation after he dies. His foundation already has given more than $200 million over the past three decades and after Weston’s death, it will have assets of about $3 billion for more good works. “He had nothing. He achieved enormous wealth, and he doesn’t want it for himself,” said George Passadore, a friend who serves as a trustee for the Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation.

Max Williams, past president and CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation, which manages the fund, said Weston’s philanthropy is linked to his Catholic values. “He lives the social Catholic mindset of giving back to the community and doing good to those who need it,” Williams explained. “He is pretty crusty but underneath that he has a heart of gold,” said Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith of the Archdiocese of Portland. “Catholic Charities of Oregon helps the poorest and the most vulnerable. This is what Joe is doing, too.” Marilyn Weston, the former wife who has remained a good friend, calls Weston a saint. “He is such a good man who worked so hard and rarely even let himself really enjoy life. But he gets joy from giving.”

His children, Tiffany and Jeff, love and admire him. Jeff said that though Weston was busy with work, he always had time for his children. Tiffany hopes she can pass his spirit of generosity to her child and stepchild. “The greatest impact my father had on me was teaching me to be of service to all others,” she said. “Joe Weston has a magnanimous heart,” said Msgr. Tim Murphy, the President Emeritus of Central Catholic High School who has known Weston since grade school at All Saints Parish. When Msgr. Murphy thinks of the hardworking Weston, a parable comes to mind. Jesus told the tale of workers in a vineyard, some of whom worked all day and others who showed up late in the afternoon, but who all received the same wage. “Joe would whisper in the Lord’s ear,” Msgr. Murphy said. “It’s OK. Give everybody the same.” Before the crowd honored Weston, they donated more than $600,000 to Catholic Charities, which now is focused on Oregon’s homelessness and housing crises, plus refugee resettlement.

Catholic Charities outreach workers go to camps in Portland to work with houseless people and begin a path to housing and self-sufficiency. The agency offers a drop-in center for homeless women. Catholic Charities is a major provider of transitional housing with services, a key step in helping people move from the streets to permanent housing. Catholic Charities also has developed and manages more than 800 units of affordable housing in western Oregon. “Housing is not a commodity. It is a basic human right that goes beyond physical shelter,” said Natalie M. Wood, executive director of Catholic Charities of Oregon. “While we continue to help by providing housing and the necessary wraparound services, we must come together to address the complex social challenges that keep far too many Oregonians from achieving the fullness of life God intended for them.” The crowd gave Wood an ovation for that comment.

Later, the crowd had a standing ovation to a Ukrainian refugee who escaped the war in her homeland and is building a life in Portland.

Olena Leshchynska,

Olena Leshchynska, Ukrainian Refugee

Catholic Charities has come alongside us during this terrifying journey,” said Olena Leshchynska, who sheltered with her teen daughter in a Kyiv basement when Russian bombs started pounding the city. “Catholic Charities has calmed our fears. And helped us to process, reorient, connect, and navigate this new reality. We have formed a community, learned English, and found work. Though we hurt, we feel hope.”

A team of local donors sponsored the Celebration of Hope gala to build up the work of Catholic Charities. Platinum sponsors were The Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; B.P., Lester and Regina John Foundation; PeaceHealth; Colleen and Werner Nistler and Touchmark; and Walsh Construction Company. Gold sponsors were Becker Capital Management; Chiles Foundation; First Republic Bank; Oregon Catholic Press; Pacific Seafood – in memory of Tom Dulcich; Jerry and Sandra Parsons; Providence Health and Services and John and Mary Anne Wagner. About Catholic Charities Since 1933, Catholic Charities in Oregon has been bringing hope, resources and advocacy to the poorest and most vulnerable throughout the state, regardless of faith, race or condition in life. The organization serves as the professional social service arm of the Archdiocese of Portland yet is funded completely through grants and donations. For more information call (503) 231-4866, or go to www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org. PHOTOS LESHCHYNSKA, OLENA Olena Leshchynska, a refugee from Ukraine, speaks April 21 at the Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope gala in Portland. (Andie Petkus/Catholic Charities) WESTON AND FAMILY Real estate developer and philanthropist Joe Weston, seated, holds the Catholic Charities Single Candle Award April 21 backed by his family: son Joe, former wife Marilyn and daughter Tiffany. (Andie Petkus/Catholic Charities) VIDEOS Celebration of Hope 2023: https://youtu.be/4dlsCVviUbw Joe Weston, Single Candle Award: https://youtu.be/tMBgPSKZ29c Olena’s Refugee Story: https://youtu.be/kL4D51mylso Catholic Charities: https://youtu.be/9JXkr8efLzM

Black, White & Bubbles Gala Benefits Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp

Black, White & Bubbles Gala Benefits Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp

Portland, OR. Over 220 guests came together at the Oregon Golf Club to celebrate Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp’s 38th Annual Auction and Gala. It was the first fully “in-person” gala since 2019. Above, Donor, Karen Anderson raised her paddle in support of MHKC. The benefit on April 14th, raised $225,000 to support Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp, a local nonprofit providing equitable access to outdoor recreation for individuals with developmental disabilities. Attendees were treated to tray-passed bubbles from the Stoller Wine Group while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and listening to music from MHKC’s very own, Staff Infection Band. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)

Featured Camper, Harrison Halstead with parents, Chip and Kristi

Longtime MHKC supporters, Wendy Anderson & Gary Pope

Executive Director, Dave McDonald and KGW News Channel 8 Reporter & Emcee, Art Edwards

Executive Director, Dave McDonald and KGW News Channel 8 Reporter & Emcee, Art Edwards

Auctioneer, Dale Johannes working his magic!

Auctioneer, Dale Johannes working his magic

About Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp:

There are few places where individuals with disabilities can spend a week joyfully focusing on their abilities. For over 85 years, Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp (MHKC) has offered incredible outdoor recreational programming for campers with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities at its fully accessible 22-acre campsite in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

On any given summer day, our campers are catching fish, conquering their fear on the adventure course and zipline, splashing at the pool, riding a horse for the first time, whitewater rafting, paddling a canoe on Trillium Lake, and dancing the night away at campfire. Wheelchair accessible trails and innovations such as adaptive saddles, harnesses, and bicycles make the traditional camp experience available to all. Camp doesn’t just offer outdoor activities, it offers a chance for people with disabilities to make new friends and build community in a friendly, non-judgmental environment where they can feel empowered and included.

Each year, MHKC offers 8 weeks of Main Camp, where campers enjoy a one-to-one camper-counselor ratio with the option for outgroup adventures, including Trip & Travel, Tent & Travel, and Lakeside Camp where campers pitch tents on Trillium Lake, paddle canoes, go whitewater rafting and more. June brings the opportunity for new campers to experience MHKC through Family Camp, while experienced campers can come back to Camp in the snow through two weekend winter retreats.

As camper Renae told us: “At Camp, I can fly!”

Brilliance Benefit for Edison High School Raises Over $326,00.

Brilliance Benefit for Edison High School Raises Over $326,00.

Portland, OR. Each year, Edison High School hosts the Brilliance Benefit, an evening of friendship, food, and fundraising. This year, attendees enjoyed cocktails, dinner, a live auction, and a casino night after-party. The Brilliance Benefit on March 11th, raised over $326,00. Above, Edison Principal Dan Keller is joined by his wife, Emily, and proud Edison parents Laurine and Alfredo Apolloni. (Photo credit, Tom Cook)

Longtime Edison teacher Maureen Manning is joined by beaming Edison parents Kathleen and David Hapeman

Longtime Edison teacher Maureen Manning is joined by beaming Edison parents Kathleen and David Hapeman

Edison President Mike Schwab and Board Vice Chair Pat Becker, Jr. are joined bu supportes Dr. Don V. Romanaggi and his wife Sally Romanaggi.

Edison President Mike Schwab and Board Vice Chair Pat Becker, Jr. are joined by support Dr. Don V. Romanaggi and his wife Sally Romanaggi.

The Hotchkiss family beams after Quincy Hotckiss '23 bravely shared his story and the difference Edison made in his life.

The Hotchkiss family beams after Quincy Hotckiss ’23 bravely shared his story and the difference Edison made in his life.

Edison President Mike Schwab celebrates with supporter Max Williams.

About Edison High School:

Edison High School empowers students with learning differences to experience academic success and personal growth while preparing them for the future. We are guided by a set of Core Values. Edison is student-centered and characterized by attunement, collaboration, dedication, accessibility, and organization; our students become future-ready. We have a very low student:teacher ratio, an excellent student support program, a unique educational approach and methodologies specific to students with learning differences. Learn more on our General Information tab!

Student Profile

Edison High School is open to students who have learning differences such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Visual Perception and Nonverbal Learning Disorders. Students are referred by parents, schools, counselors, tutors and medical professionals. Each student and family is interviewed prior to admission and evaluated by staff to ensure a good fit. We have a close-knit community, a welcoming and safe environment and vibrant student life.

The History of Edison High School

Our school was founded in 1973 as the Tree of Learning. For many years, students were taught in portable classrooms on the Jesuit High School campus. In 1992, we moved into a brand-new building of our own, changing our school’s name to Thomas A. Edison High School in honor of the famed American inventor who had a learning difference. In 2014, we streamlined the school’s name to Edison High School. Students also take classes in a satellite building in the Valley Plaza next door.

Edison High School is accredited through AdvancED (formerly Northwest Association of Accredited Schools).

American Heart Association’s 2023 Benefit Raises Record $1 Million

American Heart Association’s 2023 Benefit Raises Record $1 Million

Portland, OR. The American Heart Association’s 2023 Heart Ball at the Hyatt Regency brought together hundreds of people and raised a record $1,026,607. Funds raised will support the work of the American Heart Association Heart of Oregon & SW Washington to fight heart disease and stroke with a specific focus on addressing high blood pressure, CPR education, nutrition security, tobacco, and the youth vaping crisis.

merican Heart Association’s 2023 Heart of Oregon & SW Washington Heart Ball

One in four Oregon residents is diagnosed with hypertension, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and stroke. “Whether it’s teaching CPR in the community, providing education and awareness of heart disease or funding research for treatments, the American Heart Association is devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease. I am delighted to support this cause and celebrate the achievements of the Heart of Oregon & SW Washington campaign,” said Mason Evans, President & CEO, JH Kelly.

The Heart Ball was a culmination of the Heart of Oregon & SW Washington, a year-round campaign focused on engaging community leaders in making a significant impact on health equity and the mission of the American Heart Association. The ball marks a moment to reflect, honor and celebrate the progress made toward equitable health through the determination, dedication, and passion of all community members who support the campaign. A highlight of the evening featured the story of 8-year-old Will Rasay, a heart hero. Will is thriving today because of the research funded by the American Heart Association. Will and his family were special guests of honor.

These members of the Executive Leadership Team gave their time and resources to help make an extraordinary impact in saving lives: Mason Evans, JH Kelly president and CEO; Brian Johnston, Dallas Glass CEO; Travis Baker, Andersen Construction president and COO; Shon DeVries, Propel Insurance sales executive; Tom Larkin, Sokol Larkin partner; Nima Darabi, Hoffman Construction vice president; Tim Loy, Mallory Safety & Supply president; Eric Grasberger, Stoel Rives member; Josh Condon, Howard S Wright project executive; Cynthia Cameron, HUB International employee benefits vice president; Julian Allen, McKinstry Oregon construction business development; Steve Fein, Moss Adams regional managing partner.

“The Heart of Oregon & SW Washington campaign is one of the American Heart Association’s largest generators of funds for research and education about cardiovascular disease and stroke. The success of Heart Ball ensures that tremendous breakthroughs continue to happen,” said Nick Brodnicki, American Heart Association executive director for Oregon and southwest Washington. “Thank you to all of our advocates, volunteers and sponsors for championing equitable health and bold solutions for a world of longer, healthier lives in Oregon and southwest Washington.”

The Heart of Oregon & SW Washington campaign and the Heart Ball support the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, which aims to reduce barriers to healthcare access and quality. The American Heart Association is the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all. For more information on how to support the Association visit heart.org/oregon. The Heart of Oregon & SW Washington Heart Ball was sponsored by JH Kelly, Hoffman Construction Company, OHSU Health, UA290/PMCA. A full list of sponsors can be seen at pdxheartball.heart.org.

About the American Heart Association:

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us onheart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

Friends of Tryon Creek State Park Host Indigenous Culture Day

Friends of Tryon Creek State Park Host Indigenous Culture Day

Portland, OR. The fifth annual Indigenous Culture Day on May 6th drew a crowd. Friends of Tryon Creek hosted the free event to help bring its Tryon Land Acknowledgement to life. The event is a celebration of the reclamation of traditional lands for Indigenous Peoples that provides an accurate cultural experience for the whole community. The free, all-ages event offered the chance to listen and learn from Indigenous educators in the culturally rich land now known as Tryon Creek State Natural Area.

The event has gained popularity over its five-year history.

Visitors were able to take visit the Nature Center classroom and walk the trails to see first-hand the traditional life ways of Northwest Tribes. Indigenous leaders and educators shared cordage making, carving, basketry, first foods, and storytelling.

From Friends of Tryon Creek:

This is  Tryon Land Acknowledgement Welcome to the land now known as Tryon Creek State Natural Area, a 665-acre day-use area located between SW Portland’s metropolitan area and the city of Lake Oswego.

It is important to ground ourselves and acknowledge the people whose land we are utilizing; the Clackamas Chinook, the Wasco-Wishram, the Willamette Tumwater, the Multnomah, and other Chinookan peoples, as well as the Tualatin Kalapuya, the Cayuse, the Molalla and other tribes and bands of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. It is important to acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land now known as Tryon Creek State Natural Area, and to recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices that were forced upon them. We also remember that we are guests of this land and must do our best to honor the original peoples, through authentic cultural narratives and continued stewardship of the water, the land, and the plants that make up this forest community. To follow acknowledgment with action, Friends of Tryon Creek use our resources to prioritize partnerships with Indigenous tribes, tribal governments, and inter-tribal organizations