Portland, OR. Portland Rose Festival Foundation has elected Dave Todd (pictured with his grandson, Henry) as the new president for a two-year term. Todd is a retired Navy Captain (Reserve) and recently retired from a 33-year career as a university-level teacher. Todd plans on leading a group of board members into the new year of 2021 with the theme “Hope Reigns” for the Portland Rose Festival.
Todd shared his thoughts on the transition into the new year, “All of us feel a sense of loss as we look back on the year that spun out of control and changed our Festival so dramatically. Even so, those of us who work and volunteer for the Festival remain grateful that we are privileged to be a part of the world’s best Festival. The pay-forward for that privilege is we must do everything we can to make sure that the Festival does what it needs to do whenever people are able to return to it. We want the Festival always to be an escape, a celebration, and not a reminder of what was lost.”
“Hope Reigns” 2021 Portland Rose Festival Theme
Todd also served as a Rose Festival Director for 31 years where he worked on a wide variety of committees, held all but one of the Foundation’s elective offices, and chaired multiple committees including seven terms as Chair of the Fleet Committee.
The new year’s elected officers serving with Todd include:
- President-Elect John O’Hanlon – Bank of America
- Vice-President Contesa Diaz-Nicolaidis – Alaska Airlines
- Secretary Dr. Thompson Faller – University of Portland (Retired)
- Treasurer Bill Poppino – Corporate Airline Pilot
- Assistant Treasurer Dayna Kirk – The Standard
The Festival board has also elected three new directors for 2021 including Steve Welch, a Senior Mortgage Banker with Guild Mortgage Company and member of the Rose Festival Clowns. Tragically on Jan. 3, 2021, Welch passed away due to a non- COVID illness.
Welch was well respected by the Rose Festival staff and volunteers not only for his wonderful antics as a member of the Festival’s clown family but as an incredibly warm and compassionate person.
The elected 2021 Directors include:
- Tamara (Tam) Allison – Associate Financial Analyst at Portland General Electric
- Steven Welch – Senior Mortgage Banker with Guild Mortgage Company (deceased)
- Mary Abbott Young – Realtor with Coldwell Banker
Looking forward, Todd speaks on health and continuing the tradition of the Portland Rose Festival, “The health of our community and our friends around the world remains the most important thing. The Portland Rose Festival is here to stay. We continue to plan for a Rose Festival celebration when conditions allow.”
From Portland Rose Festival website: The Portland Rose Festival Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves families and individuals with programs and events that promote the arts, education, and volunteerism. We value environmental responsibility, diversity, patriotism, and our historic & floral heritage.
Portland, OR. The season of giving doesn’t have to end with Christmas; it can continue through AmazonSmile, a program that automatically donates to a nonprofit organization of your choice. The program offers all of the same items, prices, and benefits of online shopping while donating 0.5% of your purchases to the charity of your choice. Some even use AmazonSmile while shopping on their phones, as seen above.
A recent quarterly AmazonSmile notification informed shoppers that the Oregon Food Bank (seen above before the pandemic) recently received a donation of $1,752.15, at no cost to them.
AmazonSmile launched in 2013 and for the past seven years, it has provided a way for customers to support organizations they care about every time they shop. This program comes at no cost to the organizations or customers, and donations could help a wide range of organizations from global humanitarian efforts to local hospitals to school PTA’s.
“Donations from AmazonSmile have resulted in hundreds of thousands of charities expanding their meaningful work across global communities making a difference in people’s lives,” said Llew Mason, Vice President of Consumer Engagement at Amazon. “We are thrilled to have given over $215 million on behalf of customers to the causes they care about most.”
AmazonSmile can be accessed through a web browser and also through the app for iPhones and Android phones. Another way to directly donate items is through the AmazonSmile Charity Lists where the organization will have a list of items of what is needed most.
For first time users, to access the program first visit smile.amazon.com. Then follow the steps below.
- Sign in with your Amazon credentials
- Choose a charitable organization to receive donations or search the charity of your choice
- Then just select the organization and start shopping
Current spotlight organizations include UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Save the Children, and Meals On Wheels America. In addition, there are also thousands of organizations to browse and choose from which are sorted into categories such as international or even by state.
When beginning to give back and donate there will be a choice between spotlight charities and searching for an organization.
Organizations can also register for AmazonSmile by visiting: org.amazon.com/signout and follow the steps below.
- Click the yellow “Register Now” button
- Search for your organization by name or EIN
- Click the yellow “Register” button next to your organization’s name
- Follow the instructions to complete registration
Tanya Ramos, CEO for Pencils of Promise, explains how the donations with AmazonSmile have helped the organization, “Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world. Thanks to the generosity of AmazonSmile customers, Pencils of Promise has helped provide access to quality education for over 100,000 children around the globe.”
From the AmazonSmile Foundation website: The AmazonSmile Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation created by Amazon to administer the AmazonSmile program. All donation amounts generated by the AmazonSmile program are remitted by a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. to the AmazonSmile Foundation. In turn, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates those amounts to the charitable organizations selected by our customers. Amazon pays all expenses of the AmazonSmile Foundation; they are not deducted from the donation amounts generated by purchases on AmazonSmile.
It’s not too late to give back this season and many organizations are currently donating a portion of their sales to the Oregon Food Bank through December. Currently, food donations have been put on pause for Oregon Food Bank’s as well as having to reduce the number of volunteers from about 100 to 10 due to COVID-19.
The Oregon Food Bank has also canceled its food drives right now, but these organizations below are offering another way to help those experiencing food insecurity. For more information on each of the different organizations and to help donate to the Oregon Food Bank click on the links below.
Ashley Mumm, Public Relations Manager, explains that there are also other fundraisers throughout the year to help the Oregon Food Bank, “In addition to those that are on the calendar, there’s a lot of activity going on in the community, which is amazing.”
People also have the option to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser to help combat hunger and rally friends, family, and/or co-workers to help out. This option is open all year long and just $1 helps the Oregon Food Bank distribute three meals in the community.
Over 1 million people will experience food insecurity for the first time this year according to Mumm. This has increased from last year where about 860,000 people were experiencing food insecurity. Despite this increase, Mumm reminds people, “That we’re here, food is available; please get food.”
An additional way to look for opportunities to give back is by using #OregonFoodBank on Instagram that usually has other activities happening around the state from small businesses/individuals. The online app, OregonFoodFinder.org, allows people to search by zip code, days and times of operations, and what each partner offers (groceries/food/meals, etc.).
Giving back can mean more than just donating, Mumm explains, “For those that are safe and feel comfortable, volunteers are always welcome. We have over 400 partners in the metro area that are also potentially welcoming volunteers.”
From the Oregon Food Bank Website: Our mission is to eliminate hunger and its root causes because no one should be hungry.
Portland, OR. St. Mary’s Academy raised $500,000 during its 27th annual Food for Thought fundraiser. Due to COVID-19, this is the first time the fundraiser has gone virtual in order to help support financial aid access for its students. More than 800 guests from across the globe joined the event to listen to a range of topics from motivation in the pursuit of one’s passions, to becoming a leader, to always staying true to yourself and the importance of giving back.
The featured guest of the event, Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer for American Ballet Theatre, shared her story and answered questions in a conversation with St. Mary’s senior, Kyra Bonta, current St. Mary’s dance instructor, Jessica Zoller, and St. Mary’s alumna, Jenny White.
Misty Copeland the featured guest of the event says, “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful, and believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
This school year, St. Mary’s will provide over $2 million in financial aid to 42% of families. The fundraiser, Food for Thought, has allowed St. Mary’s to provide a college-preparatory education to any young woman who desires it, regardless of financial circumstances.
Maya DaSilva, a current junior at St. Mary’s, also spoke at the fundraiser about why she loves the school and why tuition assistance is important. “The SMA community believes there is inherent value in young women. That their thoughts, voices, and ideas are worthy. That they are necessary in the workplace and that each brings extraordinary skills and assets to various forms of leading, serving, creating, discovering.”
Maya DaSilva, current junior at St. Mary’s Academy spoke at the fundraiser in support of her school.
St. Mary’s Academy is Oregon state’s oldest continuously operating school and the only all-girls school that serves 680 young women. St. Mary’s has a 100% college acceptance rate where students achieve, excel, and are recognized locally, regionally, and nationally in academic fields, leadership, STEM, the arts, athletics, community service, and extra-and co-curricular activities.
Donations from the fundraiser will provide St. Mary’s students with:
- $15,995 will sponsor a student’s tuition for one year
- $8,000 will fund the average financial aid award for one student
- $5,300 will cover the gap between tuition and the actual cost of education
- $2,000 will fund a quarter of the average financial aid award for one student
- $1,056 provides a fully equipped iPad for two students receiving financial aid
- $528 provides a fully equipped iPad for one student receiving financial aid
- $283 provides one dollar for each student receiving financial aid
The event was co-chaired by the women of the St. Mary’s Board of Directors. Board member, Kimberly Cooper, shares why she supports St. Mary’s. “Education is the great elevator – anyone who enters, rises up to new heights – and access to a world-class education for young women at St. Mary’s Academy helps propel them higher. They are our future, and when they rise, we all rise!”
From St. Mary’s Academy website: St. Mary’s Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary since 1859, is a Catholic high school for young women, providing a challenging college-preparatory education in a vibrant learning environment. Guided by the values and charism of the Sisters, St. Mary’s fosters a diverse community, educates the whole person by nurturing spirituality, encouraging creativity, promoting justice, and inspiring a sense of global interdependence to prepare students for service and leadership.
Portland, OR. The American Red Cross tests every blood donation for a variety of infections. All blood, platelet, and plasma donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Will the antibody test become an incentive for people to give blood? The Red Cross hopes so. The organization needs donations, particularly convalescent plasma from COVID-19 Survivors.
The American Red Cross is currently urging eligible COVID-19 survivors to give convalescent plasma to help patients battling the virus and can have access to all potentially lifesaving treatments. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation, collected from individuals who recovered from COVID-19, that contains antibodies.
Communications Director, April Phillips, explains why convalescent plasma is needed. “We know right now we are seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases across the country and as the number of COVID-19 cases increases, so does the need for convalescent plasma. In fact, our distributions of convalescent plasma to hospitals had increased 250% in November compared to September, and that number continues to rise.”
According to Phillips, if someone is positive for COVID-19 antibodies, this means that they’ve had been exposed to the virus at some point and their body has built up antibodies to help them fight the virus. This doesn’t confirm any sort of immunity, but the plasma from their blood could potentially be helpful to patients who are currently fighting the virus.
On May 29, 2020, in Rockville, Maryland, a Red Cross phlebotomist April Hall works with a donor of convalescent plasma Alisha Wolf. Wolf discovered she was Covid-19 positive while in the hospital to deliver her baby (everyone is now healthy). Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies and is collecting convalescent plasma at more than 170 locations throughout the country. COVID-19 survivors who donate their plasma have the ability to help up to four patients recover from the virus.
Currently, the American Red Cross is experiencing a shortage of type AB and B convalescent plasma and is asking people who know that they have COVID-19 antibodies to sign up, to donate convalescent plasma, or donate whole blood. Type AB plasma is the only universal plasma type and can be given to patients of any blood type. Individuals interested in donating convalescent plasma can do so by clicking this link.
There are also new safety precautions in place when donating blood. People are required to wear a fabric covering (mask), a temperature check is required and there will be hand sanitizing stations set up throughout the whole time at a blood drive.
Eligible convalescent plasma donors can give with the Red Cross every seven days for up to three months. To be eligible to give convalescent plasma an individual must be:
- In good health and generally feel well.
- Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free and fully recovered from COVID-19 and at least 14 days from the last date of symptoms.
On April 24, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland, a Red Cross phlebotomist collects lifesaving blood products during the COVID-19 outbreak while working a shift at the Mount Hope Blood Donation Center. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross
Individuals must meet all regular blood donation requirements plus some additional criteria. Individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and would like to help should first complete a Donor Request form online. If they are eligible to give, an American Red Cross representative will contact them to schedule a donation appointment at a Red Cross or another blood collection organization facility.
Donating convalescent plasma is different from a whole blood donation; the plasma is donated using an apheresis process where blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects the plasma and then safely and comfortably returns red cells and platelets back to the person. This process is longer than donating whole blood and does take more time.
Phillips’ aunt this past summer received convalescent plasma while hospitalized for COVID-19 and encourages others to donate plasma. “You just don’t know, what your donation could mean to the family and to the person who’s been battling coronavirus, it’s a little bit of time, but it could make a world of difference for a patient.”
On April 22, 2020, in Rockville, Maryland, a Red Cross blood donor rolls up a sleeve to give blood during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Rockville Donation Center in Maryland. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross
Thousands of American Red Cross drives have been canceled as community organizations and businesses are restricting access to many locations. The need for blood is constant; individuals who don’t have COVID-19 but would like to still help can do so by donating their blood or host a drive to help ensure a stable blood supply during the pandemic.
More research is needed before definite conclusions can be drawn; however, the American Red Cross is aware of several studies and articles that found a correlation between blood type and susceptibility to COVID-19. There is some evidence that shows lower COVID-19 infection rates for those with blood type O.
From the American Red Cross website: The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.