Portland, OR. Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA) is running a photo contest to raise needed funds. Now through October 30th, donors can vote for the dog or cat they’d like to see win the title of President of the Furry States. Right now, in the lead for the title of President of the Furry States, with 225 votes, it’s Pippi Longears. (Seen above.) Pippi has an ambitious platform. The three-year-old dog promises to protect you from squirrels, keep your canine in line on morning walks, and create a warm spot in bed.
(OFOSA) came up with this novel idea because like most local nonprofits, it was forced to cancel in-person benefits because of COVID-19. Anne Haynes, Director of Development, explains the decision to host a presidential fundraising event. “It has been such a strange year and we have not been able to hold any of our in-person fundraising events, so I was thinking of what might be a fun, COVID-friendly way to raise funds in a positive way. That’s how our President of the Furry States was born.”
OFOSA is a foster-based animal rescue organization whose mission is to reduce the number of adoptable animals that are euthanized in overcrowded shelters, restore them to good health, and through adoption, provide them forever loving homes.
Chance is a 13-year-old rescue and is currently in second place.
Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals has faced challenges, like losing its in-store adoption locations with PetSmart and Petco due to COVID-19 restrictions and having to redefine the way to run business to keep everyone safe and still find homes for the animals.
Despite complications due to COVID-19 for OFOSA, the organization had 100 new foster sign-ups since people were staying home more than ever. By the end of September, they had already surpassed the intake numbers for the whole year of 2019.
Purrl the three-year-old and deaf cat is currently first in the feline party.
The organization has seen more serious medical cases this year and have been able to take most of those animals in. These animals are most likely to be euthanized because shelters are lacking the funds right now to repair broken limbs, fix bad teeth, and/or remove ruptured eyes.
In times of living with COVID-19, Haynes and the rest at OFOSA feels a huge benefit of their mission is that pets show their unconditional love for their owners and they know the word could use much more of that.
According to Haynes, “owning an animal has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve heart health, keep your company, help you make friends, teach kids responsibility, and improve your immune system. With all of the changes we’ve had to go through this year with COVID and the stress of the ‘real people’ election, we wanted to remind people of the love of animals.”
Since the beginning, in 2002, the organization has rescued over 19, 200 cats and dogs.
From Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals website: Our team is comprised of 5 dedicated animal lovers, a volunteer Board of Directors who provides strategic guidance for OFOSA, and hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and talent to virtually every aspect of our operation. Without these volunteers, we would not be able to fulfill our mission.
Portland, OR. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Because People Matter (BPM), has had to modify popular programs to meet new challenges. The nonprofit is now assembling and delivering lunches (seen above) instead of hosting weekly meals underneath the Burnside Bridge every Thursday night. The outreach effort, called Night Strike, was an opportunity for members of Portland’s homeless community to enjoy a hot meal and receive additional services such as a haircut and have their clothes/shoes replaced. The outreach effort brought together approximately 200 volunteers to provide food, clothing, toiletries, haircuts, and foot washing for over 300 guests. Now, such volunteering is not possible, because of social distancing requirements.
But this isn’t the end of the program, instead, BPM has implemented the Sunday afternoon walkabouts where they hand out lunches three times a week to COVID-sanctioned city camps. There are potentially from 120 to 180 people at a given time in these camps.
Volunteers gather materials and supplies for a Sunday walkabout.
Lesley Snyder, co-founder, and administrator explains her decision to implement these Sunday walkabouts. “We waited for all summer long and are just now implementing walkabouts again on Sunday afternoons we feel like that’s a safer time of the day for most people, but we limit it to only about eight people so…this is dramatically reduced.”
The camps have had to lower their capacity due to COVID-19, needing to separate beds in order to be six feet apart. Some have also requested safe spaces for different groups of people including but not limited to individuals who identify as LGBTQ, trans, bi-racial, people of color.
Because People Matter is partnering with the city of Portland and is also collaborating with organizations like Medical Teams International. That nonprofit had previously attended Night Strike and provided medical and dental care to guests in the camps.
To raise funds for needed programs, Because People Matter hosted a virtual gala on September 16th. However, procuring items for the fundraiser was a struggle for the nonprofit as Snyder explains. “When COVID-19 hit we just couldn’t ask local vendors who were shutting their doors and laying people off to give us things for a fundraiser in six months we didn’t even know if it was going to happen in six months.”
Volunteers help hand out lunches for Sunday walkabouts.
COVID-19 has created new challenges for BPM and according to Snyder everyone at the nonprofit continues to work harder than ever they have especially in unusual circumstances.
Snyder is also hoping to recoup some of the funds that they weren’t able to raise this year because of COVID-19 through this virtual event. This will be different from previous virtual gala’s as they won’t be auctioning instead, they are using text to give, and although they’re asking for people to register for the event anybody is welcome to join at 7 pm.
From Because People Matter website: We exist to develop and sustain relational environments that create movement within groups and individuals to demonstrate love and generosity lived out in the world. Because People Matter creates relational environments that provide Relief, Mobilization, and Transformation.
Portland, OR. It is no secret that non-profits across the country have experienced the same economic struggles as for-profit businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have also found the communities they represent have needed them the most. This is especially true for Basic Rights Oregon, a Portland-based organization that advocates and fights for the equality of LGBTQ residents of Oregon (member meetings have moved to virtual, as pictured above).
As the shelter-in-place order began in March, businesses and communities screeched to a halt in an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Basic Rights Oregon quickly learned that discrimination was not going to slow down or stop along with it. “We tend to be the go-to source for folks who are reaching out about experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity in the workplace, a housing situation, or with healthcare. Those calls haven’t stopped”, says Margot Martin, Development Director at Basic Rights Oregon. “If anything, they’ve gotten more intense.”
This was especially made clear when Portland experienced mass layoffs in the service industry, a work industry that has a substantial LGBTQ population. Basic Rights Oregon had an influx of calls from applicants for government assistance that did not have representation on federal website forms when asking to select a gender identity. There are over 4,200 Oregonians that do not identify as “Male” or “Female”- the only two gender options on these federal documents that were an important step in getting the resources they needed to endure Covid-19. The Basic Rights is working with Oregon state agencies to ensure transgender and non-binary Oregonians can still access these vital resources.
“We have relationships with state agencies that have helped work on getting that “X” marker and were able to quickly connect with them to get answers for the folks in our community that were asking ‘hey, how can I get these benefits?’ We were able to do that. We’re continuing to get people connected with resources and make sure that they’re as taken care of as possible”, Martin elaborated.
A Basic Rights Oregon event before Covid-19.
This win for the community defined the momentum of continuing their non-profit’s mission to stay diligent through adversity- whether that be a pandemic or an election that could be incredibly important to the future of the LGBTQ community. Basic Rights Oregon has no problem thinking positively, and its decision to continue to have uplifting events and be a support system for the communities they represent shows strength. The nonprofit’s annual event, Ignite, is moving to a virtual platform, and staffers hope it works to unite their supporters and community members just as it has in the past. This year, the theme is the roaring 20’s, specified as the new roaring 20’s. What started as a great costume idea for an event near Halloween, has gained much more meaning as the current presidential election has unfolded.
“When we were planning this theme- this was before all of the things happened”, Martin says, referring to ethical controversies in the current US election, along with overall themes of the Trump presidency, “but it feels more important now than ever. We’ve been locked into a place of little hope and a lot of despair over the past 4 years. It’s been a challenge and tough time for our community, but we’re resilient- this community always has been.”
2020’s Ignite will be virtual.
Ignite 2020: The New Roaring 20’s will take place on Thursday, October 29th, and will be entirely virtual. The event will be an hour-long live stream broadcast featuring community stories and messages, fundraising, inspiration for ways you can advocate for change during the remaining election season, and an auction that begins October 26th. They have also partnered with Vibrant Table, a Portland-based catering company, to provide a wine and meal delivery experience for participants. Basic Rights Oregon hopes that the event will provide a positive connection for the non-profit’s members and supporters, especially now that many members have struggled with feelings of isolation from friends, family, and their community.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this moment. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that when we all get on the same page, stand up and say that we’re going to keep doing the work, we’re going to keep protesting, we’re going to stay out on the streets because we want to see change happen- It feels like a groundswell, a roaring moment.”
From Basic Rights Oregon:
Basic Rights Oregon will ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories.
Our vision is to ensure that all LGBTQ Oregonians live free from discrimination and be treated with dignity and respect in every community in our state.
Basic Rights Oregon works fearlessly and tirelessly to build a strong, vibrant, powerful, and progressive movement for LGBTQ equality. LGBTQ Oregonians exist in every community, and we understand that we have to engage in strategic, values-based coalitions to address the many needs of our communities. As such, building alliances with progressive groups that advocate for working families, racial justice, immigrant rights, reproductive justice, and campaign reform will be essential to winning policies that meet the varied needs of our diverse community.
Portland, OR. The Maurice Lucas Foundation held its 10th annual gala on September 18th. The virtual event attracted over 1,000 foundation supporters, and the nonprofit was able to raise over $600,000. Donations will be used for scholarship programs to support under-served students at six high schools in Portland as well as Harriet Tubman Middle School and Parkrose Middle School. It will also go toward the foundation’s academic, character building, and athletic programs for kids and young adults. KOIN-TV news co-anchor Ken Boddie and auctioneer Johnna Lee Wells co-hosted the virtual gala (as seen above). The gala featured videos of students whose lives have been changed through the foundation’s programs.
The Lucas family toasts during the gala. From left: David Lucas, Maurice Jr., and Pam Lucas.
The goal of the Maurice Lucas Foundation is to challenge students to grow and become resilient people and strong leaders through its programs and with counseling, mentoring, and coaching. The nonprofit focuses on students from middle school up to high school and beyond, working to help the kids learn their own potential through sports and education.
Emcee David Lucas holds a photo of his late father, Maurice Lucas.
Nike exec Howard White receives the Enforcer Award.
During the event, the foundation awards its annual Maurice Lucas Enforcer Award to the person who does the best at motivating and empowering kids, which were characteristics Maurice Lucas was well known for. This year the award was given to Nike executive Howard White of Portland.
From foundation board chair Todd Hanchett:
“Throughout his long career, Howard has always shared his knowledge and experience with others to enrich the lives of children and those around him. He has focused on being a positive role model to children around the world through his Believe to Achieve programs. Howard exemplifies the spirit of the Maurice Lucas Enforcer Award.”
From David Lucas:
“We created the Maurice Lucas Foundation in 2010 to honor my dad’s memory and continue his legacy of helping children in the Portland area. Now, after 10 years, we can proudly say we’ve used tutoring, character development, mentoring, sports and partnership to help 2,238 students and their families and another 4,320 youths through basketball camps and teams. We are committed to serving even more in the years to come.”
Portland, OR. New Avenues for Youth celebrated its annual Brews for Youths festival, but for the first time in its history, this fundraiser was held virtually. The benefit on July 25th, is one of many that have moved to an online platform due to COVID-19 pandemic. New Avenues for Youth has seen a tremendous shift towards technology to provide goods and services for at-risk and impacted youth in Portland. With a decrease in physical presence and an increase in a virtual presence, New Avenues for Youth has had to shift its approach.
“[This shift] is beneficial in the long run because we will have new tools and systems online,” says Lauren Eads, Director of Development and Communications. With an increase in online tools, New Avenues for Youth can continue to provide counseling and services to help at-risk youth in Portland while remaining safe.
An image from the educational program which is going live with virtual learning on August 24th.
However, one aspect that technology cannot provide is the face to face physical interaction that people need. “Community is important for them, a network of safe adults, that’s a lot of what the employers are. Case managers and problem solvers that can help,” Eads explained.
Helping nearly 1,400 individuals a year, New Avenues for Youth has served as a safe space for youth in Portland struggling with homelessness. By focusing on both intervention and preventative care, the nonprofit offers educational and employment programs, as well as counseling. Drop-in services including showers and meals, housing/residential services, and works with foster care systems with Portland to help those who are experiencing trauma or emotional and mental challenges that do not work well with foster care.
An image from the SMYRC program that serves young people who identify as LGBTQ+ with supportive services and a safe space.
Moving forward under the pandemic, New Avenues for Youth has decided to also hold its 19th annual Steve Allen Comedy show virtually. The comedy show has been a foundational pillar helping to fund the work of New Avenues for Youth. “With COVID-19 disrupting that [fundraising] pattern, we have an increased need for folks to make contributions so we are able to continue supporting young people experiencing or are at risk for homelessness,” Eads explained.
Tickets for the Annual Steve Allen Comedy Show can be found online.
New Avenues For Youth Front.
New Avenues for Youth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and intervention of youth homelessness. Here’s a video about the nonprofit:
Since 1997, our programs and services have impacted more than 20,000 young people as they work to overcome barriers, pursue their goals, and realize their potential. From supporting basic needs like meals and counseling to providing opportunities for education, job training, employment, and housing, we meet youth where they are—and help them get where they want to go.
Portland, OR. This year the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) will move its annual event – Operation Overcoat – “from one big downtown event, to distributing winter gear and meals all over the city in partnership with other non-profits and local churches,” according to Communications Manager Courtney Dodds.
Family receiving a meal together at Operation Overcoat
As new restrictions and safety challenges due to COVID-19 mean no large crowds this year, UGM’s team brainstormed a way to reinvent Operation Overcoat to get vital supplies to those in need. In several city-wide mini functions beginning Saturday, September 19th, the organization will be partnering with local churches, schools, and workplaces to gather and deliver backpacks filled with shoes, coats, pants, and other items.
This year UGM will reinvent Operation Overcoat to allow for safety measures against COVID-19
“In other words, Operation Overcoat is going mobile,” explained Courtney. “Winter weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening for our neighbors who are houseless and living outside. Due to the pandemic, more people than ever are financially on the edge and sadly it is projected that even more people will fall into homelessness.”
“Receiving vital life essentials is often the first step to building a relationship and helping someone find a path off the streets. Operation Overcoat not only provides for basic needs but is a point of personal connection.”
This year’s unique conditions pose greater challenges for those experiencing homelessness than previous years
For over 20 years, the downtown-situated block party drew nearly a thousand attendees with live music, free food, and festivities as volunteers distributed thousands of donated clothing items to neighbors experiencing homelessness or need in the community.
Courtney notes that the event “will look different this year, but our commitment to coming alongside those in need remains the same.”
Here are some ways you or your local organization can get involved this year:
Organize a donation drive at your church, workplace or school. Our most needed items include pants, new undergarments, sleeping bags, boots, and coats. Drop your items off at Union Gospel Mission at 3 NW Third Avenue.
Support Operation Overcoat financially. It costs about $23.53 to serve each person through Operation Overcoat. Consider a special financial gift for Operation Overcoat. You can give online at ugmportland.org/donate
Your Gift of $23.53 provides an Operation Overcoat guest with goods and services that would cost them over $200 in a retail environment.
From the website:
FEEDING THE HUNGRY, RESTORING THE ADDICT AND LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR. SINCE 1927.
Union Gospel Mission was founded in 1927, when 40 area churches came together seeking to minister to the homeless and hurting on the streets of Portland. In 1937, Union Gospel Mission purchased a building at 15 NW Third Ave.
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.
“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.
Portland, OR. Within walking distance of Portland Community College’s Cascade campus off of Killingsworth Ave, you may come across a sidewalk decorated with raised fists, demands for justice, and more. This sits just outside of the Dismantle, Change, Build Center (DCBC) where nonprofits such as Don’t Shoot Portland operate. If you happen upon this location on a Tuesday afternoon, you may find a beautifully painted sign letting passerby’s know that Books to Prisoners is in session.
The Dismantle, Change, Build Center (DCBC); used by multiple justice-oriented nonprofits.
Based out of Seattle since the 1970s, Books to Prisoners collects donated literary materials and sends those to incarcerated folks across the U.S. on their own dime. The Portland branch operates on volunteer time once per week for a couple of hours. During this time, they sort through donated books, deciding which can be resold to fund the operation’s expenses, which could go to a “free” box sitting outside for anyone who happens by and needs a new read, and which can be saved with the intent of mailing it to an imprisoned individual.
Donated books are organized by genre in order to better accommodate prisoner requests.
Anyone imprisoned can request a book to be mailed to them through the Books to Prisoners operation (with personalized letters, art, and more often accompanying that request). These requests are double-checked in order to make sure that the books will still be received by those behind bars. They will then be hand-wrapped by volunteers in preparation for delivery and shipping. Many of these volunteers are people who’ve either been locked behind State walls or who’ve had loved ones there.
Volunteers take a couple of hours out of their week to wrap books in preparation for shipping, offering invaluable resources for the organization that runs purely off of donated time and funds.
Portland’s Books to Prisoners continues to do great things despite a global pandemic and civil unrest. The nonprofit is always looking for new faces to volunteer their time, as this is the most valuable asset to their operation.
About Books to Prisoners:
If you’re interested in donating to their cause, you can do so here. If you want to see what they’re doing these days, you can check out their Facebook page here. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find all the information you need here.
Portland, OR. Last month the Cascades AIDS Project (CAP) raised over $405,000 through their Art Auction: Reimagined. While the traditionally celebrated annual cocktail reception, patron dinner, and live art auction were missed, this year’s virtually-hosted event expanded access to sponsors around the world. The Co-chairs were Molly King and Deb Kemp (pictured above.)
Dale Johannes Program Host and Johnna Lee Wells Auctioneer
The live-video benefit, recapped here, highlighted more than 150 artists and featured an appearance by Governor Kate Brown. Raffle prizes included a two-hour, private visit to Powell’s with a $200 credit. CEO Tyler Termeer weighed on the imperative times facing Portland during his appearance, noting, “We are standing at the crossroads of dueling pandemics: COVID-19 and white supremacy. It’s a defining moment in our existence as an organization. This moment is a reminder that we cannot relent in our pursuit of equity and racial justice.”
Tyler Termeer is the CAP CEO and Karol Collymore is the Board Chair President.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of its incorporation, CAP is known as “the oldest and largest community-based provider of HIV services, housing, education and advocacy in Oregon and Southwest Washington,” according to their website. Providing social-services and health care for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS – as well as for the LGBTQ+ community in the Northwest – CAP’s budget has grown to over $14 million and its volunteer base to over 600. These services include assistance in finding secure housing, essential medical care, and emotional support to those who have been ostracized by their community.
Looking forward, CAP will continue to focus on HIV while investing in tackling health disparities that affect the community. CAP recognizes connections between these inequities and factors like race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and gender and is committed to adopting plans to address such concerns.
About Cascade AIDS Project:
Founded in 1985 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis, Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) is now the oldest and largest HIV-services and LGBTQ+ health provider in Oregon and southwest Washington, with more than 100 employees working across four locations. Our organization seeks to prevents new HIV infections; support low-income people living with HIV; and provide safe, welcoming, and knowledgeable healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Through our vital health, housing, and other social services, we help ensure the well-being of more than 15,000 people each year. More information can be found at www.capnw.org.
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.
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