Portland, OR. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) raised over $810,000 at its annual Hearts & Hands Gala, on October 5th. It was RMHC’s biggest event of the year and funds will help provide thousands of families with compassionate hospitality at the four Oregon Ronald McDonald Houses so that they can focus on the health of their child. At the benefit RMHC kids, 4-year-old twins John & Glen Letos, help auctioneer Dale Johannes draw the winning ticket for a 1.0-carat diamond. They were among the 500 supporters who gathered at The Nines to raise money, and also celebrate the opening of two new Ronald McDonald Houses earlier this year in the South Waterfront and Springfield. “Before 2019, it wasn’t unusual for us to turn away 20 families a day – but not anymore,” said Jessica Jarratt Miller, CEO of RMHC. “Thanks to our generous community, like our presenting sponsor, John L. Scott, we are now able to welcome 79 pediatric patient families every night – providing a home away from home to more families than ever before. Our amazing community of supporters means so much to us and every hospitalized child and family that we serve!”
Charlene Zidell and Jessica Jarratt Miller, CEO of RMHC, share a hug before the auction.
Guests from Presenting Sponsor John L. Scott Foundation are all smiles.
Long-standing donors and supporters including Claudine Tanner (third from right) enjoy the cocktail hour.
Joe Ness, SVP and Chief Operating Officer at OHSU, (second from right) enjoys the silent disco with his family.
Cylie Lagaos, an RMHC guest, pulls the Golden Ticket for auctioneer Dale Johannes.
Angie Fogg (center) and Marquis supporters share a celebratory toast.
Jessica Jarratt Miller, CEO of RMHC, 2019 Kilts for Kids Kiltmasters, Josh Johnston, Owner of Paddy’s Bar & Grill, Alisa Mussone, and Joe Squires, President of Squires Electric.
RMHC Friends of the House Young Professionals Board members: Sean Ray (Barran Liebman), Evan Hayashi (Hayashi Wealth Management), Hank Iba (Deloitte & Touche), Lily McFadden, RMHC Director of Programs & Community Engagement, Danielle Fogg, Trisha James (Marquis Companies), and Katy Zahrte (Marquis Companies).
Board Chair, David Payne, (fifth from right) and guests from The Standard raise their paddles to support a family for one night.
Guests browsed items in the silent auction as they enjoyed wines from the critically-acclaimed Ken Wright Cellars. Emcee Shauna Parsons, of KPTV-TV, introduced guests including several RMHC kids. There was also a record-breaking paddle raise led by auctioneer Dale Johannes of Artisan Auctions.
Here’s a video about 4-year-old twins, John & Glen Letos and their family’s journey:
From Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Oregon & SW Washington:
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Oregon & SW Washington provides access to medical care, a “home away from home,” and a community of support for seriously ill or injured children and their families.
Keeping Families Close Since 1984
After two years of planning, the first Oregon Ronald McDonald House opened in 1984 within walking distance of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children. In 1997, two more Ronald McDonald Houses opened: one in Bend, serving families who traveled for care at St. Charles Medical Center, and a second in Portland, just steps away from Randall Children’s Hospital on the campus of Legacy Emanuel Hospital.
In order to meet the evolving needs of our families and to increase capacity, our Houses have undergone various remodels and relocations. What began as one House with 17 guest rooms has evolved into four beautiful Houses with 79 rooms. For more than three decades, our dedicated staff and volunteers have offered comfort and support, a well-stocked kitchen, and a comfortable bed to more than 35,000 families, reminding everyone who enters our Houses that they are always at home and never alone.
Here’s a link to more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington: https://rmhcoregon.org/
Portland, OR. Store to Door‘s Nourish to Flourish gala at the Exchange Ballroom raised more than $148,000 to help homebound seniors. Annabella Domenighini and Trish Bennett were among the more than 250 friends, who enjoyed a lively evening of Golden Tickets, Blinky Rings, a Store to Door version of ‘The Price is Right,’ and auction packages. Funds from the event will help Store to Door continue to support independent living for seniors and people with disabilities in the Portland area.
Ashleigh Adams and Jerry Stewart visit at the September 12th benefit.
Ana Colombia Munoz Romero and Laura Kuperstein
Presented by Fred Meyer, the event began with a reception sponsored by Bank of America, during which attendees enjoyed refreshments and took part in a wine wall, a gift card drawing, and previewed auction items. “Fred Meyer is proud to work with Store to Door as a partner in our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan, to end hunger in the communities we call home by 2025,” says Fred Meyer Director of Corporate Affairs Jeffery Temple, “Store to Door’s efforts to end hunger by providing an affordable, personal, volunteer-based grocery shopping and delivery service has made the organization a uniquely important solution. We look forward to a strong ongoing partnership.”
For more than 28 years, Store to Door has supported independent living for Portland seniors and people with disabilities by providing an affordable, personal, volunteer-based grocery shopping and delivery service. When the program began in 1989, five volunteers shopped for twenty-five local seniors.
Today, more than 600 clients are supported by more than a thousand dedicated volunteers, donors, and community partners who make over 10,000 grocery deliveries possible annually.
Store to Door’s envisions a Portland community in which seniors and people with disabilities are nourished, connected, and able to age with dignity in the setting of their own choice. More photos of the evening available on Store to Door’s website here.
Milwaukie, OR. The Dream Dinners Foundation hosted its first local meal packing event at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory on October 13th. Two-thirds of the 40,668 meals (packed by Dream Dinners Clackamas and Beaverton) will be sent to the Bahamas to feed those affected by the recent hurricane and one-third will be distributed locally to feed children primarily in the North Clackamas School District. The meals will be distributed through Friends and Family Community Connection. (Photo credit, Ashley Stanford Cone)
More than 40,000 meals were packed in just two hours.
Over 300 volunteers, students, and families gave of their time to help those in need.
As part of the event, La Salle Prep made the October meal packing event a school-wide service project, for its homecoming week. A portion of the meals will go to families of Lot Whitcomb elementary school. La Salle Prep regularly shares food with students through their Backpack Buddies program.
“We are excited to work with students and families from La Salle Prep and our friends, customers, and neighbors, to help feed children in our community,” said Mel Murdock, owner of Dream Dinners in Clackamas. ” Children without enough to eat are severely affected both mentally and physically. They see smaller gains academically, and they struggle to learn, concentrate and adapt to their surroundings. This event is not only helping meet the basic needs of local children, but it’s bringing us together as a community in our fight against hunger.”
Murdock went on to share that in Oregon, more than 500,000 people (almost 13 percent) are food insecure. That is one in eight adults, and one in five children that do not have adequate access to food. Of that group, over 200,000 have very low food security and often do not have access to the healthy food they need. Although hunger rates have improved over the last few years, Oregon is still the 20th hungriest state in the country.
Partnering together, the local Beaverton and Clackamas Dream Dinners owners hope to host yearly meal-packing events, shared between the west and eastside, to support the region and kids within their surrounding communities.
About Dream Dinners:
Founded in 2002, Dream Dinners’ mission is to make gathering around the family table a cornerstone of daily life. Dream Dinners guests choose from seasonal, rotating monthly menus and prepare their dinners in-store without the hassle of planning, shopping and chopping. Dream Dinners lays out the ingredients in an easy-to-follow format so guests can assemble a month’s worth of meals in about an hour. A pioneer and leader of the meal assembly industry, Dream Dinners brings Homemade, Made Easy to local communities through its 72 retail locations across the US. Learn more at w ww.dreamdinners.com.
Started in 2005, Dream Dinners Foundation works to connect heart to service through meal packaging events in communities Dream Dinners’ stores serve.
Portland, OR. The Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) raised $1.27 million at its 19th annual Wonderball gala on September 28th. It was CCA’s biggest event of the year, which helps fuel its mission to prescribe joy to seriously ill children through free innovative programming that leverages music, friendship and nature. Founder Regina Ellis, who is pictured with friends and family, welcomed more than 950 supporters to the Oregon Convention Center for the gala. A Joie de Vivre theme celebrated French culture and the joy of life.
Cedric Berry, Board Member, CCA and Insurance Agent, State Farm; Sarah Berry, Vice President and Director of Business Development, McGee Wealth Management; and Campbell Kidd, Managing Partner, Red Hills Acquisitions, LLC
Kristofor Lofgren, CEO and Founder, Sustainable Restaurant Group
Ron Penner-Ash, Board Member, CCA and Winemaker
Clare Hamill, Founding Board Chair, CCA and VP, Nike Growth Initiatives and Judi Davis
Scott Burton, Vice Board Chair, CCA and Director of Revenue Management & Portfolio Positioning, Cambia Health Solutions; Allison Clarke, Co-Chair, Ambassador Board, CCA and President, Allison Clarke Consulting; Brian Dickinson, CEO of Asset Protection Partnership; Regina Ellis
Ed Kinateder; Andy Lytle, Board Chair Emeritus, CEO, At the Joy, and Co-Founder Lytle-Barnett; Tara Kinateder, Board Treasurer & Finance Chair, CCA and Executive Vice President, Ferguson Wellman Capital Management
Kevin Dodson, Vice President/CFL, Global Basketball Footwear, Nike; Susan Dodson, Partner, Right On Accounting LLC; Jim Ford, NIKE SuperCore Footwear, DVP; Greg Smith, Category Footwear Leader, Men’s Training Footwear, Nike; Kim Smith; Aaron Cooper, Innovation Expert, Nike, Inc.; Barry Naone, Senior Director Product Creation, Nike Basketball; Julie Moraes; Myron Moraes, Sr. Development and Innovation Director at Nike
Mimes interacting with guests in the hallways before the main event
Erin Tamblyn performing in opening number, “Lady Marmalade.”
Anthony Chan dancing in opening number.
Family speaker, Heidi Bruno shares emotional story before live appeal
CCA-served Levi Seed shares an inspiring speech CCA’s impact during his cancer treatment
John Simpson, Board Member, CCA and startup advisor; and his guests
Blisan and Bill Foudy, President, Target Sourcing Service and CCA Board Member
Eric Gill, President/CEO, Gill’s Point S Tire and Auto; Peter Kwong, Board Member, CCA and Audit Shareholder, Director of Assurance & Advisory, Perkins & Co; Brent Bracelin, Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray; Ian Lombard, Scott Lawrence, founder of Breakside Brewery and CCA Board Member
Eileen McNulty, Physician Assistant, NW Dermatology Institute; Carlene Pride-Sarpong, Founder of Pride Group NW and Managing Broker and Development Specialist at Compass; John Powers, Co Ambassador Board Chair, CCA and Director of Sales, Xperience Real Estate, PDX Property Group; Stephen Bowdon, Department of Neurological Surgery, OHSU; Chris Suarez, CEO of PDX Property Group at Keller Williams; Kristi Weidner
Jesuit High School students and Paul Hogan, (4th from left) Board Member, CCA and Principal, Jesuit High School
John Duley, Co-Founder, Dream Again; Genesis Trujilo, Design Project Manager, Portland General Electric; Chase Renton, Owner and Winemaker, L’Angolo Estate; Noelle Harvey; Marcus Harvey, Founder, Portland Gear; Kelsey Fuson, Marketing Manager, BurnCycle; Jessi Duley, Board Member, CCA and Founder, BurnCycle
CCA-served child, Maria, and CCA Chemo Pal Specialist, Amelia, selling raffle tickets in French attire
Mary and Dana Braner, Chair, OHSU Department of Pediatrics
“Because we know that joy is medicine. We are creating a gold standard for delivering joy-based programming that will one day reach every child in the country who’s facing serious illness,” said Regina Ellis, Founder and Chief Joy Officer at CCA. “Together we have fought to deliver joy to the children and their families of this community. And now we have the opportunity to take what we’ve made here and share it with children across the nation.”
Guests enjoyed live gypsy-jazz music courtesy of the Hot Club on Hawthorne, as they explored a curated silent auction room decorated to resemble a French outdoor marketplace.
The French outdoor theme followed throughout the lobby with vintage bicycles, an antique Citroen car, fresh baguettes and lavender, live painting and, of course, mimes. In addition to creating an outdoor French marketplace environment in the lobby and halls, CCA recreated imagery of the Moulin Rouge inside the main ballroom, including a miniature model of the windmill on the main stage.
The main event opened with a rendition of Patty LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” sung by Erin Tamblyn and Malia Tippets and augmented with performances by local drag queens: Anthony Chan, Jeremy Sloan, Chadwick Anderson and Erin Shannon. The master of ceremonies for the night, Stacey Murdock, who recently played Gaston in the Portland Opera’s recent production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” carried the program through to the end, where Danielle Barker performed an upbeat cover of “La vie en Rose” to close out the night.
The dinner program featured a record-breaking paddle raise led by auctioneer Kelly Russell of Artisan Auctions. Late-night revelers also enjoyed an after-party with DJ Stray at District East, which carried over the French theme and was hosted by CCA’s young professional board.
Here’s a video about CCA’s programs:
Here’s a link to more information about the Children’s Cancer Association: JoyRx.org/donate.
Portland, OR. Nearly 370 community members gathered to raise funds for Albertina Kerr during the 24 Hours of Kerr Country themed Gala. The 24 hours including a gala on September 15th, followed by a sold-out golf benefit at Columbia Edgewater Golf Course. David Wilson, Richard Codanti, and Bella Casa helped with a record-breaking fundraiser which brought in more than $500,000 for Kerr’s programs and services that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental health challenges. (Country Gala photos by Andie Petkus, Golf Tournament photos by Dalton Davis)
During Kerr’s Country Gala, guests gave generously to the special appeal to support Kerr’s Behavior Specialists
Kerr Foundation Chair Miki Herman, Former Kerr Board Member Diane Gerard, and Carole Warneke from Pacific West Bank
The golf event included a helicopter ball drop where supporters paid to have a ball with their name on it dropped from a helicopter and the closest to the pin won.
T.J. McConville, from Becker Capital Management, was the winner of the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop. (Oregon Helicopters)
The winners of the 24 Hours of Kerr Golf Tournment, Jeff Gladheim (Left) and Matt Kline (Right) from Swagelok NW celebrate with Kerr CEO, Jeff Carr (center) and will advance to the Mercedes-Benz Amateur National Tournament, all expenses paid.
From Albertina Kerr:
Albertina Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other social barriers to reach their full potential. They want all people to thrive in a nurturing and inclusive community. Albertina Kerr has served the community for over 110 years by helping over 53% of the youth in IDD group homes in Oregon, operating the only standalone subacute children’s crisis psychiatric facility in Oregon, providing leadership in statewide policy discussions related to disability and mental health care, and more. Over the years, Albertina Kerr has expanded exponentially going from offering young children safe homes and treatment and creating community-based homes, to expanding their programs to fit the needs of children and adults alike. In more recent years, Albertina Kerr is committed to challenging norms about how to care for children and adults with mental health and developmental needs. Albertina Kerr will continue its efforts to provide top-notch programs and services for people to flourish in their day to day lives.
There’s a video about Albertina Kerr:
More about the history of Albertina Kerr:
For more than 100 years, Albertina Kerr has been caring for Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens. Over the decades, our services have evolved to meet the community’s needs. While these needs have changed, the values of our expert caregivers remain constant: compassion, commitment, collaboration, and advocacy. Today, Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), mental health challenges, and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. We provide comprehensive crisis and preventative mental health care for children and teens, as well as a full range of services for children and adults with IDD.
Portland, Or. Holt International held its Dinner & Auction at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland on October 1st. More than 150 people attended the event, raising over $80,000 for the organization. Guests enjoyed a champagne reception, live auction, and dessert dash. Leonard Bernhardt and Susan Cox supported the event which included an appeal from Mike Dennehy, father of 13 including ten adopted children with special needs. Founded in 1956 as an international adoption agency, Holt International has expanded its care for orphaned and vulnerable children as well as family strengthening services including education, safe housing, nourishing food, community advocacy, and job skills training that help empower parents with the tools and resources they need to independently care for their children. (Photo credit, by Brian Campbell)
Glenda Gordon, Leonard Bernhardt, Debbie Francis.
Holt International strives to keep families together in times of poverty, war, illness, political instability, and more. Through donations and sponsors, Holt is able to provide programs such as education, job skills training, safe housing, hygiene, medical care, etc. These programs give families the empowerment and support to become self-sufficient. Holt also provides the highest level of care for children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or separated from their families. They have experts available that provide medical, nutritional, educational, and psychosocial services that are tailored to fit every child’s individual needs. In 2018 alone, Holt has helped over 255,024 children to thrive in the care of their families, gave life-changing care to 13,981 orphans and children without families, and helped over 602 children join families through adoption.
Here is an adoption story from Holt International:
More about Holt International:
Holt International seeks a world where every child has a loving and secure home. Since Holt’s founding in 1956, the organization has worked towards its vision through programs that strengthen and preserve families that are at risk of separation; by providing critical care and support to orphaned and vulnerable children; and by leading the global community in finding families for children who need them and providing the pre-and post-adoption support and resources they need to thrive. Always, Holt focuses on each child’s unique needs —keeping the child’s best interest at the forefront of every decision. For more information visit www.holtinternational.org
Portland, OR. The Metropolitan Family Service (MFS) A Gathering of Good took place on September 18th at the Loft in Portland. 290 guests helped raise $250,000 at the benefit. Bruce Whiting, Board Chair of CASH, (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) posed for a photo with MFS CEO Judy Strand, and CASH Oregon Executive Director Sarah Adams. They celebrated the announcement that CASH is now part of the MFS family of services and will be able to reach more people who are struggling to make ends meet. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)
Cobi Lewis, Senior Vice President & Director of Umpqua Bank, speaks about tackling complex challenges around economic opportunity and equality in the Portland Metro Region. Umpqua’s significant grant to the MFS Economic Empowerment programs helps people move people beyond the limitations of poverty and inequity.
Mei-Ling Shiroishi, Dr. Margaret Neal, MFS CEO Judy Strand and Anne Marie Johnson proudly display the Eileen Johnson Award. Anne Marie’s mother, Eileen, was the inspiration for this award due to her exuberant and steady commitment to the community throughout her life.
Long time MFS supporters Eva Kripalani and Dave Johnson return to celebrate A Gathering of Good. Eva is a former member of the MFS Board; and Dave’s beloved late wife Eileen is the inspiration for the entire event. This year, the Eileen Johnson Award for Community Leadership honored Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County. PHOTO: Andie Petkus
Richard Diforio, Partner and Co-Founder of Gorge Holdings; Trevor Graves, Principal and Co-Founder of Nemo Design; and Travis Kindler, President of Kinco, bring the entrepreneurial spirit to their support of the families, youth, and older adults in the MFS family of services.
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meiran, District 1; Former MFS Board Member and Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, District 2; and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read ready for the evening’s dinner and program. As a featured speaker, Treasurer Read urged investing in Oregon’s kids and creating a culture of savings an inclusive economy.
A 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization for more than six decades, we have earned the community’s trust. We recognize our responsibility to use resources efficiently, maximize every opportunity and deliver on our promises. It’s what you expect and we’re proud to deliver.
Portland, OR. Ride Connection leaders were all smiles as they held the check for $6,500 from the Portland Picnic Wine Tasting Festival. Over 5,000 people attended the festival in July and enjoyed wine tasting, local food vendors, live music and family-friendly activities. Ride Connection provides free transportation options to older adults and people with disabilities in the Portland metro area. Ride Connection Board Chair, Park Woodworth, Ride Connection CEO, Julie Wilcke Pilmer posed for a photo with the Portland Picnic organizers, Emily and Travis Motter.
Ride Connection’s Chief Executive Officer, Julie Wilcke Pilmer explained, “Being the benefiting nonprofit of the Portland Picnic has helped the organization share our mission to a wider audience. Transportation is the connection to the resources and services an individual needs to remain independent and healthy. With the support of the Portland Picnic, we were able to share the importance of our mission at the event on July 13th, and the funds raised will help us continue to provide transportation to those in need in our region.”
Portland Picnic Wine Tasting Festival took place in Westmoreland Park.
The event features activities including face painting, a visit from Rojo the Llama, and a live music puppet demonstrations from the Olde World Puppet Theatre.
Ride Connection offers transportation to people with disabilities throughout Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah counties. Just within the last year, Ride Connection has provided nearly 500,000 rides and supported over 2,000 individuals with access to public transportation within the last year. Leaders prioritize creating a culture that includes values such as appreciating customers and staff, maintaining collaborative relationships with Service Partners, delivering safe, personalized transportation options, and assure honest, reliable and accountable business relationships and practices.
100 wines from all over the world were featured at the Portland Picnic.
Ride Connection shares its mission with the guests.
Last year, Ride Connection celebrated 30 years servicing the Portland Metro area. Here’s a video about the program:
More about Ride Connection:
Today and every day, Ride Connection provides transportation options to individuals in need. From older adults to people with disabilities to low-income individuals and underserved communities, we are able to provide essential transportation services thanks to the work and support of our staff, volunteers, partners donors, and advocates. Our services bring together friends and family, prevent social isolation, alleviate financial stress and create new connections that strengthen our community. Ride Connection remains committed to providing inclusive transportation options for all individuals in need in the tri-county area.
Portland, OR. The state’s largest public charity announced it is the recipient of $75 million from the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust. The assets were bequeathed as part of the late Bill Swindells’ estate. The contribution will be added to Oregon Community Foundation’s existing endowment and will honor the Swindells’ vision and legacy of strengthening communities in Oregon through philanthropy.
The Oregon Community Foundation thanked the family in a written statement:
The Swindells family has a long tradition of charitable giving in Oregon. Bill Swindells’ father William Swindells, Sr., was the founder of forest products company Willamette Industries and co-founded OCF in 1973. From its early days with an initial gift of $63,000, Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has grown in 45 years to more than $2 billion under management through 2,800 charitable funds.
Bill Swindells served on the Oregon Community Foundation board from 1983 to 1991 and helped lead the foundation’s growth. He and his wife Ann formed the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust in 2002. Other Swindells family members are involved with Oregon Community Foundation as donors, advisors and volunteers.
“This donation—one of the largest in Oregon Community Foundation history—represents the tremendous and lifelong commitment to Oregon of Bill and Ann Swindells, and the entire Swindells family,” said OCF President Max Williams. “Bill and Ann knew the value of investing in the success of all Oregonians, and we are committed to continuing that legacy at Oregon Community Foundation in the years to come.”
In a community foundation, donor funds are pooled under shared management to maximize community benefits and impacts. Though some donors request funds be used for specific purposes, the Swindells’ estate directs the fund administered by the Oregon Community Foundation Board, a diverse group of 14 volunteers, representing all areas of the state of Oregon, who govern the work of the Foundation.
“It was very important to my dad that his estate be transferred to Oregon Community Foundation as an unrestricted gift, for the use of the OCF Board on priorities they identify,” said William R. Swindells, Bill’s son. “As someone intimately involved with philanthropy, he understood the value of such flexibility as Oregon’s needs change.”
A strategic priority for Oregon Community Foundation is bridging the “opportunity gap”—decreasing inequities in access to education, health care, services and jobs, particularly for Oregon children born into poverty and children of color. Nearly half of all children born in Oregon are born into low-income families, and these children are less and less likely to reach the middle class. To combat the persistent gap in access to opportunity, Oregon Community Foundation deploys research, advocacy and grant-making to:
Strengthen neighborhoods and communities. This includes developing new affordable housing and preserving existing affordable housing; providing opportunities for economic mobility out of high poverty neighborhoods; and improving low-income Oregonians’ access to financial services.
Create economic security. This includes supporting paid family and medical leave, expanding the earned income tax credit and increasing subsidies for childcare for low-income families.
Expand access to education and jobs. This includes expanding apprenticeship programs; services for young people not currently in school or working; providing access to quality early childhood education and scholarships for disadvantaged students.
“Today, access to opportunity and a healthy, successful life can be predicted by the zip code into which you are born,” said Williams. “At OCF, we are on a mission to ensure that no matter where an Oregon child is born, they have the chance to achieve and thrive.”
Portland, OR. Portland Japanese Garden Board of Trustees President, Robert Zagunis and his wife, Deborah hosted three famous Japanese geishas for special luncheon at their Lake Oswego home. The benefit luncheon on September 4th, honored the authentic geishas from Kyoto, Japan. (Photo credit, Jonathan Ley)
Bee de Weese and Doug de Weese visit with a geisha in Lake Oswego.
The gathering in Lake Oswego begins at the Zagunis home where one geiko (Kyoto term for geisha) and two maiko (geisha in training) greet guests and posed for photographs.
A geisha is a woman highly trained in the arts of music, dance and entertainment. Geisha is Japanese for “person of art.” She spends many years learning to play various musical instruments, sing, dance and be the perfect hostess. Miehina, Kanako, and Konami performed, “Geisha: Unraveling the Art and Mystery” later that evening to a sold-out crowd at Portland Japanese Garden. The trio performed traditional dance and music, answered questions, and played classic geisha games with the public.
Miehina (geiko), who is pictured in the center in the green kimono, was born in Kyoto and is considered a “star” there. She is hired throughout Japan for her dancing and shamisen (three-stringed traditional instrument) music skills.
Portland Japanese Garden Board of Trustees President, Robert Zagunis plays traditional Japanese game with geisha.
The dance of the geisha is a subtle, stylized, and controlled form of dance. It is extremely disciplined, similar to t’ai chi. Every dance uses gestures to tell a story.
Portland Japanese Garden’s goal has been to offer intimate gatherings for first-hand interaction with geisha to learn more about their history and something of the geisha’s ethos beyond garments and accessories. The aim was to make all of the geisha events not only educational, but also cultural as well as artistic to bring out the best of what geisha culture and traditions have to offer our refined audience in Portland.
The Japan Foundation in Los Angeles, along with geisha expert Peter MacIntosh and Lucy Birmingham, approached Portland Japanese Garden with the idea of bringing the geisha from Kyoto to the United States, for a series of cultural events across the West Coast. For their inaugural program, the geishas are traveling from Portland to Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Pasadena.
From the Portland Japanese Garden:
Portland Japanese Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1963 as a place for cross-cultural understanding following World War II. Since opening year-round to visitors in 1967, Portland Japanese Garden has become a global destination for Japanese art, nature, and peace in Portland, Oregon. It is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan and the foremost Japanese cultural organization in North America.
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