Pittock Mansion Counts on Visitors to Return and Boost Pandemic Revenue Drop

Pittock Mansion Counts on Visitors to Return and Boost Pandemic Revenue Drop

Portland, OR. The Pittock Mansion is open to the public again and administrators say they’re hoping visitors will return. Associate Director Jennifer Gritt explains, “We are thrilled to be able to reopen to the public. The year-long pandemic and multiple closures have resulted in an 80% drop in Admissions revenue which has had a significant impact on the organization.”

Gritt says the staff has been reduced both in number and scheduled hours. The nonprofit has been able to take advantage of federal and state aid including a grant and the PPP loan program. “We hope we are moving past the need for additional closures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and once we are confident we’ll be able to remain open, we will start the slow process of rebuilding. We have seen an increase in donation support which is much-needed as we work to bridge the budget gaps created by significantly reduced revenue.”

Pittock Mansion is supported by general admission, memberships, donations, grants, and museum store purchases.

In 2007, the nonprofit Pittock Mansion Society took over museum operations. The Society works in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation to operate and preserve the historic buildings.

The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style château in the West Hills of Portland. The mansion was originally built in 1914 as a private home for London-born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana Burton Pittock.

Gritt explains, “While the pandemic and closures have been challenging, we are also learning a lot about what is important to visitors and the visitor experience. The limitations on the total number of visitors at one time and the socially distanced one-way path have resulted in a much more intimate and enjoyable tour of the Mansion. Visitors are able to spend some time and really take in everything the museum has to offer. We hope to be able to carry this forward into the future.”

Information about visiting the Pittock Mansion:

Built in 1914, Pittock Mansion tells the story of Portland’s transformation from a pioneer town to a modern, industrialized city through the history and legacy of one of its most influential families, the Pittocks. Saved from demolition by dedicated citizens in 1964, the Mansion and surrounding estate were purchased by the City of Portland and opened to the public as a historic house museum.

Current visiting guidelines: Face coverings are required when indoors and when around other guests or staff unless an accommodation for people with disabilities or other exemption applies. Face coverings are recommended but not required for visitors between the ages of 2 and 5.

Tickets are timed and must be purchased online. Please purchase before arriving. All transactions—both tickets and Museum Store—are credit card only. No cash. Exchange requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Members can reserve a time and check in with guests online using their Member ID number.

Entry and exit into the Mansion will be one-way and individual groups/parties will have a staggered entry from other individual groups/parties.

Maximum group size is limited to 10 people. Please note: there might be a short wait outside the Mansion before entry.

Six-feet distancing will be enforced in lines and within the Mansion and Museum Store.

Follow all capacity and one-way directional instructions throughout the Mansion and the Museum Store as stated by staff and signage.

Hand sanitizer will be available at main entrance and exit of the Mansion and Museum Store. Restrooms are also available inside the Mansion. We ask all visitors to follow CDC and Oregon Health Authority guidelines regarding handwashing and hand sanitizing.

Please refrain from touching surfaces and objects inside the Mansion and Museum Store (unless purchasing). Entry and exit from the Mansion and the Museum Store will be touchless.

There will be no access to drinking fountains within in the museum.

Elevator will be available for visitors with mobility issues but will be limited to two people per group. Visitors must be comfortable being in the elevator on their own. The elevator will be controlled by staff from the hallways on each floor. Other restrictions may apply.

Avoid visiting if you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive within 14 days, or have traveled to areas with known travel restrictions within the last 14 days.

Albertina Kerr Unveils Inclusive Housing Project during Virtual Groundbreaking

Albertina Kerr Unveils Inclusive Housing Project during Virtual Groundbreaking

Portland, OR. After four years of planning, Albertina Kerr is beginning construction on 150 low-cost housing units on the Gresham campus for Kerr caregivers and improved client care. (Above is an architectural drawings.) On February 17th, the organization had a virtual groundbreaking.

Once completed, this project will be one of the first and largest net-zero affordable housing projects in the Pacific Northwest producing enough energy to operate the entire building fully.

Albertina Kerr has been caring for Oregon’s vulnerable citizens since 1907, with services that have evolved over the years to meet community needs. Kerr offers short-term psychiatric care and community-based outpatient mental health services for children and teens. This also includes 24-hour residential group homes for children and adults experiencing an intellectual and/or developmental disability (I/DD).

In the virtual groundbreaking, guests were introduced to several community leaders who have been a part of getting the project off the ground. Joining the live stream to discuss the project were:

Ken Thraser, Albertina Kerr Emeritus Board Member, also spoke in the live stream about what this project could look like for other organizations as well, “This is kind of going to have a ripple effect. Not just for Kerr, but for the community, for other non-profits, for other organizations that will look at workforce housing as a strategy that they too could do.”

Albertina Kerr unveiled its Workforce & Inclusive Housing Project during a virtual groundbreaking, which can be viewed in the live steam video below.

During the live stream event, Albertina Kerr’s CEO, Jeff Carr, shared stories about the affordable housing project targeting low-wage human services workers and adults experiencing I/DD.

As Carr shared in the live stream, the idea for the Workforce & Inclusive Housing Project came to him after speaking with one of his managers in 2016. Carr learned that one of the direct care employees lived in a tent with her five children in Washington County. He also learned that some other employees were sleeping in their cars or couch surfing.

He immediately relocated the direct care employee and her five children to a hotel as he took time to think about this issue. After 48 hours, the idea came to him during an early morning run where later that day, he told his assistant that they were going to build housing for workers.

“Those who care for the most vulnerable in our community are the backbone of our social safety net. If they become as vulnerable as the people, they care for due to housing instability, our entire community is at risk,” said Carr.

Chief Program Officer, Derrick Perry, also spoke in the live stream about the project, “I’m just really happy to be aligned with an organization that cares so much about the people we support and our workforce, to where we’re launching this huge project.”

One aspect of the universally accessible units will be hydraulic upper cabinets as well as pull-out cooktops.

When completed in the spring of 2022, one hundred and twenty units of studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments will promote greater workforce stability for low-wage caregivers (Kerr employees and others).

Throughout the complex will be an additional 30 universally accessible units for adults experiencing I/DD. These individuals face a shortage of quality, affordable, accessible housing and often earn 30% or less than the average median income.

Solar panels will be placed on the apartment complexes to produce renewable energy, adding another layer of affordability where residents won’t pay for utilities, including high-speed internet access. Once built and occupied, one full year of collecting energy usage data will be completed and certified.

From Albertina Kerr’s website: MISSION: Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. VISION: All people thrive in nurturing and inclusive communities. VALUES: The values of our expert caregivers remain constant: compassion, commitment, collaboration, and advocacy.

Portland Center Stage 2021 Online Gala Raises Over $315,000

Portland Center Stage 2021 Online Gala Raises Over $315,000

Portland, OR. Portland Center Stage‘s annual gala, Metamorphosis, was held virtually on February 20th and raised over $315,000. 551 guests attended this online celebration of theater. Delphon “DJ” Curtis Jr. performed as Hedwig for a sing-a-long of “Wig in a Box” as seen above. (Video stills by Mikey Mann, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.)

The evening was emceed by Artistic Director Marissa Wolf, Associate Artistic Director Chip Miller, and auctioneer Johnna Wells. The event was also a celebration of the life of Diana Gerding, who died November 9th, 2020 and was one of PCS’s most ardent supporters. Below is a video about her life:

The program featured five performances, including a dance piece choreographed by Darrell Grand Moultrie and musical performances from Quinlan Shea Fitzgerald, Joe Kye, Edna Vázquez, Larry Owens, and Josh Kight.

Khalia Campbell performs a solo dance piece choreographed by Darrell Grand Moultrie set to Nina Simone’s “The Desperate Ones.” Video still by Mikey Mann, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

Larry Owens performs Stephen Sondheim’s “Take Me to the World” for the 2021 PCS Gala. Video still by Mikey Mann, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

Quinlan Shea Fitzgerald performs “Soar,” the song she composed for the 2021 PCS Gala, accompanied by Joe Kye. Video still by Mikey Mann, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

Edna Vázquez performs the song “Lo que pasó, pasó” for the 2021 PCS Gala, with ASL interpretation by Sarika Mehta. Video stills by Mikey Mann, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

From Portland Center Stage:

We were so thrilled and deeply grateful for the huge outpouring of support from our community. Thanks to the many supporters who bid on auction items, bought raffle tickets, and made donations — PCS raised a phenomenal $315,000!

The gala was the kickoff for Soaring Together, a fundraising campaign dedicated to making sure that PCS has the resources needed to soar back on stage as soon as it’s safe to gather for live theater. Donations of all sizes continue to be deeply meaningful to PCS right now. (The link to donate and the video we debuted for Soaring Together can be found at pcs.org/donate.)

Here’s a video about Portland Center Stage.

From PCS
Portland Center Stage is the largest theater company in Portland, and among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994. Portland Center Stage’s home is at The Armory, a historic building originally constructed in 1891. After a major renovation, The Armory opened in 2006 as the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue in the country, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. An estimated 160,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to enjoy a mix of classical, contemporary and world premiere productions, along with the annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival, and a variety of high quality education and community programs. 
Susan G. Komen of Oregon & SW Washington Closes Doors

Susan G. Komen of Oregon & SW Washington Closes Doors

Portland, OR. The Susan G. Komen Oregon 7 SW Washington office will be closing its doors as of March 31st. Susan G. Komen national leadership announced in April 2020 that it would, “consolidate the entire affiliate network into One Komen to provide greater efficiency and effectiveness in its mission.” The pandemic accelerated making big decisions, according to Paula Schneider, Komen’s president and CEO for almost three years. The majority of revenue in the affiliate structure came through Komen’s signature walks and runs, which were canceled, postponed, or now held virtually.

For 29 years, Susan G. Komen has held its annual fundraising walk as seen above. It was a time when people shared stories, laughter, and tears while raising money that to help fight breast cancer. The Portland walk was one of the biggest in the nation.

Oregon & SW Washington affiliate leaders reflected upon the transition. “Collectively, we are incredibly proud of the work we have completed in the last 29 years. In that time, we have built a strong and loyal family of supporters in the fight against breast cancer; raised $35 million for programs that prioritize the importance of improving breast health and building on the quality of life for breast cancer patients; and funded local cutting-edge research.”

The organization closed its physical office space in downtown Portland and began to work remotely at the start of the pandemic. Last fall, Komen Oregon and SW Washington learned all operations – programs, services, fundraising, marketing, technology, accounting would be managed in Dallas, Texas. The nonprofit is integrating its 65 affiliates into a single national organization.

Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington explains, “We remain steadfast in our focus to provide for our local breast cancer community through the funds we have raised here. As our legacy programs transition, we will give over $200,000 to community partners to either continue the work we began or to further enhance their work. 

“We know this change is upsetting; we deeply empathize with you,” Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington CEO, Andrew Asato, said. “This organization has been a place of support, friendship, and family during some of the hardest times in our lives, and it is with a heavy heart that we deliver this news.”

Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington offer a local resource for women who need assistance with breast cancer screening, diagnostic, treatment, and support services. Through annual events, including the More Than Pink Walk and individual contributions, the organization raises funds supporting their programs in their service area (all 36 counties in Oregon, and Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania counties in Washington).

For nearly three decades, the organization has built a strong and loyal family of supporters in the fight against breast cancer. “We’re proud that we’ve invested $35 million into local programs and services to the rest of the community,” said Asato.

As Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington transition, they remain in communication with community partners and will be giving over $200,000 to continue the work the organization started or advance their own work further. Below is a list of the community partners receiving these funds (some are still currently being finalized):

The closure of Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington and other U.S. locations will impact thousands of women, men, and families relying on the foundation for support. According to Asato, by consolidating regional locations into “One Komen,” the organization aims to provide consistent services to all breast cancer patients across the country.

National programs will still be accessible by visiting Komen. Org where more information is available about “One Komen” services. If any questions remain, Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington can be reached by email at [email protected]

From Susan G. Komen Oregon and Washington website: Save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.

Portland Parks & Recreation Revives 2021 Summer Programming

Portland Parks & Recreation Revives 2021 Summer Programming

Portland, OR. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will bring back programs including some Fitness in the Park classes as seen above. The city is restoring 2021 Summer programming and will be designing classes and events to meet public health regulations. Programs will also be as flexible as possible in case conditions change. This means a return of programs like Free Lunch + Play, summer camps, art center classes, swimming, movies in the parks and more.

Portland City Commissioner, Carmen Rubio, proposed PP&R Fiscal Year 2020-21 Supplemental Budget ordinance to City Council and was unanimously approved.

“This budget charts a new approach for Portland Parks & Recreation,” said City Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “It centers racial equity and lays the foundation for a Sustainable Future where all Portlanders’ feel safe and welcome in our parks system and where everyone can access programs that bring us together, help us heal, and make our whole community healthier.”

During this public health crisis, access to nutritious food has proven to be one of the highest needs in the Portland community. PP&R will play an important role in keeping kids healthy this summer by moving forward with the Free Lunch + Play program. Youth will be able to count on FREE lunches and safe outdoor recreation—citywide—from June through August.

Portland voters passed the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy) in Nov. 2020 enacting a tax at the rate of $80 per $100,000 of assessed property value for five years in order to fund recreational programs and park services.

The funds from the Parks Levy usually wouldn’t become available until Nov. 2021 however, the Portland City Council also approved an interfund loan to let PP&R access resources early from the Parks Levy.

With Parks Levy resources, PP&R’s recreation program will transition from a model that depended on charging fees to a service-driven model that focuses on racial equity and eliminating cost as a barrier for Portlanders’ who need programming the most.

In 2013 Portland Parks & Recreation held its yearly Summer Free for All, a popular annual series of free outdoor concerts, movies, playground programs, and more. The Portland community will be able to attend this program again in summer 2021.

“I want to thank Portland voters for investing in their parks system through the Parks Levy,” said PP&R Director Adena Long. “We will use these community resources to provide recreation programming for kids, families, and older Portlanders’ in safe, outdoor, physically distanced settings across the City this summer. We will help our community reconnect, exercise and play, and learn and grow. And none of this would be possible without Portlanders’ investment in parks, thank you.”

Some PP&R sites and programs may need to operate at reduced or restricted capacity due to COVID-19 guidelines when summer arrives. For all summer programs, participant capacity limits and locations are subject to change based on the most current public health guidance.

Kids on scooters play together while receiving free food from Portland Parks & Recreation programs before the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Portland Public Schools.

Portland Parks and Recreation plans to keep the Portland community updated about the summer programming throughout the winter and spring as more details become clear. Below is the list of programs set to run this coming summer.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s COVID-19 Responsive Summer 2021 Programming

  • Free Lunch + Play: PP&R will serve over 100,000 meals to alleviate hunger in our community by continuing a critical, decades-long program of distributing free meals to enjoy in parks or take home. Families will also receive free art and music activities at Free Lunch + Play sites.
  • Summer Camps: Outdoor day camps, sports, and art camps will be available at 20 locations across the City.
  • Environmental Education: Nature day camps (info below), guided Ladybug Nature Walks, and family programs will connect young Portlanders to our natural environment.
  • Nature Day Camps for ages 5-12. The PP&R Environmental Education program will offer summer day camps full of hiking, exploration, nature-based activities, and more; groups of campers will adhere to COVID-19 guidelines with other participants of similar ages. Camps offer job opportunities as nature educators for qualified people aged 16 and older.
  • Environmental Education jobs and volunteering – the next generation of environmental leaders start with us. Paid work programs, volunteer naturalist training, and more. The Teen Nature Team (TNT) is a free program for middle school students connecting young people to nature, environmental careers, and college programs. The Youth Conservation Crew (YCC) provides jobs and training for a diverse population of 14-19 year-olds in the Portland area.
  • Fitness in the Park: Expansion of outdoor fitness programs, including yoga, exercise, and Zumba classes.
  • Swimming: Outdoor pools will open in summer 2021 for life-saving swim lessons, water fitness classes, lap swims, and swim team activities. Indoor pools will only open if public health conditions allow.
  • Community centers: Outdoor programming is prioritized to protect public health; community centers will provide staging for outdoor events and access will be limited.
  • Arts centers: The Multnomah Arts Center and the Community Music Center will offer outdoor camps and classes.
  • Art performances: Free art and music activities at Free Lunch + Play sites and small-scale pop-up performances will be available across the City.
  • Gateway Discovery Park: Art and cultural activities will be hosted all summer long at this East Portland park.
  • Splash Pads: Interactive (play) fountains and park splash pads (water play features) are anticipated to re-open.
  • Lifelong Recreation (formerly known as Senior Recreation): Virtual programs and outdoor activities will be available to older Portlanders.
  • Teen Force: Outdoor, drop-in programs designed for young adults will be provided in coordination with Free Lunch + Play events.
  • Stay and Play video series: Free arts, fitness, education, and music videos will help Portlanders stay active and connected to PP&R throughout the summer. Videos are available at Portland Parks & Recreation’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/pdxparksandrec/videos.
  • Virtual Programming: PP&R’s Adaptive & Inclusive Recreation (AIR), Lifelong Recreation, Portland Parks Preschool, and Arts & Culture programs will offer live virtual programming online.
  • SUN Community Schools: SUN Schools, a collaboration between Multnomah County and PP&R, will offer outdoor summer camps.

From Portland Parks and Recreation website: Portland’s parks, public places, natural areas, and recreational opportunities give life and beauty to our city. These essential assets connect people to place, self, and others. Portland’s residents treasure and care for this legacy, building on the past to provide for future generations. Making Portland a great place to live, work and play. Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland.

Doernbecher Halts Online Bidding for Nike Freestyle Benefit After $2 Million Bid

Doernbecher Halts Online Bidding for Nike Freestyle Benefit After $2 Million Bid

Portland, OR.  Nike and OHSU Doernbecher are putting their annual benefit auction on hold while they vet some bidders. The 17th annual event called Virtually Freestyle was online. At one point, a shoe collector’s site reported the pair shown above was selling for more than $2 million. The auction was quickly stopped and Doernbecher released a statement that explained, “Out of an abundance of caution, the OHSU Foundation proactively halted the bidding process of Thursday’s Virtually Freestyle auction and is actively working to verify the authenticity of uncharacteristically high bids. We took these steps as added measures to existing security protocols.”

Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, instead of a range of shoes designed by children, Nike and Doernbecher settled on the “What The” themed Air Jordan 1. The special shoe was created using elements of Doernbecher Freestyle designs of the past. Unlike past years, this shoe isn’t being prepped for a wide release—instead, a very limited run of 17 pairs was produced.

In honor of the 17th year of the program, only 17 pairs of the Air Jordan I “What The” Doernbecher were created. The first Air Jordan I “What The” Doernbecher, with a custom lasered box, was supposed to kick off the auction. Then the remaining 16 pair were suposed to be auctioned on Feb. 26th, but all the bidding has been put on hold.

Nike Product Director, Lee Banks with Freestyle XIV designer, Brody Miller in 2014. Since 2003, Nike and OHSU Doernbecher have collaborated with young designers for Doernbecher Freestlye event. Children battling serious illnesses design some of Nike and Jordan Brand’s most popular sneakers.

Typically, a group of children ages 8 to 15 are selected to work with Nike designers on a range of footwear that’s eventually released to the public. Doernbecher Freestyle raises money and awareness for the hospital. Over the years, the event has raised more than $29 million for the hospital, including $1,898,525 from the 2019 collection.

The children’s hospital is investigating what happened during a kickoff auction on February 25th when bidding on the first pair hit the $2 million dollar mark. For some perspective, last May Michael Jordan’s game-worn, autographed, Nike Air Jordan 1S from 1985 sold for $560,000 at a Sotheby’s auction. That was a world record price.

Doernbecher officials explained what they plan to do going forward with the following statement:

Doernbecher Freestyle adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with a reputable online auction vendor to coordinate Virtually Freestyle, the program’s first event, and auction to take place solely online.

The OHSU Foundation is committed to following best practices and ensuring a fair auction. Event attendees interested in submitting bids for Virtually Freestyle auction items, including a special Air Jordan 1 “What The” Doernbecher, were required to agree to a robust Terms and Conditions contract. Bidders were also required to register using a valid credit card number, as a part of the authentication process completed by the online auction vendor.

To allow us the necessary time to reaffirm the validity and security of this and future online bidding processes, we have postponed the online auction of the sixteen remaining pairs of the Air Jordan 1 “What The” Doernbecher previously scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 26. We will share additional information regarding the status and availability of Virtually Freestyle auction items at a later date.

Doernbecher Freestyle fans, including those that joined us from across the globe for Thursday’s event, know how much the program means to the patients, families, and staff at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. We are grateful to Nike, our community members, donors, and sponsors for their support of OHSU Doernbecher, and the young patient-designers behind every Doernbecher Freestyle collection.

Designers call the shoes an unforgettable tribute to former patient-designers, seen through the vault of Air Jordan: an Air Jordan I “What The” Doernbecher, featuring elements from each of the program’s 14 Air Jordan designs.

Below are photos of the specific details of the shoes:

University of Portland is the Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

University of Portland is the Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

Portland, OR. The University of Portland (UP) is the top producer of Fulbright U.S. Students in the nation among master’s level institutions, according to an annual study just released by the Chronicle of Higher Education. UP ranks first nationally in Fulbright U.S. awardees for the academic year 2020-2021, with 10 students receiving prestigious grants to study, conduct research, and/or teach English abroad. (Master’s Colleges and Universities are institutions that award at least 50 master’s degrees, but fewer than 20 doctorates.)

The University of Portland is located at 5000 N Willamette Blvd Portland.

“This honor reflects very positively on many members of the UP community – the students who went through multiple iterations of their application materials; faculty members who wrote letters of recommendation; and finally the Fulbright Campus Committee composed of many faculty members who read the student applications and offered feedback on how to improve their submissions. Being ranked Number 1 is a validation of the hard work that countless people contributed to the students’ success,” said John Orr, UP Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement and Professor of English.

The 2020 Fulbright finalists from UP, and their assigned countries, are Erick Berrelleza (Mexico), Travis Bigelow (Mexico), Joshua Bode (Mexico), Isabel Cortens (Argentina), Autumn Fluetsch (Luxembourg), Athena Hills (Germany), Surabhi Joglekar (Taiwan), Preston Korst (Bulgaria), Amanda Mosler (Colombia), and Joanne Tran (Taiwan).

“We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2020-2021 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States,” said Mary Kirk, Director of the Office of Academic Exchange Programs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “In supporting their faculty advisors and administrators who guide their students through the Fulbright application process, these institutions benefit from having their students represent their campus overseas, often inspiring reciprocal exchanges from foreign ‘Fulbrighters.’ Fulbright U.S. Students enrich their educations, advance their careers, and make valuable contributions abroad and at home. They also expand their networks by joining the diverse and accomplished group of Fulbright alumni and receiving the professional recognition that comes with being named a Fulbright Student.”

About the Fullbright Program:

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

2021 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program.  Celebrations throughout the year will highlight the impressive accomplishments and legacy of the program and its alumni over its first 75 years, both in the United States and around the world.  A dedicated 75th anniversary website will be updated throughout 2021 to showcase Fulbright alumni, partner countries, and anniversary events.

Since its inception in 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds—recent university graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, and more—have participated in the Fulbright Program and returned with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 60 Nobel Laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

For more information on the University’s ranking, please go here. For further information about the Fulbright Program, please visit here.

From University of Portland:

The University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross; with a mission focusing on teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. Multiple national media platforms consistently rank the University among the top institutions of higher education in the American West.  It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering and nursing.  More information is available at www.up.edu.  

Phil and Penny Knight Rank 4th in Nation for Charitable Donations in 2020

Phil and Penny Knight Rank 4th in Nation for Charitable Donations in 2020

Beaverton, OR. Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny ranked 4th nationally in philanthropic giving for 2020. The couple donated $1.37 billion in charitable gifts, according to a new report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Chronicle reports the Knights gave $465 million to the University of Oregon in 2020 and $900.7 million to the Knight Foundation, a private foundation the family formed in 1997. Additionally, the Knights supported the Oregon Community Foundation Recovery Fund, which is providing pandemic relief. They also gave Oregon Health & Science University a grant for Covid-19 testing, treatment, and containment, according to the Chronicle.

Every February, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on the 50 donors who made the biggest gifts during the previous calendar year. Overall, donors on the top-50 list gave big to address poverty, the ongoing Covid pandemic, and racial-justice issues.

The philanthropists in the 2020 rankings gave away $24.7 billion last year, but they’re not required to publicly disclose how much they give or which causes they support. Emily Haynes from the Chronicle of Philanthropy credits her colleague Maria Di Mento for compiling the list.

Jeff Bezos topped the list by donating $10 billion to launch the Bezos Earth Fund to mitigate climate change. On February 2nd, Bezos announced he was stepping down as Amazon CEO to devote more time to philanthropy and other projects. He also contributed $100 million to Feeding America, an organization that supplies more than 200 food banks.

Below is the Chronicle of Philanthropy list of the 50 donors who made the biggest gifts in 2020.

1. Jeff Bezos
LOCATION: Medina, Wash.
TOP CAUSE: Environmental Conservation
2. MacKenzie Scott
LOCATION: Seattle, Wash.
TOP CAUSE: Human Services
3. Michael Bloomberg
LOCATION: New York, N.Y.
TOP CAUSE: Various
4. Philip and Penelope Knight
LOCATION: Portland, Ore.
WEALTH SOURCE: Manufacturing and Retail
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
5. Jack Dorsey
LOCATION: San Francisco, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Pandemic Relief
6. John and Laura Arnold
LOCATION: Houston, Tex.
WEALTH SOURCE: Energy; Finance
TOP CAUSE: Various
7. Eric and Wendy Schmidt
LOCATION: Atherton, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Various
8. Pierre and Pam Omidyar
LOCATION: Honolulu, Hawaii
TOP CAUSE: Various
9. Frederick and June Kummer
LOCATION: St. Louis, Mo.
WEALTH SOURCE: Construction
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
10. Denny Sanford
LOCATION: Sioux Falls, S.D.
TOP CAUSE: Various
11. Stephen Ross
LOCATION: New York, N.Y.
WEALTH SOURCE: Real estate
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
12. John and Susan Sobrato
LOCATION: Cupertino, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Real estate
TOP CAUSE: Various
13. Bill and Melinda Gates
LOCATION: Medina, Wash.
TOP CAUSE: Various
14. Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin
LOCATION: Los Gatos, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Entertainment
TOP CAUSE: Financial Aid
15. Sheryl Sandberg
LOCATION: Menlo Park, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Various
16. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
LOCATION: Palo Alto, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Various
17. Craig Newmark
LOCATION: San Francisco, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Advertising
TOP CAUSE: Various
17. David and Barbara Roux
LOCATION: Upperville, Va.
WEALTH SOURCE: Finance; Technology
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
19. Phyllis Brissenden
LOCATION: Springfield, Ill.
WEALTH SOURCE: Investments
TOP CAUSE: Performing Arts
20. Sergey Brin and Nicole Shanahan
LOCATION: Mountain View, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Various
21. Irwin and Joan Jacobs
LOCATION: La Jolla, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Telecommunications
TOP CAUSE: Various
22. George and Renee Karfunkel
LOCATION: Brooklyn, N.Y.
WEALTH SOURCE: Finance; Real Estate
TOP CAUSE: Religion
23. Arthur Blank
LOCATION: Atlanta, Ga.
TOP CAUSE: Various
24. Charles and Helen Schwab
LOCATION: Atherton, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Homelessness
25. Hock Tan and Lisa Yang
LOCATION: San Jose, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Neuroscience
26. Wilbur (Billy) and Ann Powers
LOCATION: Florence, S.C.
WEALTH SOURCE: Construction
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
27. David and Dana Dornsife
LOCATION: Danville, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Manufacturing
TOP CAUSE: Clean Water
28. Robert Smith
LOCATION: Austin, Tex.
TOP CAUSE: College-Loan Debt
29. Leon and Debra Black
LOCATION: New York, N.Y.
TOP CAUSE: Various
30. Gail Miller
LOCATION: Sandy, Utah
WEALTH SOURCE: Entertainment; Retail
TOP CAUSE: Health Care
31. Michael Jordan
LOCATION: Charlotte, N.C.
WEALTH SOURCE: Professional Sports
TOP CAUSE: Racial Justice
32. Richard and Mary Templeton
LOCATION: Dallas, Tex.
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
33. Chris Malachowsky
LOCATION: Santa Clara, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Artificial Intelligence
33. Gordon Rausser
LOCATION: Berkeley, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Investments
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
33. Sheldon and Anne Vogel
LOCATION: Colts Neck, N.J.
WEALTH SOURCE: Entertainment
TOP CAUSE: Health Care
36. Ronald and Eileen Weiser
LOCATION: Ann Arbor, Mich.
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
37. Bob and JoAnn Glick
LOCATION: Cleveland, Ohio
TOP CAUSE: Health Care
38. Jim and Thomas Duff
LOCATION: Columbia, Miss.
WEALTH SOURCE: Investments
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
39. Richard and Nancy Kinder
LOCATION: Houston, Tex.
TOP CAUSE: Various
40. Marc and Lynne Benioff
LOCATION: San Francisco, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Environmental Conservation
40. William and Joanne Conway
TOP CAUSE: Nursing
40. Haslam family
LOCATION: Knoxville, Tenn.
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
40. Will and Cary Singleton
LOCATION: Santa Monica, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Agriculture; Family wealth
TOP CAUSE: Neuroscience
44. Irvin Kanthak
LOCATION: Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Financial Aid
45. Bruce and Debra Grewcock
LOCATION: Omaha, Neb.
WEALTH SOURCE: Construction
TOP CAUSE: Financial Aid
45. Daniel and Jennifer Hord
LOCATION: Midland, Tex.
WEALTH SOURCE: Oil; Real Estate
TOP CAUSE: Financial Aid
47. Joseph Gebbia Jr.
LOCATION: San Francisco, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Homelessness
48. Richard McVey
LOCATION: New York, N.Y.
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
49. Warner and Debbie Lusardi
LOCATION: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
WEALTH SOURCE: Construction
TOP CAUSE: Health Care
50. Steve and Jackie Bell
LOCATION: Greensboro, N.C.
TOP CAUSE: Higher Education
50. Christopher and Lisa Jeffries
LOCATION: Miami, Fla.
TOP CAUSE: Health Care
50. Brad and Alys Smith
LOCATION: Mountain View, Calif.
TOP CAUSE: Economic Development
50. Helena Theurer
LOCATION: Park Ridge, N.J.
WEALTH SOURCE: Real estate
TOP CAUSE: Health Care


No. 2 on the list was Bezos’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who gave $5.7 billion in 2020 to 512 organizations by asking community leaders to help identify worthy groups for seven- and eight-figure gifts, including food banks, human-service organizations, and racial-justice charities.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who ranked No. 5, put $1.1 billion into a fund that by year’s end had distributed at least $330 million to more than 100 nonprofits. The financier Charles Schwab and his wife, Helen (No. 24), gave $65 million to address homelessness in San Francisco. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and wife, Patty Quillin (No. 14), gave $120 million for financial aid for students at historically Black colleges and universities. Michael Jordan, the basketball great (No. 31), pledged $50 million to racial and social-justice groups.

“When I look at the events of the last year, there was an awakening for the philanthropic sector,” says Nick Tedesco, president of the National Center for Family Philanthropy. “Donors supported community-led efforts of recovery and resiliency, particularly those led by people of color.”

Giving experts say they think the trend toward broader giving is likely to persist.

That’s significant given the immense sums top donors are able to contribute. The top five donors this year gave $1 billion-plus, matching last year’s record. No more than three donors gave $1 billion or more in any of the previous years.

Nearly a third of the donors on the list made their fortunes in technology. Tech billionaires’ wealth is compounding while many working people are still suffering from the pandemic’s fallout. Given that disparity, philanthropic expectations have never been higher. David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, highlighted the disparate effects of the pandemic in a January interview on the PBS NewsHour.

“During the pandemic, billionaires made $5.2 billion in increased wealth per day,” he said. “All we are asking for is $5 billion to avert famine around the world. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Some of the ultrawealthy are nevertheless holding back on giving. Among them is Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, whose $180 billion fortune puts him neck-and-neck with Bezos for richest person in the world. Musk is not on the Philanthropy 50 and has faced criticism for his meager lifetime donations, estimated in a recent Vox article at just 0.05 percent of his current net worth.

“It’s unconscionable for someone like that to not give in a meaningful way,” says Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Many of those who did give big chose to support small and midsize charities. But popular causes like higher education still saw sizable contributions.

Benjamin Soskis, a research associate at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, says the most striking change in this year’s Philanthropy 50 list is that it presents a plurality of options for giving. Colleges and universities received $2.2 billion from Philanthropy 50 donors in 2020, but it’s notable that many of them were historically black colleges and universities, Soskis says.

“There’s a big difference between a hypothetical ‘Why didn’t you give to an HBCU instead of Harvard?’ and today’s list, where you can point to donors who actually did that.”

As in years past, the Philanthropy 50 list for 2020 is overwhelmingly white — but that’s no reason for major-gift officers to ignore potential donors of color. Roughly 14 percent of millionaires are people of color, and that number seems likely to grow as demographics keep changing. I put together a sampling of donors of color to watch. Many of them — such as financier Mellody Hobson, art collector Eileen Harris Norton, and biopharmaceutical entrepreneur Jie Du — gave to colleges and universities. Racial justice was another popular cause.

Read the rest of the story for more about how the wealthiest donors gave last year, and check out the Philanthropy 50 rankings for details on each donor.

Free Geek Needs Computers for People Still Struggling to Get Online for School and Vital Services

Free Geek Needs Computers for People Still Struggling to Get Online for School and Vital Services

Portland, OR. The nonprofit that takes donated computers, removes all personal information, and gives them to needy people is working in overdrive. Free Geek helped to deliver computers to students at William Walker Elementary School as seen above. The nonprofit delivered 40 devices to families of students in need, but there are still many more people in the Portland area who need to get online.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Free Geek saw a 4,000% increase in the number of requests for computers for low-income people.

The number of requests continues to grow according to Free Geek marketing specialist, Charlie D’eve. She explains how getting online is vital for people. “It’s families of five who received only one computer from the school their children attend when e-schooling began. Its people asking for computers for their parents whom they haven’t been able to contact since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s parents who lost their jobs during the pandemic, looking to find work online. It’s college students who relied on the library for their homework. It’s therapists who have clients with no access to them. It’s social workers. It’s houseless youth. It’s cousins, neighbors, friends.”

In January, Free Geek staff members fill their van with laptops and desktops to deliver a hardware grant to families living at The Louisa Flowers, Multnomah County’s largest low-income apartment building.

For the past two decades, Free Geek has offered a way to divert technology that would otherwise be recycled or thrown away, refurbish it, and give it back to the community at no or low cost.

Since COVID-19 began the organization has been able to partner with programs including SNAP, Every Child Oregon, Project LEDO, Black Resilience Fund, Portland State University, and many more community change organizations according to D’eve.

In their partnership with SNAP, Free Geek has provided 121 devices and is working to provide 300 more. “Our Gift a Geekbox program has been seeing around 20 applications a day since we put the program up on our site. Our highest amount of applications in one day was 240. We haven’t even advertised the program yet,” says D’eve.

Other programs available through Free Geek include:

  • Plug Into Portland (computers for K-12 students)
  • Hardware Grants (free and low-cost technology grants)
  • Online Shop (low-cost tech through an online store)
  • Corporate Technology Donation (bring corporate used tech back into the community)
  • Personal Tech Donation (bring your personal tech back to those who need it)
  • Data Security (data destruction certification for your tech)

There are a number of challenges Free Geek has faced throughout the pandemic, although one challenge has hit the organization the hardest. According to D’eve there is a great need for laptops to provide for students going through e-schooling, and telehealth services for the elderly.

Vaccines are now available in Oregon, with the elderly (age 65 and older) prioritized receiving the vaccine first throughout February. This does not come without challenges, however, as many people are having trouble navigating an online platform and finding ways to get to their appointments. In response to this, Free Geek is relying on potential partnerships with businesses to ensure they can get devices to those who can sign up for the vaccine but don’t have digital access.

Currently, there are no volunteer opportunities with Free Geek. However, there are many other ways to get involved, according to D’eve, including:

  1. Give a gift to Free Geek at give.freegeek.org
  2. Donate your used technology
  3. Ask your employer about where your used tech goes, and start a conversation about providing that tech to Free Geek
  4. Start a fundraiser for us
  5. Start a tech drive for us
  6. Talk with your friends about Free Geek – shout us out on social media!
  7. Know a community change organization or person that needs a computer? Help them get one from us

“I think what people are starting to notice is that even though they have a device, their next-door neighbor likely doesn’t. And now we’re seeing people notice, and people wanting to make sure that changes,” says D’eve.

Staff members deliver laptops to Title I elementary schools by partnering with project LEDO.

From the Free Geek website: Free Geek’s mission is to sustainably reuse technology, enable digital access, and provide education to create a community that empowers people to realize their potential. Including everyone in our digital future. 

27% of Americans do not own a computer. And one out of ten families do not have internet at home. This lack of access is sharply stratified along lines of income, race, age, and education. Low-income families, immigrants, seniors, and children are digitally under-connected, many with mobile-only internet access, which often isn’t enough. 

The crisis is growing. Our world is growing more digital every day, and vulnerable populations are being left behind. The digital divide separates individuals along economic lines – from the cost of technology and devices, to which neighborhoods have better broadband access. Day-to-day tasks middle- and upper-class individuals take for granted become massive challenges to communities where basic technology and skills feel alien and inaccessible, due to language or financial barriers. From applying for jobs to completing homework assignments, from paying bills to accessing medical records to communicating with family, people with the means to access technology are at a decided advantage over those who are not. This is a social justice issue. Without technology access, full participation in nearly every aspect of American society — from economic success and educational achievement, to positive health outcomes and civic engagement — is compromised

Now think about this: the EPA estimates that only 27% of e-waste is recycled nationally. E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.​​​​ ​​​

A large number of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all, but rather whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery. So what if we repaired and reused these devices, in order to keep our community connected while keeping e-waste out of landfills?

Our programs are founded on this very idea. Free Geek has created a unique circular model which points two existing societal problems – excess electronic waste in need of sustainable reuse and recycling, and lack of access to basic technology among vulnerable populations – back at each other to reveal innovative solutions. The computers we grant to our Digital Inclusion participants are saved from ending up in landfills, and instead, go on to find a new life helping provide our community’s most vulnerable populations with the digital literacy skills they need to succeed and thrive.

Want to join the movement helping both our environment and our community? Join us and make an impact. For just $10 a month, you can provide one person a device, tech support, and digital skill training. Join our monthly giving community THE BRIDGE, and give the gift of clean water all year round.



Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces Combined Digital and Live Season for 2021

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces Combined Digital and Live Season for 2021

Ashland, OR. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) announced the Festival’s 2021 season; it’s an array of programming with digital and live productions. The combination of multi-format programming is evidence of OSF’s continued commitment to presenting world-class theatre on stage and its recent foray into digital programming, which introduces fans, supporters, and new audiences worldwide to the company’s artistry. (Above is a photo from OSF’s 2020 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo: Jenny Graham.) Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties associated with it, OSF will hold off announcing specific dates and ticket sales for onstage productions until there is more clarity around reopening, gathering, and social distancing guidelines. All onstage events are subject to change.

Here’s a video about the announcement:

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a nonprofit professional theatre founded in 1935 and located in Ashland.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2000 production of Macbeth. Photo: David Cooper.

The 2021 season features classics and new works streaming from the OSF archives, new works presented on OSF’s digital platform, O!, and a Fall 2021 live season on OSF’s campus in Ashland, Oregon, extending into January for the first time with OSF’s first winter special. All live performances will be subject to health department guidelines and government restrictions on large gatherings.

“2020 marked a paradigm shift in which OSF was catapulted into different ways of creating and supporting artists and art-making. In launching our digital platform, O!, nearly a year ago, the initial goal was to provide an exploratory space to intersect theatre with other forms of media,” said Nataki Garrett, OSF artistic director. “Now joined together with a compelling schedule of Fall and Winter onstage programming, O! has evolved into a marquee fourth stage, where new and innovative projects will play alongside some of OSF’s most beloved and well-known productions.”

“I could not be more excited and honored in partnering with Nataki to introduce this extraordinary combination of digital and onstage programming as the OSF 2021 season,” said David Schmitz, OSF executive director. “This unique first-ever multiformat season reflects OSF’s commitment to innovation, agility, and progress throughout the most extraordinary global circumstances we are all facing. And we are eager to get back to creating live performances when the health authority and governmental restrictions allow us to do so.”

The 2021 digital on-demand streaming season includes a limited-run schedule of favorites from the OSF archives beginning with Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, directed by Shana Cooper; Manahatta by Mary Kathryn Nagle, directed by Laurie Woolery; and Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, based on the classical Chinese drama The Injustice to Dou Yi That Moved Heaven and Earth and directed by Justin Audibert. Tickets are now available for all three productions.  More streaming productions curated from OSF’s digital archives will be announced in the coming months.

“Along with our archival streaming shows, O! will continue to present exciting new programming—digital theatre, film, and immersive projects—throughout the year, bringing OSF’s celebrated artistry of OSF into homes around the world,” added Garrett.

OSF 2021 On Stage programming includes a repertory of four productions: August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned, featuring Steven Anthony Jones and directed by Tim Bond; the West Coast premiere of unseen by Mona Mansour, directed by Evren Odcikin; the American Revolutions world premiere of Confederates by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Nataki Garrett; and the season will culminate in OSF’s first winter special, It’s Christmas, Carol! by beloved OSF actors Mark Bedard, Brent Hinkley, and John Tufts.

Visit the season announcement for all of the show details.

OSF is known for its large-scale productions like this 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Dámaso Rodríguez. Emily Ota (Juliet) and William Thomas Hodgson (Romeo) joined a large cast in the timeless story of love as seen in the video below.

From OSF:

Our mission statement helps guide us in all of our endeavors here at OSF: Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.

A major theatre arts organization, OSF offers a diversity of plays as well as events and activities to enhance your overall experience.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a not-for-profit professional theatre founded in 1935. Our eight-month season runs through the month of October, and we have three theatres: our two indoor stages—the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the Thomas Theatre—and our flagship outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, which opens in early June and runs through mid-October. We offer up to 11 different plays that include works by Shakespeare as well as a mix of classics, musicals and world-premiere plays. When you visit you can see one or two plays or up to nine plays in one week!