Portland, OR. As mutual aid organizations all over Portland have arisen in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, nationwide police brutality, and the growing awareness of social justice activism, Brown Hope has taken strides in mutual aid efforts for Portland BIPOC. Founded in 2018, by Cameron Whitten, (seen above) with their mission directly informed by the needs of “Black, Brown, and Indigenous Portlanders” through trauma-informed activism, this completely volunteer-led organization is working within the community to make improvements for those historically marginalized communities in our city.
Co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund, Salomé Chimuku, speaking with an attendee of a July event where volunteers conducted in-person intakes and distributed funds to Black Portlanders in need. (Photo, Courtney Sherwood/OPB)
One of Brown Hope’s biggest achievements comes from their Black Resilience Fund program. Launched in the summer of 2020 with the goal of providing an immediate emergency funding resource for Black Portlanders, they successfully raised over $1 million in direct donations from 11,000 Portlanders in the short time frame of a single month. These funds are allocated as direct relief for BIPOC Portlanders, an admirable goal considering the financial hardship and trauma sprouting from this last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its launch last summer (8 months ago as of this article), their website donations tracker now sits just shy of $2.25 million.
As an intentionally multifaceted organization to deal with a multifaceted and complex community, Brown Hope has founded multiple other initiatives to build up our community. Power Hour is a weekly community discussion meeting in which participants can receive food, drink, and most notably, direct cash reparations of $25 (an interesting aspect of Brown Hope’s mission considering the rarity of active reparations). Featuring a 45-minute discussion based around local community happenings, news, and needs, they encourage white folks to come and participate and/or donate their time. Another is Brown Hope’s Black Street Bakery which provides work opportunities for Black Portlanders while offering the community delicious baked goods.
Brown Hope understands that community building requires mutual aid and a multifaceted outlook on what our community needs are. Further, they know that the only way to go about enacting real change is by offering an ear to the community you’re working within. Brown Hope is a “healing initiative” first and foremost. They understand that justice is a collective experience that requires all of us to put our best foot forward.
You can donate to the Black Resilience Fund here.
A bit about Brown Hope from their website:
Brown Hope is a community solution for racial justice, creating connection with Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders through the heart, mind, and voice to inspire our collective healing.
We envision a future where the truth about this nation’s long history of injustice is self-evident. We envision the survivors of this injustice taking the lead on change. We envision love as a lived, and collective, experience.
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, 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.
Lake Oswego, OR. The Lake Oswego Art Council‘s public gallery is reopening to the public on February 23rd. There’s a new exhibition features photographs from four photographers called “Visions of 4.” The photo seen above is in the exhibit. It’s called Cape Kiwanda by John Lesch. The work of Reagan Ramsey, Richard Blakeslee, Kevin Felts are also featured. Organizers have are following precautions to keep the staff, volunteers, and the public safe. Face masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be enforced, and all areas will be cleaned and sanitized between visits.
Nepal Market Doors, Northern Nepal (Reagan Ramsey)
This exhibit is on view through April 2nd. Each artist’s work represents their varied and multifaceted cultural background with their personal ethos, immersion, and passion driving their art. The gallery will kick off the exhibit with a “Virtual Opening Reception & Artist Talk” on February 26 (5-6 PM). Here’s the zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83687099581?pwd=OHhsRGJRdE5aSUM5Vys5OXYveG9EZz09
The exhibit is at the ARTspace Gallery (41 B Avenue, Lake Oswego) with visiting hours from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Old Barn Hurricane, NE Oregon (Kevin Felts)
Graffiti a la Pollock, Portland, OR (Richard Blakeslee)
About the Arts Council of Lake Oswego:
Works to ensure the arts are an integral part of life in our community now and into the future with the purpose of placement and preservation of public art in Lake Oswego, providing access to art exhibitions for residents and visitors, and advance the lifelong learning about the arts through educational programs and docent tours.
You can find their donation page here.
Portland, OR. Poison Waters (on left, posing with Tracy Curtis) will take her enthusiasm online this year for the ‘Our House’ Virtual Gala. Organizers encourage supporters to step back in time and tune in for an MTV-esque online event set in the ‘80s. The free benefit on Feb. 20th offers an opportunity to support the organization which provides healthcare, housing, and other vital services to people in the Portland community living with HIV. The nonprofit started in 1988.
Dana Kinney, Director of Development and Communications, explains the decision behind the 80s’ themed virtual gala, “Since, Our House came to life in the eighties, we decided this would be a really fun year to do a flashback to the eighties and talk about how we’ve come, how we progressed, how our community has stood by us and how that was reflected in the height of the AIDS epidemic, but also at the height of the COVID pandemic.”
Kinney recognizes that the AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic are very different in who is affected and how both communities are impacted differently, but the need for help and support has not changed.
“We’ve been fortunate enough that our community of supporters and donors have really stepped up tremendously to give us so much more than we could imagine during a pandemic to ensure that the most vulnerable keep getting supported,” Kinney explains.
Johnna Wells and Carrie Welch speak to guests at the Hopelessly Devoted to Our House Gala from 2019. This year’s virtual gala speaker will be Dale Johannes.
There will also be a virtual auction that opens on Feb. 12 at 8 am and closes on Feb. 20 at 9 pm. Once the auction opens, each package will be available to view and attendees can bid as often and as much as they like. Some auction packages include the following: beach vacations, mountain vacations, a hot tub boat in Seattle, nature tours, and art/wine tours.
There is also a chance to win two roundtrip Alaska Airlines ticket vouchers for $80. There are only 200 raffle tickets available and the winner will be announced during the live stream on Feb. 20.
Prizes are not the only thing to look forward to either. With previous in-person events, the organization has offered catering services which have also seen a significant impact from the pandemic. In order to ensure that attendees still have the full virtual experience, there will still be a catering service from Vibrant Table who has partnered with Our House before. Make sure to RSVP for the event and order food ahead to have it ready by clicking the link here.
Participants bid on auction items at the 2019 Hopelessly Devoted to Our House Gala. Auction items are still available with the event being virtual this year.
The live stream event is going to be really fun Kinney explains, “I would love for anyone who is either familiar or just learning about Our House or has no idea who we are, to tune in and just learn about us and see what we’re doing for the community and whether it’s as their one time that they’re watching and learning about us, or if they want to learn more, they can get ahold of us or even volunteer.”
From Our House website: Our House inspires people with HIV to LIVE WELL. Our House provides integrated health and housing services to people with HIV/AIDS. Guided by compassion, collaboration, and respect, we provide 24-hour specialized care, supportive services, and independent housing with support services.
Our House Core Values:
Compassion for those most in need was the reason we founded Our House and it continues to be our guiding value.
Collaboration at Our House builds relationships by sharing resources and expertise in the community to serve our clients.
Our House Respects the dignity, spirit, worth, needs, and rights of everyone we touch.
Our House maintains a Resourceful staff, stable finances, and effective programs through innovative and responsive action.
Our House Empowers clients to optimize the quality of life in a safe and accepting environment.
Portland, OR. During the Covid-19 pandemic, students can’t gather around the table like they used to. But Elevate Oregon staff members are working with students remotely and continue to be available around the clock. This dedication is nothing new. Launched in 2010 and inspired by a similar “Colorado Uplift” program, Elevate Oregon works with students and their schools in order to build relationships with those struggling to succeed. Largely organized and lead by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) within the Portland community, the program is aimed at benefiting BIPOC youth. With its primary goal of reaching struggling youth through interpersonal relations, Elevate Oregon’s effect on the community is inspiring to many.
In just four years the mentorship program at Parkrose High School in NE Portland, has seen the graduation rate of students skyrocketed from 55% to 90%. To attain this increase, Elevate Oregon partners with the school and offer students an “in-house” elective classroom. Rather than attempting to replace the school curriculum, they seek to build off of the school’s foundation. Within this class, struggling students work one-on-one with qualified and passionate mentors to find out what they need to be successful during high school and beyond. Paul Morris, Deputy Director at Elevate Oregon, says that this approach “allows students to fail safely” and that “Elevate is in the business of offering second chances to these youth.”
The in-school approach allows students easier access to the help they need without having to attend after-school programs, something that many students already in a chaotic state often can’t swing. Further, students are offered an incentive of end-of-the-year trips/parties for maintaining a high GPA.
Now in 2021, 11 years since Elevate Oregon had started its first program at Parkrose High School, it is serving over 600 students annually and has expanded its mentorship program to include students as young as elementary level as well as students transitioning between grades or schools. Mentors could potentially work with students for 8-9 years, building lifelong relationships with youth living within a chaotic world, who could benefit the most from the stability being offered.
Elevate Oregon’s interpersonal-focus is uplifting the BIPOC youth community here in Portland through its goal of connecting and building one-on-one relationships. Program leaders say it’s useful for a struggling high school student to have someone who cares. A listening ear and an open heart can go a long way.
Elevate Oregon functions entirely off of their mentors and donations. You can donate to this inspiring program here.
About Elevate Oregon from their website:
Elevate Oregon is an empowering, efficient, year-round mentoring program centered on raising graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, while also striving to create “generational firsts”, offering students the tools they need to become future leaders in our region.
Portland, OR. As the toll of the worldwide pandemic climbs higher every day, so does the need for grief response and counseling for families. Porsche Beaverton and Audi Beaverton are helping the Dougy Center’s grief counseling efforts by donating $17,100. The money was raised because Porsche and Audi pledged to donate $100 for every car sold during the month of December.
Everyone responds to grief in a unique way and grief can last a lifetime, which is completely normal. Counselors explain that being grief-informed is vital now. “After listening to and supporting thousands of children, teens, young adults, and adults who are grieving the death of someone in their lives, and with pandemic-related deaths increasing, and more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide, over 300,000 in the U.S., it is time, now more than ever, to understand what it means to be grief-informed.” Here’s a link to resources addressing grief:
The Dougy Center (founded in 1982) has been helping children, young adults, and families through their grief and trauma by teaching them that grief is not only natural but that there is no “right way” to grieve. the loss of a loved one. The Dougy Center is also offering many programs remotely for easy access from home.
Dougy Turno, a 13 year old boy who inspired the founding of the Dougy Center for grieving children and familes.
Despite the social stigmas surrounding the display of grief and sadness, the Dougy Center seeks to raise awareness to break down the barriers of mental health. In a paper written by Dr. Donna Schuurman and Dr. Monique Mitchell (two directors at the Dougy Center), they explain that grief manifests itself in various ways through many social facets of our lives, leading to a complicated social web of emotional response and management with no easy answer. Further, they say that dealing with one’s grief has no time-line or direction and that it can last a lifetime. They say, during this time of pain and loss across the nation and the globe, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there are resources for you.
Yet, the Dougy Center doesn’t place sole responsibility of mental health awareness and management on health care professionals. Rather, their mission is one of mutual aid (read: reciprocal aid and cooperation) and community involvement. This is an important distinction as health care access is expensive and often inaccessible, especially when considering mental health. The Dougy Center has continually been a positive force within the community by offering training for individuals and/or organizations seeking to become grieving counselors, providing safe spaces for grieving children and their families, and raising awareness about mental health.
From the Dougy Center:
If you’d like to donate your resources or time, the Dougy Center has a plethora of options available to you. They also thrive on donations, which can be offered here.
The Dougy Center, the first center in the United States to provide peer support groups for grieving children, was founded in 1982. A courageous boy named Dougy Turno died of an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 13. In the two months prior to his death, he was a patient at Oregon Health Sciences University, where Beverly Chappell, at the request of Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of death, dying and bereavement, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, supported Dougy and his family during his treatment. Bev quickly observed Dougy’s ability to bond with other teens facing serious medical issues, how he intuitively knew he was dying, and how he helped other kids talk about their fears. After his death, Bev envisioned a place where children, teens, and their parents coping with the death of a family member, could share their experience with others who understood, who didn’t tell them to “get over it” or judge how they chose to grieve. The first grief support groups met in Bev’s home and has grown from that grassroots effort to become a sought after resource for children and families who are grieving. It is still the only year-round child-centered program offering peer support groups to grieving families in our community.
It’s not too late to give back this season and many organizations are currently donating a portion of their sales to the Oregon Food Bank through December. Currently, food donations have been put on pause for Oregon Food Bank’s as well as having to reduce the number of volunteers from about 100 to 10 due to COVID-19.
The Oregon Food Bank has also canceled its food drives right now, but these organizations below are offering another way to help those experiencing food insecurity. For more information on each of the different organizations and to help donate to the Oregon Food Bank click on the links below.
Ashley Mumm, Public Relations Manager, explains that there are also other fundraisers throughout the year to help the Oregon Food Bank, “In addition to those that are on the calendar, there’s a lot of activity going on in the community, which is amazing.”
People also have the option to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser to help combat hunger and rally friends, family, and/or co-workers to help out. This option is open all year long and just $1 helps the Oregon Food Bank distribute three meals in the community.
Over 1 million people will experience food insecurity for the first time this year according to Mumm. This has increased from last year where about 860,000 people were experiencing food insecurity. Despite this increase, Mumm reminds people, “That we’re here, food is available; please get food.”
An additional way to look for opportunities to give back is by using #OregonFoodBank on Instagram that usually has other activities happening around the state from small businesses/individuals. The online app, OregonFoodFinder.org, allows people to search by zip code, days and times of operations, and what each partner offers (groceries/food/meals, etc.).
Giving back can mean more than just donating, Mumm explains, “For those that are safe and feel comfortable, volunteers are always welcome. We have over 400 partners in the metro area that are also potentially welcoming volunteers.”
From the Oregon Food Bank Website: Our mission is to eliminate hunger and its root causes because no one should be hungry.
Portland, OR. Friends of Noise is a Portland-based non-profit that provides young artists with a well-rounded introduction to the music industry. (Wavy Josef, is shown playing an outdoor show above.) With professional workshops in everything from designing fliers and merchandise, to lighting and sound engineering, to networking and performing, the organization invests in its community to better prepare artists for the business side of music. Non-profits have not had an easy year, and this organization has shown that it is resourceful in keeping on track to serve local youth. With ongoing projects heading into 2021, and a long-term goal of opening an art-focused youth center in North East Portland, Friends of Noise is committed to coming out of 2020 stronger than ever.
Many local businesses were forced to halt all activities in March 2020 to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and Friends of Noise was one of them. The young community that the non-profit serves, however, was highly active in social justice causes as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum all over the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Andre Middleton, Executive Director of Friends of Noise, delivered amplification equipment and other sound assistance to marches and protests around the city. Andre felt compelled to provide the non-profit’s sound equipment to a noble cause, “I wanted to make sure that the community’s cries for justice and change would be heard.” Friends of Noise continued to be an ally for these social justice events, which also validated the idea that outdoor spaces would become a viable option for their artists.
Members of the community stand in solidarity for a common cause.
The non-profit went on to hold numerous shows in NE Portland parks throughout the summer and even hosted a social-distanced Black Lives Matter rally in Cathedral Park on Labor Day that drew a crowd of 2000. These live music events were welcomed by these neighborhoods and provided much-needed revenue for the artists and showrunners that had relied on concerts in the past. Friends of Noise makes it a point to compensate performers and showrunners, and believes it is incredibly important to show the community of artists that their time and work is valued. By showing the young artists this now by paying them for their work, Andre hopes they will take that sense of value into their futures: “We’re all about teaching and giving kids opportunities to practice what they learn, and then working to get them paid opportunities to develop this as a career. We work to make sure that young people are seen as valued members of our local music ecosystem.”
In 2021, Friends of Noise will be launching live-stream programming as an ongoing way to feature their growing youth artist directory. This programming will be a collaboration with local music venues that have been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, creating a connection between the artists and the theaters. They have partnered with theaters like Mississippi Studios, the Star Theater, and the Roseland Theater. The shows will also be multi-generational, pairing young artists with older artists, and will eventually incorporate a local dance group as well. The programming will be consistent, and the non-profit hopes this will represent the Portland music scene as a diverse and harmonious entity. This project is set to launch in January, and Friends of Noise hopes it will help sustain the local music industry through these uncertain times.
The band Out of Luck plays an indoor show before the pandemic.
Engagement in the Friends of Noise community has not slowed down with this pandemic. As a non-profit that serves Portland youth, its artists are looking for more ways to connect and be inspired by their peers. Friends of Noise knows that it cannot be a replacement for school, or other social activities that are no longer safe, but hopes that by building a strong community it can provide comradery through work and expression. This new live-stream project will support this ideal harmonious and collaborative music scene. When speaking about the future of the music industry in Portland, Andre is optimistic, “I have every confidence that young people will be pushing the envelope and be as innovative as they always have been. If we can create an ambience of collaboration over competition, this next cohort of musicians are going to be in an even better position in the future.” Friends of Noise is participating in Willamette Weekly’s GiveGuide, and you can also donate or volunteer on its website.
From Friends of Noise: Friends of Noise is a non-profit, educational, all-ages organization. Our mission is to provide safer and productive spaces for all-ages concerts, focused arts education, and leadership opportunities for youth with a focus on providing marginalized youth and youth of color access to performative creative expression. Our long-term goals are to contribute to the development of a region-wide network of young people and adults that are learned and ready to pursue a career in the music industry on stage or backstage and to grow into a youth-centered arts center that resides in a music-focused arts hub in an underserved community within our city.
We seek to create a non-profit, all-ages arts venue that is youth-oriented and youth-driven. We envision a safe, inclusive community meeting place for arts events, with a strong educational and mentorship component. We intend to engage young people in all aspects of event planning and production within this space, in order to encourage real-world skill-building. We believe these skills will serve students well in their future endeavors and help them become cultural leaders and engaged citizens in their communities.
Portland, OR. Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) hosted a Virtual Holiday Celebration on December 6th. The event featured stories of GDB’s canine teams across the country. Through the event, $400,000 was raised for the non-profit. Supporters who missed the celebration can watch it online here. People can continue to donate for the event until December 16th and will be given an opportunity to name a GDB puppy.
Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrated its first virtual holiday celebration.
The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Liam Mayclem, an Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality, along with Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services. Chris Benninger, president and CEO of GDB, gave updates on the nonprofit, along with the GDB ambassador dog, Thea. Zach Thibodeaux, a recent Guide Dogs for the Blind graduate, shared his story of receiving his first guide dog, Natura. There were some special appearances of the actor Noah Wyle and some GDB guide dogs, and a video starring canine teams across the U.S. was featured.
The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality Liam Mayclem and Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services.
The virtual celebration had over 1500 attendees sign-on, and an additional 120 viewers signed on to the Facebook Livestream. Guests joined from all over the States, and from Canada, England, India, and Italy. Donations were given from all around the world.
Behind the scenes of the virtual holiday celebration, with President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Chris Benninger.
From Guide Dogs for the Blind:
Guide Dogs for the Blind is a guide dog school that trains highly qualified guide dogs to provide free services in order to empower visually impaired individuals. The organization has been serving people throughout the United States and Canada since 1942.
Guide Dogs for the Blind was the subject of an award-winning 2018 feature-length documentary called Pick of the Litter, which was developed into a television docu-series by the same name that had its debut in late 2019 on the streaming service Disney+.