Portland, OR. “We are not the survival of the fittest. We are the survival of the nurtured,” explained Central City Concern (CCC) President and CEO Rachel Solotaroff during the nonprofit’s annual Compassion In Action luncheon. Rachel posed for a photo with Bobby Tsow, Medina Kurney, Bobby Watts. The benefit took place at the Downtown Hilton on October 15th and was a celebration of four decades of CCC helping people find home, hope and healing. In total, the CCC 2019 Compassion In Action campaign raised over $290,000. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)
David Northfield, CCC Board Members, Andy Davidson and Dr. Richard Gibson
Central City Coffee Crew
Onlookers learn of Central City Concern’s roots by viewing timelines created for each decade. For 40 years, Central City Concern has provided recovery treatment, housing, health care and employment services for hundreds of thousands of people in Portland impacted by homelessness.
Presenting sponsor US Bank and Rachel Solotaroff, M.D., Central City Concern, President & CEO
With a blast of horns, Portland-based 12-piece funk and soul band Soul Vaccination kicked off the day’s program, performing their hit song “Funk P-Town” with several lyrics altered to celebrate CCC’s 40th anniversary.
CCC President and CEO Rachel Solotaroff then took the stage, thanking elected officials in attendance; the event’s Presenting, Home of Our Own and Ready to Work sponsors; and several corporate partners who have given to CCC for more than 20 years. Rachel went on to speak about a concept that is vital to the staff members, clients and the very spirit of CCC: resilience. She shared that resilience “isn’t something people are born with. It’s something people are given, and they are given it through human connection…resilience requires relationships, not rugged individualism.”
G. Robert (Bobby) Watts, CEO of National Health Care for the Homeless Council, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Bobby tapped into the deep familiarity with CCC’s work that he’s developed as the leader of the nation’s preeminent membership organization of homeless health care organizations, people with lived experience of homelessness and advocates. CCC is, Bobby said, “doing some things that no one else is doing and they are doing some things better than most others are doing. We, as a council, are going to rely on them.”
Bobby then pivoted to speaking about homelessness as a national epidemic. He shared that our collective hope and goal should be moving toward “compassionate justice”: a society that not only sees housing and health care as human rights, but provides them as such. Our path toward that goal consists of doing what we know works: affordable housing and housing subsidies, health care to people experiencing homelessness, supportive housing, medical respite, practicing a Housing First approach, trauma-informed care, harm reduction and addressing racism.
The audience was treated to the premiere of “40 Years of Hope and Healing: The Human Connection,” a video feature that showed the transformative ripple effect of making a human connection through the stories of two long-time CCC employees, Bobby T. and Medina.
Here’s the video:
Stacey Dodson, market president at U.S. Bank, followed the video to make the pitch. Before she began her ask, however, she shared about her intimate connection to the devastation that addiction can ravage on families, making the work of CCC all the more vital to our community.
Soul Vaccination closed the program with three more songs, including a raucous version of Earth Wind & Fire’s “September.”
From Central City Concern:
Central City Concern meets its mission through innovative outcome-based strategies that support personal and community transformation.
Direct access to housing which supports lifestyle change.
Integrated healthcare services that are highly effective in engaging people who are often alienated from mainstream systems.
The development of peer relationships that nurture and support personal transformation and recovery.
Attainment of income through employment or accessing benefits.
Portland, OR. Nearly 800 community members came together in downtown Portland to honor outgoing Central City Concern President & CEO Ed Blackburn. It was a heartfelt sendoff that featured like-minded leadership ranging from past clients to current elected officials. Blackburn was honored by Rachel Solotaroff, MD, President & CEO and Richard Harris, past Executive Director. The event also raised $300,000 to support critical programs that help accelerate the move to self-sufficiency for people who access Central City Concern’s housing, health care, and employment programs. “Compassion in Action” was the theme for the fundraiser on October 10th at the Portland Hilton. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley sharing a connection between Ed Blackburn and the story of The Good Samaritan.
Mayor Ted Wheeler acknowledging Ed Blackburn’s dedication, compassion, and commitment to serving others for his entire career.
Israel Bayer, Executive Director, Street Roots, Ed Blackburn, President & CEO Emeritus, Central City Concern, Sandra McDonough, President & CEO, Portland Business Alliance
From Central City Concern:
Proceeds from the Compassion in Action Campaign will be used to support critical programs that help accelerate the move to self-sufficiency for people who access Central City Concern’s housing, health care, and employment programs. At Central City Concern, we don’t just put a roof over someone’s head. We give individuals the life and work skills they need to remain housed, healthy, and self-sufficient for the long term.
Portland, OR. More than 500 people attended Central City Concern‘s (CCC) Compassion in Action annual luncheon at the Portland Art Museum on November 15th. Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler opened the program, which featured inspiring stories of CCC staff and clients as well as words from Ed Blackburn, CCC’s executive director. The event raised about $200,000. (Photo Credit, Andrea Lonas)
More than 500 people attended the sold out event.
Ed Blackburn received a standing ovation after detailing CCC’s commitment to move forward.
Here’s a video about Central City Concern.
From Central City Concern:
Central City Concern (CCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency serving single adults and families in the Portland metro area who are impacted by homelessness, poverty and addictions. Founded in 1979, the agency has developed a comprehensive continuum of affordable housing options integrated with direct social services including healthcare, recovery and employment. CCC currently has a staff of 600+, an annual operating budget of $47 million and serves more than 13,000 individuals annually.
Portland, OR. Nearly 300 people attended Central City Concern‘s 2016 “We Are Family” dinner, which raised $100,000. Central City Concern Executive Director Ed Blackburn, Representative Shemia Fagan and Letty Owings Center Alumnae, Alycia enjoyed the event. A video featured Alycia’s success story. The mother of three sons is now enrolled in a program to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. The benefit at the Multnomah Athletic Club, raised funds for Central City Concern’s Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs. (photo credit, Andie Petkus)
Event volunteer and CCC board members Linda Girard and Chief Clinical Operations Officer Leslie Tallyn, pose with CCC board member Julie Shepper
Emcee Jan Brehm with Meghan Hoffman.
CCC’s staff provide individual employment and parenting support to families living in CCC’s 90+ units of Family Housing across the Portland metro area.
Each centerpiece featured a hand-knitted hat, thanks to members of Our Savoir’s Lutheran Church in Lake Oswego, OR.
The funds raised will be used for furniture for organizing toys in the toddlers’ play area, new dressers for 29 bedrooms, blinds for the nursery, new couches for the Community Room and more. Donations support parents and children in an alcohol and drug-free family housing communities. The residents receive mentoring and recovery support as they move toward self-sufficiency.
Portland, March 5th, 2014. Central City Concern gathered Art Task Force members, donors, artists and staff to celebrate the installation completion. Volunteers like Art Task Force members Carole Romm, Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn and Pam Baker worked for two years to fill the walls of the nonprofit serving homeless people. They secured 40 original works of art by Northwest artists. Art Task Force member, Jeanine Jablonski led the installation work over the past three Sundays working with other volunteers. The group of 120+ party goers were deeply impressed with the quality of artwork and Central City Concern is grateful for the many hours of tireless effort required to make this project a reality.
CCC Executive Director Ed Blackburn shares the story of how the Old Town Recovery Center’s building came to be constructed and completed in 2011.
Artist George Johanson with his work ‘Eden.’
Mary Josephson’s ‘It Can’t be True.’
William Park’s ‘I’m Ready to Talk Now.’
Baba Wagué Diakité’s ‘The Fishermen and the Helpers’
Central City Concern was founded in 1979 and addresses the root causes of homelessness: addictions, mental illness and unemployment.
Ending homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency.
CCC serves approximately 13,000 individuals and families in the Portland area yearly with affordable housing, addiction treatment and recovery services, primary and mental health care, affordable housing and employment development.
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