Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals Poised to Pick President of the Furry States

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals Poised to Pick President of the Furry States

Portland, OR. Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA) is running a photo contest to raise needed funds. Now through October 30th, donors can vote for the dog or cat they’d like to see win the title of President of the Furry States. Right now, in the lead for the title of President of the Furry States, with 225 votes, it’s Pippi Longears. (Seen above.) Pippi has an ambitious platform. The three-year-old dog promises to protect you from squirrels, keep your canine in line on morning walks, and create a warm spot in bed.

(OFOSA) came up with this novel idea because like most local nonprofits, it was forced to cancel in-person benefits because of COVID-19. Anne Haynes, Director of Development, explains the decision to host a presidential fundraising event. “It has been such a strange year and we have not been able to hold any of our in-person fundraising events, so I was thinking of what might be a fun, COVID-friendly way to raise funds in a positive way. That’s how our President of the Furry States was born.”

OFOSA is a foster-based animal rescue organization whose mission is to reduce the number of adoptable animals that are euthanized in overcrowded shelters, restore them to good health, and through adoption, provide them forever loving homes.

Entry into the contest and voting is open until Oct. 30th at 11 pm. It costs ten dollars to enter your pet and five-dollar minimum to vote for your favorite. Click here to access their entry site for the photo contest.

Chance is a 13-year-old rescue and is currently in second place.

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals has faced challenges, like losing its in-store adoption locations with PetSmart and Petco due to COVID-19 restrictions and having to redefine the way to run business to keep everyone safe and still find homes for the animals.

Despite complications due to COVID-19 for OFOSA, the organization had 100 new foster sign-ups since people were staying home more than ever. By the end of September, they had already surpassed the intake numbers for the whole year of 2019.

Purrl the three-year-old and deaf cat is currently first in the feline party.

The organization has seen more serious medical cases this year and have been able to take most of those animals in. These animals are most likely to be euthanized because shelters are lacking the funds right now to repair broken limbs, fix bad teeth, and/or remove ruptured eyes.

In times of living with COVID-19, Haynes and the rest at OFOSA feels a huge benefit of their mission is that pets show their unconditional love for their owners and they know the word could use much more of that.

According to Haynes, “owning an animal has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve heart health, keep your company, help you make friends, teach kids responsibility, and improve your immune system.  With all of the changes we’ve had to go through this year with COVID and the stress of the ‘real people’ election, we wanted to remind people of the love of animals.”

Since the beginning, in 2002, the organization has rescued over 19, 200 cats and dogs.

From Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals website: Our team is comprised of 5 dedicated animal lovers, a volunteer Board of Directors who provides strategic guidance for OFOSA, and hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and talent to virtually every aspect of our operation. Without these volunteers, we would not be able to fulfill our mission.

Union Gospel Mission Goes Mobile for Upcoming Operation Overcoat

Union Gospel Mission Goes Mobile for Upcoming Operation Overcoat

Portland, OR. This year the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) will move its annual event – Operation Overcoat – “from one big downtown event, to distributing winter gear and meals all over the city in partnership with other non-profits and local churches,” according to Communications Manager Courtney Dodds.

Family receiving a meal together at Operation Overcoat

As new restrictions and safety challenges due to COVID-19 mean no large crowds this year, UGM’s team brainstormed a way to reinvent Operation Overcoat to get vital supplies to those in need. In several city-wide mini functions beginning Saturday, September 19th, the organization will be partnering with local churches, schools, and workplaces to gather and deliver backpacks filled with shoes, coats, pants, and other items.

This year UGM will reinvent Operation Overcoat to allow for safety measures against COVID-19

“In other words, Operation Overcoat is going mobile,” explained Courtney. “Winter weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening for our neighbors who are houseless and living outside. Due to the pandemic, more people than ever are financially on the edge and sadly it is projected that even more people will fall into homelessness.”

“Receiving vital life essentials is often the first step to building a relationship and helping someone find a path off the streets. Operation Overcoat not only provides for basic needs but is a point of personal connection.”

This year’s unique conditions pose greater challenges for those experiencing homelessness than previous years

For over 20 years, the downtown-situated block party drew nearly a thousand attendees with live music, free food, and festivities as volunteers distributed thousands of donated clothing items to neighbors experiencing homelessness or need in the community.

Courtney notes that the event “will look different this year, but our commitment to coming alongside those in need remains the same.”

Here are some ways you or your local organization can get involved this year:

  1. Organize a donation drive at your church, workplace or school. Our most needed items include pants, new undergarments, sleeping bags, boots, and coats. Drop your items off at Union Gospel Mission at 3 NW Third Avenue.
  2. Support Operation Overcoat financially. It costs about $23.53 to serve each person through Operation Overcoat. Consider a special financial gift for Operation Overcoat. You can give online at ugmportland.org/donate

Your Gift of $23.53 provides an Operation Overcoat guest with goods and services that would cost them over $200 in a retail environment.

From the website:
FEEDING THE HUNGRY, RESTORING THE ADDICT AND LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR. SINCE 1927.

Union Gospel Mission was founded in 1927, when 40 area churches came together seeking to minister to the homeless and hurting on the streets of Portland. In 1937, Union Gospel Mission purchased a building at 15 NW Third Ave.

The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

Portland, OR. Learning at home with a laptop is likely to become “de rigueur.” The French American International School (FAIS), which recently raised over $200,000 at its virtual fundraising event, will be starting the school year with a comprehensive distance learning model. 

According to Shawna Foster, Director of Development at FAIS, the distance learning model will prioritize goals such as: Supporting the FAIS mission of cultivating intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences; fostering a learning experience of connection and interpersonal relationships where people feel safe, seen, and valued; enhancing predictability for students, families, and teachers by using consistent timeframes, platforms, and tools; optimizing teacher instruction and interaction time with students while respecting the developmental needs and sustainable patterns for teachers and families; and designing schedules and instruction times around the well-being of students.

“None of this would be possible without our wonderful teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide stability and continuity for our students and develop meaningful learning experiences,” Foster said. 

In addition to planning for distance learning, FAIS has also prepared schedules and student cohorts to transition to a hybrid or on-campus learning model. For those interested in exploring educational opportunities for their children at FAIS, you can visit the Virtual Admissions Center to watch a virtual open-house recording, browse a photo tour of the campus and schedule a one on one Zoom meeting with the admissions team. 

FAIS held a Virtual Community Gathering on May 29th to raise funds for the FAIS community. 

“Last spring, FAIS friends and family came together to celebrate our student art and raise important funds to support our community during this time of financial uncertainty,” Foster said. “The FAIS Virtual Community Gathering, which replaced the annual gala due to COVID-19, drew over 180 families to participate and support the school. This community event was an opportunity to join together in a spirit of celebration and appreciation for the French American International School.” 

French American International School Virtual Community Gathering fundraiser

In the week leading up to the event, families drove through campus to see all of the student art projects from the comfort of their car at a Drive-Thru Art Gallery. 

“This was a celebration of the hard work that all of our students put into the art projects throughout the year, and was a wonderful reminder of what we can create together,” Foster said. 

The virtual event was hosted by Johnna Wells of Benefit Auction 360. Families bid on art projects, entered the raffle to win a designated parking spot on FAIS campus, and gave generously during the moment of giving. The event raised over $200,000 for FAIS.

About the French American International School: 

The French American International School cultivates intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences. Whether students join our community in preschool, kindergarten, or middle school, our goal is the same. By the time students graduate from FAIS, they will have established a foundation of lifelong skills to prepare them for high school and to succeed in a global, interconnected world. 

Cascade AIDS Project Raises Over $405,000 Through Virtual Art Auction

Cascade AIDS Project Raises Over $405,000 Through Virtual Art Auction

Portland, OR. Last month the Cascades AIDS Project (CAP) raised over $405,000 through their Art Auction: Reimagined. While the traditionally celebrated annual cocktail reception, patron dinner, and live art auction were missed, this year’s virtually-hosted event expanded access to sponsors around the world. The Co-chairs were Molly King and Deb Kemp (pictured above.)

Dale Johannes Program Host and Johnna Lee Wells Auctioneer

The live-video benefit, recapped here, highlighted more than 150 artists and featured an appearance by Governor Kate Brown. Raffle prizes included a two-hour, private visit to Powell’s with a $200 credit. CEO Tyler Termeer weighed on the imperative times facing Portland during his appearance, noting, “We are standing at the crossroads of dueling pandemics: COVID-19 and white supremacy. It’s a defining moment in our existence as an organization. This moment is a reminder that we cannot relent in our pursuit of equity and racial justice.”

Tyler Termeer is the CAP CEO and Karol Collymore is the Board Chair President.

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of its incorporation, CAP is known as  “the oldest and largest community-based provider of HIV services, housing, education and advocacy in Oregon and Southwest Washington,” according to their website. Providing social-services and health care for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS – as well as for the LGBTQ+ community in the Northwest – CAP’s budget has grown to over $14 million and its volunteer base to over 600. These services include assistance in finding secure housing, essential medical care, and emotional support to those who have been ostracized by their community.

Looking forward, CAP will continue to focus on HIV while investing in tackling health disparities that affect the community. CAP recognizes connections between these inequities and factors like race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and gender and is committed to adopting plans to address such concerns.

About Cascade AIDS Project:

Founded in 1985 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis, Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) is now the oldest and largest HIV-services and LGBTQ+ health provider in Oregon and southwest Washington, with more than 100 employees working across four locations. Our organization seeks to prevents new HIV infections; support low-income people living with HIV; and provide safe, welcoming, and knowledgeable healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Through our vital health, housing, and other social services, we help ensure the well-being of more than 15,000 people each year.  More information can be found at www.capnw.org.

Bridge Meadows Intergenerational Communities Change Gears

Bridge Meadows Intergenerational Communities Change Gears

Portland, OR. The Bridge Meadows model is an intergenerational neighborhood where adoptive families of youth formerly in foster care bond with their older neighbors. The nonprofit has had to dramatically alter its operations due to the pandemic. “In our community, it’s about one-third elders—adults over 55 is how we define that—and then families who have adopted kids out of foster care,” Director of Communications Lindsay Magnuson explains. “The way everything is built is so people can connect, and that means being in person, face to face, doing things in the courtyard. And so [Covid-19] has kind of ripped away this way of connecting that has been so essential for people in our communities, and so we’ve had to pivot and figure out: how do we maintain that feeling of intimacy and connectedness without the physical proximity?” 

Several of the Bridge Meadows elders in North Portland started busily sewing masks to support local health care workers.

Bridge Meadows will be hosting its annual fall auction and gala, IMAGINE, on September 17th. The event will be hosted—as in previous years—by KGW anchor Drew Carney and Benefit Auction 360’s Johnna Wells. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually. 

“We are aiming to do a very interesting, dynamic and short program,” said Bridge Meadows Director of Communications Lindsay Magnuson. “We really want it to be valuable because the event usually has this community reunion feel, and so we wanted to kind of try to replicate that as much as possible.” 

“Though our event will be held online this year, we are excited to celebrate the resilience and power of intergenerational community with you in new ways. Hear stories from the community about the impact the Bridge Meadows Model has on the lives of children who have experienced foster care and how you can help us bring this solution to more communities.” 

Bridge Meadows lawn prior to the pandemic.

Many of Bridge Meadows programs, such as check-ins with its members and therapeutic groups, have been adapted into virtual programs, and members have been hard at work figuring out how to help older members who are uncomfortable with newer technology and parents who are adjusting to homeschooling. 

According to Lindsay, “We’ve also been brainstorming with the community about how—now that we kind of know a little bit more about how [Covid-19] is spread—figuring out how to safely connect in person with [social distancing].” 

On top of the upcoming IMAGINE gala, Bridge Meadows has also been hosting virtual roundtables, where community members, partners, champions and donors get together to check in with one another and host Q&A sessions. 

For those interested in supporting Bridge Meadows, Lindsay recommended signing up for their newsletter, attending their virtual events, and making financial contributions. 

While the pandemic has created many challenges for Bridge Meadows, Lindsay noted that there has been some benefits: “I think that this experience has really made us become more comfortable with how you diversify your methods of maintaining community. We have learned how to do that very quickly, and we’re still learning,” Lindsay said. 

About Bridge Meadows: 

Bridge Meadows develops and sustains intergenerational neighborhoods for adoptive families of youth formerly in foster care that promote permanency, community and caring relationships while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults.