The Oregon Community Recovery Fund to provide immediate additional funds for CAPO and the Community Action network throughout Oregon

Community Action Partnership of Oregon (CAPO) and Community Action Agencies throughout the state are thankful to have received nearly $1 million from the first round of the Oregon Community Recovery Fund, hosted by the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). This rapid action by OCF and its partners will enable Community Action to provide flexible resources quickly where they are most critically needed during the COVID crisis. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020
Contact: Stephanie Swanson
sswanson@oregoncf.org

Philanthropy acts fast to support Oregon nonprofits and small businesses 

First round of grants from Oregon Community Recovery Fund: $2M statewide to community action organizations on frontlines of COVID-19 
OCF announces new fund for immediate financial relief to small businesses through grants to nonprofit community lenders

Portland, Ore. – Philanthropic partners, businesses and individuals across the state have quickly responded with contributions to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund – approaching $5 million to date – with the first round of grants deploying this week.  Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), hosting the fund, notified community action organizations throughout Oregon of $2 million in grants. 

Grants were awarded to non-profit organizations across Oregon, and include:

Central

  • Mid-Columbia Community Action Council in The Dalles ($37,400)
  • NeighborImpact in Redmond ($72,600)
  • United Way of Deschutes County in Bend ($30,000)

Eastern

  • Communities in Action in Ontario ($35,200)
  • Community Action Program of East Central Oregon in Pendleton ($46,200)
  • Community Connection of Northeast Oregon ($38,500)

Portland Metro

  • Central City Concern in Portland ($41,500)
  • Clackamas County Social Services in Oregon City ($97,000)
  • Community Action of Washington County in Hillsboro ($52,500)
  • El Programa Hispano Católico in Gresham ($41,500)
  • Impact NW in Portland ($41,500)
  • Native American Youth & Family Center in Portland ($41,500)
  • Oregon Human Development Corporation in Tigard ($52,500)
  • United Way of the Columbia-Willamette in Portland ($79,000)
  • Urban League of Portland $(41,500)

North Coast

  • Community Action Team in St. Helens ($49,500)
  • United Way of Columbia County in Rainier ($19,000)

North Willamette

  • Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency in Salem ($99,000)
  • United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley in Salem ($49,000)
  • Yamhill Community Action Partnership in McMinnville ($43,000)

South Coast

  • Oregon Coast Community Action in Coos Bay ($44,000)
  • United Way of Southwestern Oregon in Coos Bay ($22,000)

South Willamette

  • Community Services Consortium in Albany ($71,000)
  • Greater Douglas United Way in Roseburg ($24,000)
  • United Community Action Network in Roseburg ($64,900)
  • United Way of Lane County in Springfield ($75,000)
  • United Way of Lane County – COVID-19 Response Fund in Springfield ($45,000)
  • United Way of Linn County in Albany ($36,000)

Southern

  • ACCESS in Medford ($63,000)
  • Klamath and Lake Community Action Services in Klamath Falls ($41,800)
  • United Way of Jackson County in Medford ($32,000)

Statewide

  • Community Action Partnership of Oregon ($15,000)
  • MRG Foundation ($100,000)
  • OCF: Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund ($300,000)
  • OCF: ECFLC Collaborative Administrative Fund ($20,000)

With inputs from a network of volunteers, community leaders and partners, OCF has moved quickly over the past week to provide funding and resources to nonprofits in order to fill gaps in funding not met by the public or private sector during the crisis. The goal is to mobilize and deploy flexible resources where and when they are critically needed, focusing most on Oregon’s most vulnerable populations.

Also, on Wednesday Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) launched a new philanthropic fund to support Oregon’s small business owners as they grapple with the realities of severely constricted economic activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Seeded with a $300,000 investment from OCF, the Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund will provide emergency capital to nonprofit community lenders in both urban and rural communities, increasing these lenders’ capacity to offer low-interest and no-interest loans and technical assistance to small businesses. Small businesses dealing with reduced sales and revenue can use the loans to continue to retain employees until economic activity picks up in a few months.

“The Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund and Oregon Community Recovery Fund are two great opportunities for Oregon businesses, large or small, to support non profits, business owners and their employees during this crisis,” said Greg Ness, chair of the board of the Oregon Business Council and chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Standard. “I’m pleased to see so many Oregon companies working together with OCF and many philanthropic partners to help Oregonians during these unprecedented times. We need to ensure small businesses and their employees weather this storm so they can quickly get back on their feet when it passes.”

Grant funding for nonprofit lenders to support Oregon’s small businesses

Without immediate assistance to pay for operating costs, many Oregon small businesses such as childcare centers, restaurants, and other businesses vital to urban and rural communities are being forced to close their doors and lay off employees. 

The Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund will help nonprofit lenders cushion the impact of lost revenue for small businesses until more state or federal resources are available or business resumes. 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses employ 55% of all Oregon employees and make up 99.4% of all Oregon businesses. 

“We recognize this fund represents just a portion of the assistance that will required to help Oregon’s small businesses weather this storm,” OCF President and CEO Max Williams. “If leaders in philanthropy, government, and the private sector can align their funding in this critical moment, we can position small businesses to emerge from this crisis intact, ready to resume their central role in their communities and the statewide economy.”

OCF is working closely with state and city partners to ensure that funds are well coordinated and deployed equitably across the state. The fund will be active for at least six months to provide immediate relief across the state. 

“Very few small business plans include a global pandemic,” said Palo Alto Software CEO and OCF Board Director Sabrina Parsons of Eugene. “We recognize the urgent need for people to stay at home to promote public safety, but when business slows, operating costs don’t disappear. The only thing that will get us through this crisis is access to funding to cover expenses until we can open our doors again.”

Nonprofit lenders eligible for grant funding include Community Development Financial Institutions, Economic Development Districts, and Economic Development Agencies for Oregon cities and tribes that have experience providing loans and grants to small businesses in their region. Qualifying organizations may apply for grant funding at the OCF website.

Anyone may contribute to the Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund. Donations can be made online at oregoncf.org.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. For nearly 45 years, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving–time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians–creates measurable change. For more information about OCF, please visit: www.oregoncf.org.   

Executive Director Renée Bruce Retires from Community Action – Here’s What She Had to Say

At each Board of Directors meeting, I like to close the meeting with a “mission moment” by reading some recent comments submitted by our clients. These comments give me the chance to ground all of us to the impact Community Action has on the people and community we serve. It’s moments like these that I will miss tremendously as I retire following 29 years at Community Action. While the working chapter of my life closes, I am truly excited for the beginning of a new one filled with travel and time spent with my three beautiful grandsons and their parents.

With a background in early childhood education, I started at Community Action in 1990 managing the Child Development & Parenting program. When I took my first job here, I was happy, but I felt it would be temporary until I got to know Oregon better and could find the “perfect” job. The longer I stayed, the more I fell in love with Community Action – both with the important work we do and with the amazing people I have worked alongside over these many years. In each leadership position I held, I have always been proud to say, “I work at Community Action!” The reason is that no matter what door a client may come through, a thoughtful and empathetic staff member is ready to meet them, listen to them, and help them. Time and again, our clients tell us that after meeting with our staff, they feel seen and heard as a person, not as a problem or a number.  I’m proud of so much here at Community Action, but I am most proud of how we work with and respect the people we serve. 

My level of excitement for Community Action’s next chapter is sky high. The financial health of the organization is stronger than ever. The bench of talented leaders, both current and future, is deep and solid. Community Action is focused on the future, searching out ways to improve how we serve clients and deepen our impact in Washington County.

I am also excited because I am handing the keys of the organization over to our new Executive Director, Kemp Shuey. Kemp has been with Community Action for four years as our Director of Resource Development, and he is someone I trust to lead the organization into the future. Leading Community Action is a big task, and in my time working with Kemp I know he has the thoughtfulness, vision, and passion to carry the work forward. I believe in his ability to steward our culture and challenge the organization to continue finding ways to grow and improve.

A Weatherization Success Story

Linda and Jim are two elderly clients of Community Action of Washington County (CAO) who were in need of weatherization assistance. Jim is severely impacted with health problems and must use a feeding tube directly into his stomach.

Linda and Jim’s furnace had been non-functional for 15 years, so they had been using a wood stove to heat their mobile home for over a decade. Using a wood stove was unsustainable due to Jim’s respiratory issues, leading them to start using space heaters. However, they couldn’t evenly heat their whole home due breaker problems. Before receiving assistance from CAO, their home was very drafty and had several critical weatherization issues.

CAO worked with contractors to do several upgrades. They added insulation into the ceiling and floor, installed a new kitchen fan, and replaced single pane metal windows with double pane vinyl windows. The project had many successful weatherization impacts including:

  • A five-fold reduction in duct leakage
  • A nearly three-fold reduction in air infiltration
  • Installation of a new heat pump furnace (Linda stated that it had NEVER been this warm in their mobile home, even when they purchased it 33 years ago. Additionally, the air conditioning was great during the heat and really helped Jim’s quality of life).

Linda said she is THRILLED with Community Action’s program and that it FAR exceeded her expectations. She said, “I can’t say how much this program has meant to us. I never dreamed that we would get so much. I LOVE our new windows and the fact that we have even heat throughout the entire home. I don’t have to go warm up the bathroom with a space heater for Jim and then worry about him getting cold when he comes out.”

Linda and Jim are not done with their upgrades yet! They are working with CAO partner Washington County to install a wheelchair ramp and grab bars near their bathtub.

Submitted by Community Action of Washington County

CAPO: SSVF Success Story – Mr. Arthur

CAPO’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) in Klamath Falls works with many local military service clubs, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. With this overwhelming support in Klamath and Lake Counties, we serve the local homeless veteran population with an all-encompassing hometown approach, using the Rapid Resolution Program method.

This strong support yields success. Mr. Arthur*, a veteran experiencing homelessness, was having ongoing medical and financial issues. He previously received services through SSVF and was a mutual client of our partner, the OHSU Interprofessional Care Access Network (I-CAN) Program. It was decided that moving back to reunite with his family support network would be the best solution for Mr. Arthur. Now the challenge was finding the financial support needed for his move. And that’s where our support network comes in.

Around this time, the CAPO SSVF team was hosting an open house to showcase its new office space. With a number of community partners attending, we were able to share Mr. Arthur’s need with key partners who immediately pledged support. Within 11 days of the open house, we had secured:

  • $353 for Mr. Arthur’s Amtrak ticket from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Lead Service Officer Brigitte Marker and Ray Ramirez, Commander of the local DAV chapter. (Mr. Ramirez is also Homeless Prevention Case Manager for our Klamath Falls SSVF.)
  • $250 for the shipment of Mr. Arthur’s personal items from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Oregon Chapter 29-6 thanks to Commander, James Lindsey who called a Command Executive Board meeting over the phone to authorize assistance for Mr. Arthur. In addition, Combat Vets Treasurer Shorty Ogdon-Moles met with Mr. Arthur at a UPS store to ship his personal items.
  • $130 for meals and incidentals from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander Karen Johnson, Senior Vice Commander Noko Herrera, and Quartermaster Duane Whitehead.

Mr. Arthur has now safely returned to his family, thanks to the swift and generous support of our partners. Thank you to all the organizations that partner with us to support our veterans and our programs, including DAV, VFW, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Marine Corps League, The American Legion, the VA Community Based Outreach Center, Klamath County Veteran Service Office, Lake County Veterans Service Office, Senior Center, WorkSource, Goodwill Inc., Klamath Housing Authority, Legacy Furniture, Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS), Big Lots, local hotels, and several other community donors.

Strong community connections in Klamath Falls demonstrates what can happen when we pull together for one common goal to end veteran homelessness. Noko Herrera, Ray Ramirez and Savannah Hardy, the CAPO SSVF team, are always ready to take action to assist some of our most vulnerable veterans in Klamath Falls.

*Code name used to maintain client’s anonymity.

Community Action National Impact Report

Our colleagues at the National Community Action Partnership published their national impact report earlier this year. Community Action National Impact Report: Building Opportunity for All is a comprehensive look at the impact of the work done by our Community Action agencies throughout the nation.

Additionally, released this month is a one-pager summarizing the most notable findings from the report. This abbreviated version is a great way to share the work Community Action does and show the tangible impact of the services you provide.

You can order copies of both the full impact report and/or the one-pager by using this form. These and other materials can be found on the NCAP website.

Local Students Complete Class Requirements, Perform Community Service by Volunteering with ACCESS

Senior projects, college internships, community service hours, and more

In the spring of 2017, Crater High School student Andrew Morris was looking for a senior project that would help people in his community. He was already volunteering once a week at ACCESS in the Durable Medical Equipment department when he contacted ACCESS Volunteer Specialist Chris Kline to learn about other opportunities.

Pictured: The Pig Pals 4-H crew who recently helped repack food boxes in the ACCESS warehouse to help feed the hungry in Jackson County.

Kline connected Morris with ACCESS’ Nutrition department and together they organized a significant fresh produce distribution to the West Main Church of Christ in Medford.

“It was exactly what I was looking for,” says Morris. “It met all the parameters of my senior project and it was fun, too. I learned a lot.”

Students of all ages have found ways to meet class requirements at ACCESS, even if they only need a couple of hours. In December, 11 students from South Medford High School’s Interact Club volunteered to accept donations and pass out candy canes during the annual Greystone Court Holiday Food Drive. Internships are occasionally available for college students as well.

“One of the strengths of our volunteer program is the variety of opportunities,” says Kline. “Along with our food pantry partners and community gardens, we often have canned food drives, warehouse repacks and annual events on-site and off. Often it’s just a matter of matching up someone’s availability with the needs that we have.”

To volunteer with ACCESS or to learn more, call (541) 774-4315 or email ckline@accesshelps.org.

Submitted by ACCESS

ACCESS and Community Partners Join Forces with Local Law Enforcement to Address Homelessness

When I think of community partners, I frequently think of other nonprofit Community Action agencies that I work with on a daily basis, whether I am referring participants to them or they are referring participants to ACCESS. I have, for the most part, not thought of our local police departments as a community partner in the same way as ACCESS, RVVCO, Easterseals, and others. After some consideration, I realize that this is wrong thinking on my part.

Every month, the Medford and Central Point Police Departments, the Jackson County Sheriff Department and Adult Probation and Parole conduct a Greenway Sweep to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the greenway in Jackson County. It is a safety concern for the residents and the people who are sleeping along the greenway. As an ACCESS/SSVF (Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families) employee, I have been going along on these sweeps for several months; I admire the consideration, the compassion, and the understanding these officers show as they conduct their sweep.

Our local police and law enforcement departments are acutely and painfully aware of the fact that the community members they must ticket for trespassing along the greenway, for the most part, have no other place to go. So, to encourage the individuals they ticket to seek help and assistance from community partners, the police department:

  1. Puts out the word to local Community Action agencies that they can come along on these monthly sweeps to offer their services to those trespassing on the greenway.
  2. Discards the ticket if the person receiving the tickets reaches out for services. The service provider contacts the lead police officer for the sweep to let the officer know that person is seeking services.

The willingness of local law enforcement agencies to think outside of the box in serving our community, helps ACCESS and our community partners to lead people experiencing homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Submitted by Kevin Knapp
ACCESS/SSVF Outreach
kknapp@accesshelps.org

MWVCAA Gets Salem Residents Out of the Cold

Intersectional Collaboration of Partners Is Saving Lives through Salem Warming Network Warming Centers

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, in collaboration with area services, is dedicated to saving lives this winter season through the activation of warming centers. This initiative is produced via the Salem Warming Network. Centers are open to anyone who is homeless and housing unstable, including their pets.

The network is comprised of three fixed sites. Salem First Presbyterian Church is the primary location: opening each activation due to its proximity to the downtown core. Two auxiliary sites, Church at the Park and South Salem Friends Church, serve as other home bases for guests. Currently, the network capacity can support 189 guests and has the ability to transport free of charge.

Each of the Warming Centers offer hot beverages, a comfortable mat, and a blanket. This year, the activation range changed from 27 degrees to 32 degrees following input from volunteers and the community; this change has received positive responses and helps further the networks mission: to save lives.

So far this Warming Season, which spans from November 1-March 31, the Network has:

  • activated 14 nights,
  • serving 811 guests,
  • with the support of 102 volunteers
  • giving a total of 1,540 hours.

The Salem community has continued to support warming efforts by donating tea and coffee, hundreds of knitted scarves and hats, and socks for guests. To improve accessibility, a Warming Center Information Line has been created. The voicemail is updated daily with the status of the warming center and open locations.

This Warming Center Network is truly a working collaborative between entities and is a prime representation of a multifaceted service delivery model. The City of Salem supports the Warming Network by providing funds to reimburse sites for utility costs incurred by hosting a warming center; with further support provided by the city’s Fire Marshalls to help improve site capacity and safety. Congregations Helping People helps facilitate these reimbursements.

Additional partnerships with Willamette Valley Yellow Cab and Cherriots (city bus) help the network by offering free transportation to guests accessing Warming Centers. It is this transportation to/from unsheltered camps, and between sites, that helps eliminate barriers to accessing warming services. For families who visit warming centers, Family Promise has committed to offer alternate sheltering services.

Lastly, Willamette Valley Humane Society provided 18 kennels in order to help house pets who access sites with their owners.

Breaking Ground – 18th Street Development

On October 11, Community Action Team, Inc. (CAT) in St. Helens hosted a gathering of local and state officials, planners, project funders, building professionals, and interested citizens to celebrate the ground breaking of the new 18th Street Development, a 16-unit multifamily affordable housing complex.

This long-awaited and now imminent housing solution will take shape on a small tract of land along 18th Street between Columbia Blvd. and St. Helens Street in St. Helens.

Margaret Salazar, Director, Oregon Housing and Community Services; Senator Betsy Johnson; Joanne Sheehy, Oregon Housing and Community Services; Dan Brown, Executive Director, Community Action Team, Inc.; Nina Reed, President, Self-Help, Inc.

Owned and donated to the project by Columbia County Self-Help, Inc., the property is set to emerge as the address of sixteen 400-square-foot units, each tagged at a little over $100,000 for a total project cost of $1.633 million.

Self-Help, Inc. President, Nina Reed says that, while small in size, this number of available units will chip away at a big problem in Columbia County.

CAT Executive Director Dan Brown’s pointed remarks from the podium summed up the area’s present condition. “A recently completed housing study identified only 1,200 units of low-income affordable housing in Columbia County. The same study documented the current demand for an additional 1,900. That’s 1,900 more units required TODAY just to respond to the immediate needs of our most vulnerable population. That’s 160% more affordable units than are available right now in Columbia County.”

In 2016, former CAT director, Jim Tierney, submitted the funding application for 18th Street Development to Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). Once on the drawing board, the collaborative efforts of key local and state individuals and entities advanced the project through the planning stages to its now near launch. A special thanks goes to HomeFirst Development (Fairview, OR), whose vision is to help mission-driven organizations build quality, affordable housing.

Rich & Ellen Bailey, Rich Bailey Construction; Robert Justus, Principal, HomeFirst Development; Ben Pray, Principal, HomeFirst Development; Tony Jones, Project Manager, HomeFirst Development; & Doug Circosta, Architect, HomeFirst Development.

The first deposit in CAT’s 18th Street Development kitty came from Oregon Housing and Community Services’ LIFT fund (Local Innovation and Fast Track) in the amount of $608,000. A year later, Wauna Credit Union came through with a lending finance package that added $675,000 to the purse. Unfortunately, construction costs rose by $350,000 during that waiting period. Thanks to eleventh-hour intervention by State Senator Betsy Johnson and OHCS Director, Margaret Salazar, a grant from OHCS’s Mental Health Housing Fund came through to make up the difference.

The development is slated to be completed by June 2019, and fully occupied by August 2019.

Submitted by:
Community Action Team

Weatherization Day at the Capitol

We celebrated Weatherization Day, and were joined by James LaBar from the Governor’s Office.  Randy Olson, Jessi Adams and Rogelio Cortes, represented the Community Action network’s weatherization and energy programs by educating Housing Stability Council members on how weatherizing homes improves the health and safety of families, reduces energy bills and preserves affordable housing stock.

Thank you Community Action for your hard work and commitment to improving the lives of low-income families in Oregon.

From left to right: Kurt Pugh, OHCS, Jessi Adams, CAO, Rogelio Cortes, Mid-Willamette, Randy Olson, CAO, Janet Merrell, CAPO, Dan Elliott, OHCS, James LaBar, Governor’s Office, Michael Figueredo, OHCS, Anna Geller, Housing Stability Councilperson, Sarah Mentzer, OHCS, Val Valfre, Chair, Housing Stability Council, Mary Li, Housing Stability Councilperson, Zee Koza, Housing Stability Councilperson, Claire Seguin, Deputy Director, Housing Stabilization, OHCS, Margaret Salazar, Director, OHCS