Tracy Oseran of Urban Gleaners accepts the 2015 Light a Fire Award for "Most with the Least"

With civic engagement at an all-time high and more than 22,000 nonprofits hard at work in the state of Oregon, extraordinary acts of community service are everywhere. This year, Portland Monthly marks the 11th anniversary of its Light a Fire Awards, uniting local philanthropic organizations and regional business leaders to celebrate these dedicated groups and individuals.

Awards in 11 categories will honor organizations and individuals who make the Portland metropolitan area more prosperous, beautiful, healthful, and sustainable—in a word, better—for all of our citizens. The winners will be honored both in the pages of Portland Monthly and at the Light a Fire Awards ceremony on October 20, presented by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch.

Nominations for the 2015 awards have been extended through June 5. Visit to learn about past winners and tell us who is raising the bar for everyone.

Organizational Awards

  • Best New Nonprofit: Awarded to an organization incorporated after January 1, 2012
  • Keeping Us Healthy: Awarded to an organization that helps us take care of ourselves—mentally or physically
  • Most with the Least: Awarded to an organization effecting significant change with minimal resources and fewer than five paid staff members
  • Caring for the Planet: Awarded to an organization working in sustainability, conservation, or natural resources protection
  • Inspiring Creativity: Awarded to an organization working to nurture arts and culture in Oregon
  • Game-Changing Project: Recognizes an innovative collaboration that generates a transformative impact for one or more nonprofits

Individual Awards

  • Extraordinary Volunteer: Awarded to a person whose volunteered time and services spur noteworthy change in the nonprofit community
  • Extraordinary Board Member: Awarded to a person whose services as a member of a nonprofit organization’s board enhance that organization’s operations and improve the greater community
  • Extraordinary Executive Director: Awarded to the chief executive officer of a nonprofit whose work transforms his/her organization and the larger community
  • Exceptional Pro Bono Contribution: Awarded to a person (or company) whose contribution of services, supplies, or time to a nonprofit makes possible significant change in the community
  • Lifetime Achievement: Awarded to a person who shows tireless commitment to the nonprofit community over a lifetime of service

In addition to being honored in the November issue of Portland Monthly and at the Light a Fire awards ceremony on October 20, one of the honorees will be awarded the evening’s proceeds. Last year, Urban Gleaners went home with a check for $13,212.

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