For the past 12 years, Portland Monthly has celebrated the organizations, volunteers, and board members who shape the city's vibrant nonprofit sector. Meet 2016's Light a Fire honorees—the people making Portland a better place to live, love, give, and grow.

In This Feature:

Drones to LIDAR, the Freshwater Trust Protects America’s Waterways with Surgical Precision

The river-stewarding organization is one of Oregon’s most important environmental nonprofits.

10/10/2016 By Ramona DeNies

Artists Repertory Transforms Its Home into an Incubator for the Future of Local Theater

While still producing shows that give you “all the feels.”

10/10/2016 By Rebecca Jacobson

Friends of Nadaka Unites a Gresham Neighborhood to Create a Park

Complete with bird walks, play spaces, and a community garden—and soon Gresham’s first handicapped-accessible swing.

10/10/2016 By Regina Winkle-Bryan

How SMART Board Member Elizabeth Large Helps Create Confident Readers

Start Making a Reader Today pairs adult volunteers with in-need students.

10/10/2016 By Claire Colby

Cascade AIDS Project Serves More Than 400 People Each Month

In 30 years, CAP has blossomed into a 60-staffer juggernaut, with services ranging from HIV testing to housing and job placement.

10/10/2016 By Kelly Clarke

This Global Branding Agency Helps Portland Street Kids Become Designers

AKQA provides materials, expertise, and guidance. The kids do the rest.

10/10/2016 By Lisa Dunn

How the Portland Community ToolBank Helps Nonprofits Build a Better City

From playgrounds for children to ramps for disabled veterans, the one-employee organization helps nonprofits get projects done.

10/10/2016 By Marty Patail

Meet the Volunteer Tattoo Remover Changing Young People’s Lives

Lesley Segal—internal medicine doctor by day—has spent 14 years at Outside In’s Project Erase tattoo removal program.

10/10/2016 By Eden Dawn

At Bridge Meadows, Derenda Schubert Leads an Innovative Portland Housing Community

The Portsmouth neighborhood community was designed to create a “big family.”

10/10/2016 By Lisa Dunn

Curriculum of Cuisine Teaches Portland’s High School Kids Healthy Choices

The new nonprofit puts real chefs into local classrooms.

10/10/2016 By Ben Tepler

Born in Mexico, 28-Year-Old Cristina Delgado Devotes Herself to Washington County’s Latina Girls

“I have a similar background to many of the Chicas,” says the Adelante Mujeres staffer.

10/10/2016 By Claire Colby

How George Thorn Guides Portland Arts Organizations to Sustainability

The behind-the-scenes master knows how to pull the strings.

10/10/2016 By Fiona McCann