Pamela Jacklin vividly remembers a trip she took to the Oregon coast in the early 1990s with one of the first classes of I Have a Dream Oregon. The now-retired partner at Stoel Rives was squeezed into a school bus crowded with Portland fifth graders, many of whom had never even been west of the Willamette River.
“We came up over a hill and we could see the beach for the first time,” she recalls. “Several kids yelled out at the same time, ‘Look, look, snow! Snow on the ocean!’ They’d never seen the ocean before, so they didn’t know that it was foam.”
Founded in 1990 by Jacklin and two other partners, I Have a Dream Oregon is devoted to making these sorts of experiences possible for the city’s most disadvantaged kids, making mentors, tutoring, and after-school programs available to elementary schoolers. In 2011 IHD “adopted” Alder Elementary School, making its resources available to an entire school and bringing IHD’s enrollment from from 1,000 kids over 20 years to 1,500 in just one year. According to IHD’s CEO Mark Langseth, while Stoel Rives prefers to stay out of the spotlight the law firm’s support has been crucial to the program’s longevity: $800,000 in contributions; countless volunteer hours; space, event, and food donations; plus pro bono legal advice.
“Without the early and continued leadership of Stoel,” says Langseth, “we just wouldn’t be where we are today.”