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Help us make an impact! During this giving season, consider a gift to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.

All donations will be doubled for the rest of 2022!

Presented by United Way December 1, 2022

Our inaugural Community Impact Week featured 30 volunteer events across our region creating impact thanks to the more than 600 people who came out to do good work in the community.

Another year is nearing its end, and we at United Way of the Columbia-Willamette look toward to celebrating our accomplishments from this year as we prepare for 2023. We’ve been able to achieve a lot this past year – from focusing efforts on eviction legal defense to inaugurating a brand-new volunteer service event, Community Impact Week. But these accomplishments are far from possible without the support of our many nonprofit partners and YOU, the community that shows up.

Last year, we worked to finalize our strategic plan for the coming years, hired our new president & CEO Kelly O’Lague and created impacts throughout our four impact areas: Housing Stability, Early Education, Crisis and Disaster Resilience and Volunteerism. Working in coordination with Oregon Law Center and Portland Housing Bureau, we’ve distributed more than $1.5 million to those facing eviction by paying eviction costs for more than 250 householdsso they can remain housed. Alongside our Early Learning hubs in Multnomah and Washington counties, we’ve partnered with community-based organizations to support culturally diverse learning opportunities to nearly 18,000 families through group activities, classes and workshops in a multitude of languages. Our disaster and crisis resiliency team received more than $400,000 from the state to “advance equitable disaster resilience through healing-centered, culturally grounded collaborations and actions.” And our intrepid volunteer team at Hands On Greater Portland made 5,802 volunteer connections resulting in more than 14,500 volunteer hours in 2022.

Our investment in Bybee Lakes Hope Center has helped the shelter provide for up to 4,000 participants annually, helping those in our community who are struggling to get back on their feet.

These measurable and important impacts are made possible through our connections with other local nonprofits and donors. We are appealing to our community to end this year with a big push in year-end donations, so we can continue to do the work we know is necessary to build a more resilient community in the coming year.

The entirety of this work is guided by our commitment to racial equity. We strive to lead with racial equity because we know racial inequities can be found in every system across the country — in education, housing, health, criminal justice and more. We also know that in other dimensions of identity — income, gender, sexuality, education, ability, age, etc. — we see compounded inequities tied to race.

We know that structural racism contributes to persistent disparities in our communities, and this reality informs our work every day. At United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, we remain steadfast in our commitment to put racial equity at the center of our work. We continue to embrace and work through the ten tenets of Community Centric Fundraising, moving away from the traditional approach to philanthropy toward a more communal, people-powered and diverse approach. This commitment necessitates that we ask tough questions and sometimes make tough decisions to best serve communities of color. But we know, as staff and as community members, that reordering our work to fit these intentional and equity-driven principles will help us create more impact and build a better organization.

Our vision is to create a just and equitable region where all people can thrive. Our mission is to advance equity by mobilizing, responding and investing with our community partners to improve and strengthen lives.

We invest in eviction prevention assistance to keep people in their homes as well as transitional housing and programs that provide services to create long-term housing stability.

We invest in organizations and programs that focus on communities of color before, during and after a disaster or crisis.

Our Early Learning hubs in Multnomah and Washington counties created thousands of connections between families and schools, focusing on lifting up communities of color and those most impacted by systemically racist systems.

We invest in early education programs focused on children of color because data shows that they are most affected by the inequity in our education system.

And we invest in volunteerism because we believe doing good transforms our community and each of us individually.

Help us embolden these investments by donating to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette today, and together we can build a better community for all. For more information on the work we are doing, visit our website and look through our Impact Report.

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