Q&A with our Executive Support & Board Relations Coordinator, Eduardo Moreno

Q. How did you wind up at Northwest Health Foundation?

A. Before coming to NWHF, I spent over five years working as a mentor coordinator for culturally specific and extended day programs at several schools in Portland. The summer of 2012, I learned that a community leader and someone I looked up to (Nichole June Maher) would be leaving the NAYA Family Center to serve as president of NWHF. At that time, I didn't know what NWHF did exactly, but I was very familiar with Nichole's work in the community via the JustPortland Steering Committee and NAYA. Before she started at NWHF, Nichole and I had several conversations about the many community organizations NWHF partnered with and the very exciting world of grant making. A month after Nichole started here, I decided to apply for the Board/Exec Support position, because I had a good feeling that this organization would maximize all of my talents and broaden my knowledge of community-based organizations across the state... and, boy, was I right!

Q. What is a typical day like in the life of Eddie?

A. First forty minutes of my day: Wake up. Get ready. Find a Car2Go. First ten minutes at work: Say good morning to Lalin. Grab a cup of coffee. Log in to my computer... and that's about the only consistency I have in my daily life. I'm never bored, and I love having every day look absolutely different.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about Oregon Active Schools and the role you play in that project?

A. A little… hmmm… well there are many moving parts, but, in general, we have a partnership with Nike and Kaiser Permanente Northwest. The partnership created 102 focused grants to elementary schools in Oregon and promotes the Let's Move! Active Schools campaign. I love the Oregon Active Schools partnership not only because I get to work with a great team from Nike and KPNW, but because my days are spent reconnecting with my education peeps. I know that resource-constrained schools will benefit from this opportunity to get kids moving for at least 60 minutes a day before, during and after school. I have conversations with PE specialists, principals and superintendents about the $3000 grants to promote physical activity in their schools. No one has turned us away to date. I collect their stories, share best practices and connect schools to other funding opportunities.

Q. How does Oregon Active Schools fit into the Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative?

A. Oregon Active Schools fits into HB+HC for many reasons, but, simply put, we want to inspire a lifelong love of movement and bring the many benefits of physical activity to every child in Oregon. We know that active kids do better. They are healthier, and they perform better academically. Having healthier active students will contribute to our community’s overall health.

Q. What do you love about Oregon & SW Washington?

A. Too many things to list, but I'll go with how much I love our beautiful scenery. The trees, rivers, mountains, etc. are very unique to our region.

Q. What would you change?

A. The cost of a plane ticket to San Diego! I wish it was less expensive so I could visit my family and friends more often, or fly them up here more often.

Q. What is your favorite day of the week and why?

A. Tuesday, because I get together with my best friend (we call it binner), and we try out new restaurants/bars or revisit our favorite places.

Q. If you could recommend any musical artist to the readers of this Q&A, what would you recommend?

A. I don't have one artist in particular, but I highly recommend that everyone play music while they cook. Every dish I make is inspired by whatever Pandora station I am feeling that day, and I've been told it is reflected in my cooking. If you decide to try this, make sure to invite me over for dinner. I'll bring the wine!

Video: Investing Against Inequities

City Club of Portland Friday Forum: Investing Against Inequities - What's a funder to do?

Presented on April 10, 2015

Moderator: Nichole June Maher, President & CEO of Northwest Health Foundation

Panelists: Sharon Gary-Smith, Executive Director at MRG Foundation; Keith Thomajan, President & CEO of United Way of Columbia-Willamette; Kevin Walker, President & CEO of Northwest Area Foundation and Max Williams, President & CEO of Oregon Community Foundation 

Request for Ideas & PROPOSALS: Advocacy Training

We want to hear from you about how we can encourage regular trainings that build civic engagement and advocacy for community members and organizations. We are asking you to submit your ideas by May 4, 2014. We'll select 1-2 of your ideas and work with you to make them reality.

Read More

Announcing our 2015 Oregon Youth Photo Contest Winners

It's Public Health Week! And you know what that means... Time to announce our Oregon Youth Photo Contest winners!

Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Health Authority could not have been more pleased with the 95 submissions we received this year from youth across the state of Oregon. The participants did an amazing job capturing this year's theme: My Community Makes Me Better! You can see the twenty finalists and first, second and third place winners here. Their photos will be displayed in the Oregon Health Authority lobby in Portland all day Thursday, and we hope you'll take the time to check them out.

A special congratulations to our top three, Justyce Chaney, Jenny Kim and Gladys Rodriguez! And thank you to all of our educators and their students for participating!

Video: NWHF Asks the Communities

Our HB+HC Organizing Grant Communities answered these questions: What does health mean to you? What does community capacity mean to you? How can we help communities improve health?

Watch the video to find out how they answered.

Q&A with NWHF Board Member, Phil Wu

Phil participated in our first ever Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Gathering on March 9, 10 and 11 at Kahneeta Resort & Spa in Warm Springs, OR. Here's what he thought about it:

Q. What did you takeaway from the HB+HC Organizing Grant Communities Gathering in March?

A. We had twenty-five very diverse communities from all parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, and every community identified and expressed a unique challenge they intend to meet with passion, commitment and leadership. For me, the Gathering highlighted the fact that for many communities the HB+HC framework (or health compass) is a different way of thinking about their work, and they are just at the beginning of the process. Not all of their thoughts have crystallized, nor can they answer all of the questions posed by the compass.

Q. Who did you meet at the Gathering?

A. It was a whirlwind! I wish I could remember every person and conversation that I experienced during the two days, but this won't be possible. For me, it was great to see some names and faces from organizations that I already know. On the other hand, meeting smart, thoughtful and dedicated people from across the state was inspirational.

Q. What stories did you hear that stuck in your mind?

A. While every story is significant, hearing the voices of youth expressed through the Momentum Alliance always tugs at my heart!

Q. What was the most impactful part of the Gathering for you?

A. For me, two parts: First, the small group exercise at the beginning of the Gathering during which tables of five or six grappled with a "blank" HB+HC health compass was telling! For many at that point there were more questions than answers, and this provoked significant thought! Second, I thought the concept of "power" was identified and effectively framed throughout the Gathering.

Q. What was your favorite part of the Gathering?

A. Again, two parts: First, the four-minute stories introducing each community were inspirational and fun! Second, I could have done nothing more during the two days than share food and have open-ended chats!

Q. What are you excited about for the future of the Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative?

A. For me what's most exciting is the building of capacity and "power" of the various communities almost regardless of the outcomes they achieve. And most importantly, a framework will have been created that will help continue the work beyond the Initiative itself.

And, bonus questions!

Q. What is a day like in the life of Phil Wu?

A. OMG! One day is never like the next! With my "semi-retired" status, my days are filled with activities that I truly WANT to do. These include my commitments to Northwest Health Foundation, Community Benefit at Kaiser Permanente and other community endeavors. I also always include time for swimming, walking and cycling, and I always think about great coffee, bread, beer and wine!

Q. What is your favorite cartoon character?

A. I used to draw a variation of Pig Pen: A curious character with a head completely covered in long, unkempt hair, big protruding hands and feet, and no body! This must be an alter ego.

Dental Health Awards Announced

The Oregon Community Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and other funding partners are happy to announce that we have awarded fifteen grants to improve children's dental health.

Healthy teeth is more than just preventing cavities. A child with tooth pain has difficulty paying attention in school, spends fewer hours in the classroom and ends up further behind their peers. With this funding strategy, we will improve educational outcomes by supporting the growth of comprehensive children's dental health programs in school settings. These programs will reach communities and regions in Oregon where kids are disproportionately affected by poor dental health.

The grant recipients include:

  • Centro Cultural of Washington County
  • Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties
  • Intermountain Education Service District
  • Kemple Memorial Children's Dental Clinic
  • La Clinica del Valle Family Health Care Center, Inc.
  • Lake Health District
  • Mercy Foundation
  • North Clackamas School District
  • One Community Health
  • Providence Seaside Hospital Foundation
  • Salem-Keizer School District
  • South Lane Children's Dental Clinic
  • Tillamook School District
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation
  • White Bird Clinic

This funding strategy represents one of Northwest Health Foundation's Regional Improvements, a program in our Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative

Q&A with Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership, Suk Rhee

Q. What journey did you take to get here?

A. As for so many, my journey started many generations ago. Mine begins (at least) with my grandparents, whose experiences eventually led our family to immigrate to America. The link between their journey and my arrival at NWHF is that I answered a "Help Wanted" ad in The Asian Reporter.

Q. You just celebrated your tenth anniversary at NWHF. Congratulations! What is the greatest change that you have seen at NWHF in the last ten years?

A. It has taken at least a decade, and we are still in the process, but I would say that it has been changing how we see the world and our place in it.

Q. What is the greatest change that you have seen in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the last ten years?

A. Ten years relative to the age of the earth, I would have to say almost nothing has changed. A decade relative to human life, I would say quite a lot. And relative to the journey of self-determining communities... well, I do not have the wisdom or perspective to say for sure. Personally, though, I hope we look back at the first decade of the 21st century and are able to say that it was the end of the 20th century mindset.

Q. What is one of your favorite NWHF memories?

A. There are so many, especially those that we have shared with our community partners. There are also private moments, when we have laughed and, sometimes, cried together. Whenever we feel and experience deeply together, those are memorable to me.

Q. What are you most looking forward to for the future?

A. Creating it, through the choices and contributions we make today. And high speed rail (the future circa 1965).

Q. Would you rather have to stay in the Pacific Northwest for the rest of your life, or never be allowed to visit or live in the Pacific Northwest again?

A. This is a diabolical question, indeed. Being forced to answer it, I would choose the latter. I inherited a nomadic spirit from my family. My soul could not bear it if it could not be in the whole wide world. That said, I'm likely to go rogue... if you're willing to help me go underground, the code word is "OR-7."

Q. If you could suddenly be an expert at any one thing, what would you choose?

A. The physics and philosophy of the multiverse.

 

Q&A with New Board Member, Marjorie McGee

Q.  When and how did you first become involved with NWHF?

A.  I first learned about NWHF in 2004/05 when I went to a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Conference hosted by Northwest Health Foundation. This conference was my first exposure to CBPR and NWHF. I became very interested in CBPR, particularly with the emphasis on equity in the research processes and on making research relevant to communities. Later I worked on the steering committee for the 2006 NWHF CBPR Conference. 

Q.  As a new NWHF board member, what are you most excited about?

A.  I am really very excited about the Learning Together and Connecting Communities initiative with the inclusion of disability as an axis of diversity (and not just a health outcome to prevent). I especially appreciate the focus by NWHF on making it easier for marginalized communities to build capacity within their communities to address the social and health inequities. I am looking forward to being a part of this work and to learning more from other NWHF board members, staff and partners in the process. 

Q. How do you relate to NWHF's mission and values?

A.  As a member of a community, I am accustomed to well-intentioned organizations working in ways that are very disempowering. NWHF values of equity and mission in building community capacity to improve health and reduce health inequities resonates with my own values. 

Q.  What is a day like in the life of Marjorie McGee?

A. I usually start my day with coffee and the New York Times. Then on to work. I try to focus on the mental tasks first thing, which for me usually means working on a research project. If it’s a gym day, I go to the gym; otherwise it’s a short lunch and back to the office for more work. Then I go home and have dinner with my partner. We try to have some down time together at the end of each day chatting and watching Netflix or something on TV. 

Q.  If you could change one thing in your community, what would you change?

A. People’s lives are complex. Because of that complexity we have to restrain our eagerness to simplify that complexity.

Q. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

A. Japanese food. Itadakimasu!

Q. What is your ideal vacation?

A. I love quietness, nature, photography, culture, learning and exploration. Thus my ideal vacation is combining all of that, with periods for rest and reflection. Usually sea kayaking fills this desire. Or traveling abroad. The best vacation is when I am able to recharge my batteries, so to speak. 

2014 Year in Review

2014 WAS A YEAR FOR MAKING THINGS HAPPEN.

We welcomed four new staff members. We launched a new brand. We worked toward better representing disability in our conversations and organizational practices. We traveled all over Oregon and Southwest Washington for conferences and community outreach. We hosted gatherings for our funded partners. We revitalized and celebrated existing initiatives and launched new ones. And we had a lot of fun doing it!


Announcing Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Organizing Grant Communities

As part of our Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative, we have awarded 25 communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington $30,000 each in grant funds. 

 

Over the next year, these communities will use their grant funds to organize themselves for five-year Community-Based Partnerships. Of the 25 Organizing Grant Communities, up to 10 will be selected for Community-Based Partnerships beginning in 2016. These partners will join NWHF in transforming institutions, programs and policies to deliver better outcomes in early life, equity and community health.

We look forward to working with all of the Organizing Grant Communities, who hope to impact everything from African maternal and child health, to families impacted by or at risk for family violence and sexual abuse, to rural Latino communities, and much more. With the support of our partners, Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities will help communities improve health, from birth to high school, by 2020.

We are looking for an intern!

We are looking for an administrative intern! Applications will be accepted until January 30th. The internship is available for a junior, senior or recent college graduate in/from Oregon or Southwest Washington. The intern must be available for 20 to 25 hours a week and will be compensated with a $1,000 monthly stipend. Although there is a good amount of administrative work, the Internship Program provides interns with multiple opportunities to develop themselves professionally, enhance leadership skills, gain real-world work experience, broaden their understanding of the nonprofit community and the issues addressed, and become familiar with concepts of racial equity and community leadership.

Introducing Our Two New Board Members

In 2015 we welcome two new members to our governing board: Andrea Miller and Marjorie McGee, Ph.D. They fill spots left by Mark Hass and Jim Meyer, who stepped down at the end of 2014.

 

Andrea became the Executive Director of Causa, Oregon's statewide Latino immigrant rights organization in September 2013. Prior to her current role, she was Causa's Associate Director and has been with the organization since 2009.

Read more about Andrea...

 

Marjorie is a disability studies scholar who received her doctorate in Social Work and Social Research at PSU. She currently works as a Research Associate in the Center for Student Success in the Graduate School of Education at PSU, where she conducts research intended to address the problem of educational inequities.

Read more about Marjorie...

 

We're excited to learn more about Andrea and Marjorie's diverse perspectives and look forward to their impact on the Foundation.

Q&A with our Vice President of Finance, Jason Hilton

Q. How did you end up at Northwest Health Foundation?

A. Well, Nichole really wanted a colleague of mine for this position. As I was helping her vet this opportunity against her passions and desired skill set, she elected to pass. However, through the process it became clear to both of us that my skill set and abilities could add value to the organization. So I did some research on Nichole and the history of the organization and pursued the opportunity.

Q. Describe a day in the life of Jason.

A. I wake up, feed my labraweenie and drive to work. I spend my mornings reviewing and reconciling investment activity and reviewing our cash needs. Usually by 10:30 a.m. I am working on a problem with the building. The afternoons are dedicated to strategic process improvement and impact investing. Then I go home and feed my labraweenie.

Q. What are your goals for your work at NWHF? What do you hope to accomplish?

A. To help maximize the impact of Northwest Health Foundation by devising innovative impact investing strategies, improving managerial tools and contributing to the strategic vision of NWHF.

Q. What has been your favorite moment at NWHF so far?

A. (1) On a trip to Curry County getting to spend fireside time with colleagues discussing each other's personal and professional journeys. (2) My first day at NWHF we participated in a kickball tournament for Playworks. It was a great way to interact with the NWHF team and see how bad philanthropists are at athletic events. I was convinced that part of the decision to hire me may have been to help the kickball team.

Q. What was the hardest part of creating NWHF's 2015 budget?

A. Predicting the allocation of time and grant activity across the numerous donor advised programs we service on behalf of our funding partners.

Q. What is your best piece of financial advice?

A. Don't get lost in the woods. Keep focused on the big picture.

Q. What is your best piece of fishing advice?

A. Go fishing during the week, not on the weekends. I'm jealous of people who can do that regularly.

Q. What is your favorite part of the holidays? Least favorite?

A. My favorite part of the holidays is creating memories with loved ones. My least favorite is shopping.

Q. Do you have a New Years resolution for 2015?

A. To exercise more and take my daughters rafting.

Announcing our new KPCF Funded Partners

The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund (KPCF) is pleased to award more than $2.5 million in grant funds to 19 organizations that improve health in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Awarded annually since 2004, these grants address the “upstream” or underlying factors that impact community health. 

For the last three years the fund has focused on three specific social determinants of health: early life & childhood development, educational attainment and economic opportunity. This year's organizations include:

Early Life & Childhood Development

  • Black Parent Initiative
  • Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette and Central Coast
  • Multnomah County Health Department, Community Health Services
  • Northwest Regional ESD Foundation
  • NW Down Syndrome Association
  • Oregon Oral Health Coalition
  • ROSE Community Development Corporation
  • Western States Center

Educational Attainment

  • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
  • Muslim Educational Trust
  • Open Meadow Alternative Schools
  • CAPACES Leadership Institute
  • Native American Youth and Family Center
  • Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality

Economic Opportunity  

  • Family Forward Oregon
  • Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Janus Youth Programs, Inc.
  • Portland African American Leadership Forum
  • The Rosewood Initiative

For too many of us, conditions where we’re born, learn and live limit our choices and our opportunity to be healthy. The 19 organizations listed above are tackling these conditions in innovative ways that are driven by the very communities they seek to impact. We’re honored to support this kind of work and look forward to the effect these organizations will have on the health of our region.

If you would like to learn more about these organizations and the amazing work they are doing, please follow Northwest Health Foundation on Facebook. We will be highlighting each of our new funded partners in the coming weeks.

How to Include People of all Abilities

Our Learning Together & Connecting Communities cohort Getting to know one another at our first Gathering.

Our Learning Together & Connecting Communities cohort Getting to know one another at our first Gathering.

Our Learning Together & Connecting Communities initiative is all about learning from one another and building relationships. So, on November 9th and 10th we hosted our first gathering with our Learning Together partners in Welches, Oregon. This included staff, clients and board members from nine organizations: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Oregon), Autism Empowerment, Umpqua Valley disAbilities Network (UVdN), David’s Harp, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Disability Art and Culture Project (DACP), OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and ourselves, Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF).

For Northwest Health Foundation, the greatest benefit of this gathering was the opportunity to learn how we can include everyone, regardless of ability, in future conversations and events. As it turns out it, it isn’t as difficult as it seems.

The key to inclusiveness is to ask, in as many ways as possible, as often as possible, what people need to participate. Ask as soon as a relationship is established. Ask a couple of months prior to a conversation or event. Ask again in the weeks leading up to an event. Ask at events. And ask post-conversation/event.

For this particular gathering,  NWHF started working with participants to make accommodations for physical and mental Disabilities in September. Prior to the event, we secured ADA compliant rooms at The Resort at the Mountain. We hired ASL interpreters. We worked extra breaks into the agenda for those who needed sensory breaks, and we planned a variety of activities (one-on-one, small group and large group, as well as visual, verbal, written, and kinetic) for people with diverse learning styles. 

At the event, we went around the room and asked each participant, whether or not they identified as Disabled, to voice how the rest of the group could help them feel included. One participant requested that we show appreciation with silent applause. Many participants asked that we leave pauses in the conversation so that everyone could have the chance to join in without having to talk over one another. Another participant said that dancing helped him participate. We managed to incorporate all of these requests with little extra effort.

Now that the event is over, our next step is to send a follow-up survey to our gathering participants. We will ask them whether they felt included or excluded at the gathering and why, and we will use the answers we receive to improve future events and conversations.

Organizations should be in the habit of asking these questions of everyone, because everyone should be able to participate in every event and conversation regardless of ability. Even people who do not identify as Disabled can benefit from this.

Northwest Health Foundation cannot say that we are experts in this area—not even close. In the past we have not been the best example of these behaviors. However, with the help of our partners, we are learning, and we hope to share that learning with the rest of our Oregon and Southwest Washington community.

In the meantime, check out this awesome music video made by one of our amazing Learning Together partners: Disability Art & Culture Project.

 

Q&A with our Equity Committee Chair, Darleen Ortega

Ortega_Darleen.jpg

Q. How did you get involved in Northwest Health Foundation?

A. I was recruited to the board. I am not sure how my name came up.

Q. What is your role on NWHF's board?

A. Currently I serve as chair of the Equity Committee, and also as a member of the Community Engagement Committee.

Q.  What have you learned so far from NWHF’s Learning Together & Connecting Communities project?

 

A.  It has been very inspiring to learn about some of the amazing work that is being done to address the needs of people with disabilities. Also, I think my thinking has deepened a lot about how important it is to treat persons with disabilities as whole persons and not just make their disability the focus. That sounds so obvious when you say it, but it is a common mistake that I have made myself.

Q.  How do you think the Learning Together & Connecting Communities project will change NWHF’s foundational practices?

A.  It is not enough to have the intention to fund more of the work of organizations who work with people with disabilities. Without relationships, we leave our own blind spots intact and cannot make decisions that are likely to have the most impact. We need to empower others who have been working for a long time on such issues to broaden their impact and find ways to collaborate. I think this project will help us be a more effective participant in work that has already been done. It will help us to ask better questions of others and ourselves. 

Q.  What has been your favorite moment at NWHF?

A.  There are so many.  I really doubted what I could contribute early on but have found work to do that is deeply meaningful to me. I still doubt how much I have contributed but am so grateful for the opportunity to work on equity issues in an organization that is really willing to ask hard questions and work on such issues. NWHF is often the only place I can ask certain questions or raise certain issues and not pay a heavy price, and have some hope of others engaging with those questions and issues.

Q.  How do you relate to NWHF’s mission and values?

A.  I have spent my career harboring deep concern for the overlooked experiences and needs of oppressed and underrepresented communities. Most of my work has been in the arena of law, but NWHF has deepened my awareness of the health impacts of the same disparities that have troubled me for my entire career.

Q.  What do you do for your day job?

A.  I am a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals.  I preside over a panel of three judges and we review all kinds of cases that come through the state courts and administrative agencies.

Q.  How do you define “health?”

A.  My idea of health includes the whole person: their physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.  Health also includes all that is true about a given individual: his or her cultural context, family of origin, gender and sexual identity, and physical gifts and limitations. All of us need healing from time-to-time, but we don't need fixing. We do need understanding.

Q.  If you could change one thing in your community, what would you change?

A.  I would like for all of my communities to be more genuinely embracing of difference and to be constantly interested in hearing perspectives that are currently unrepresented or have been historically underpresented.

Q.  Would you rather be a deep sea diver or an astronaut?

A. An astronaut.

 

Q&A with our Grants Administrator, Fannie Black

Q. Describe a day in the life of Fannie.

A typical day starts with emails and phone calls: responding to inquiries about funding opportunities, resolving issues with our grantee portals or answering/asking questions related to specific grants. Even at times when we don’t have active grant cycles, there is still so much to do. Of course there are also meetings, and the ones I really enjoy are with our community partners, because that’s where I get to learn more about the great work our partners are doing. Those meetings also give me the opportunity to get to know the people doing that work and what inspires and motivates them.

These days I’ve been spending a lot of time on a data migration project. We’re moving our grants management system to a new platform. It’s probably not exciting for most people, but it’s been exciting for me to learn something new and create a more user friendly process for our staff and community partners.

There is also a lot of laughter thrown in there too throughout the day. We love to laugh in the office!

Q. What do you enjoy most about working at NWHF?

I really enjoy learning about our community partners and the work that they’re doing. Before coming to the Foundation, I really wasn’t aware of all the nonprofits in Oregon and SW Washington doing amazing work to improve the overall health of the region. There were some organizations I was familiar with, but I didn’t know what they actually did. It’s also great to see how those organizations partner with each other to make their visions a reality.

I also enjoy working with my colleagues here at the Foundation, as I said before, we love to laugh in the office. We don’t just get along here. The care and respect we have for each other shows every day in how we engage and work with each other. I think the teasing and joking around helps us keep a good balance of work and play in the office. Although our days are busy, we find time to throw some fun in the mix.

Q. How are you currently involved with the Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative?

As the Grant Administrator, I handle a lot of the behind the scenes work to bring our grant opportunities to our partners. From building the grant application, to resolving any technical issues, to ensuring applications are complete, and finally generating grant agreements, I am involved before the grant cycle opens and well after it closes.

Q. If you could change any one thing in your community, what would you change?

My “community” is always expanding. As a multiracial individual, I am part of multiple communities of color, and as an Alaskan my geographic community has expanded to Oregon. Among all of these communities there are some unique issues each faces, but there are some overlapping issues, around social inequity for example, that I would like to see changed. Since coming to the Foundation, I’ve learned so much about the external factors that impact one’s health and the health of communities. One change I would like to see is for the focus of health to be more holistic and community-focused rather than just focused on an individual’s physical health. Our social and physical environment, families, education, access to healthy food options, access to parks, access to affordable healthcare... all of these things impact our health. When focusing just on the physical health of an individual, you miss the whole picture by not taking into account all of those other factors that we may not necessarily have control of.

Q. How do you relate to NWHF’s mission?

The Foundation’s holistic vision of health and support of community-led solutions definitely resonates with me personally. As a Yup’ik Eskimo, a lot of our traditional cultural practices promote and support a healthy lifestyle. Those practices are not only physical, but emotional, spiritual and environmental. For example, subsistence hunting touches on all of these aspects. You have to be physically fit to hunt for wild game. When you get your first catch it is celebrated and the food is shared with the community. You give thanks for a successful hunt, and you don’t hunt for more than what you need. When someone doesn’t have the ability or resources to hunt for their food, they are not forgotten but are supported by the community. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization that has a mission and values that align with my own.

Q. What was/is your favorite subject in school?

A. I love math. I looked forward to doing my math homework, and then I chose a college degree where I got to do math all the time. I don’t get to do much math in my graduate studies, but when I do I definitely look forward to it. In my 5th grade class we had these timed math tests: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with a bunch of problems. You had to see how many you could complete in the time allotted, and of those how many you got correct. It always came down to me and one other student.

I loved those quizzes! And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I recreated them when I was in college, and I’ve recently thought about doing that again. I actually have a couple friends who are interested in taking them with me. It’ll be fun, and I play to win!

Q.  If you had a theme song, what would it be?

A. So I have a friend that loves to sing that “Take a load off Fannie” song to me almost every time we see each other. It’s kind of become my song now, so many people have sung it to me, and I just love that it inspires people to serenade me! So please, sing away!

I have to be honest though. I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, but I definitely connect with the chorus line. I don’t just love it because it has my name in it. We all feel the weight of things every day, in our personal and work lives, and sometimes it’s not easy to lighten that weight, or there may be factors that are out of your control. But, having colleagues or friends and family that can help lighten that load is so important. I feel fortunate that I have that kind of support here at the Foundation.

 

Announcing our Learning Together & Connecting Communities Grant Recipients!

Northwest Health Foundation is thrilled to announce the grant recipients of our Learning Together and Connecting Communities Project.

Grants were awarded to eight organizations: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Autism Empowerment, Umpqua Valley disAbilities Network, David’s Harp, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Disability Art and Culture Project, and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.

The Learning Together and Connecting Communities Project aims to strengthen the capacity of communities of people with disabilities to organize, and to build relationships among communities for a broader conversation about disability and race, ethnicity and geography.