We're making some staffing changes

We like to say that we are a small but mighty foundation. After a bittersweet goodbye to our friend and colleague Suk Rhee, we set about retooling some roles to make Northwest Health Foundation that much mightier.

Today, we're excited to announce those changes.

Jesse Beason

Jesse Beason

Jen Matheson

Jen Matheson

Eduardo Moreno

Eduardo Moreno

Jesse Beason is now our Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs. Jen Matheson is our Director of Programs, providing oversight for NWHF's grantmaking initiatives and programs. Michael Reyes Andrillon and Eduardo Moreno will be our Community Engagement Officers, and Laura Nash, Communications Manager, will increase her hours, joining us full-time to lend support to our program team.

We can't think of a better team of ten to drive our vision for health and our foundation for action!

Denise Piza: We're All Just People

This blog is the second in a series of posts celebrating elected leaders who reflect our equity priorities. At Northwest Health Foundation, we know communities need the power and resources to sit at decision-making tables, to help dispel beliefs and practices that do not promote their health, and to help shape those that do. From local school boards to the state legislature, parents and families should have a voice.

Close-up of Denise smiling.

"It sounds scary," said Madras City Councilor Denise Piza, "It's not that scary."

Denise ran a write-in campaign for Madras City Council in November 2016 and won. All it took was a Facebook post. She'd decided to run too late to be included on the ballot, but thanks to social media and a supportive community, it wasn't too late to get elected. It also didn't hurt that she's been representing her community as a leader for years.

At age 25, while acting as an advisor to the Jefferson County Education Service District board, Denise was asked to fill the seat of a board member who had passed away (after waiting a period of time in respect of the member). Later, she ran for the position — successfully. She served on the ESD board for six years. In addition, Denise has served on the Kids Club of Jefferson County board and the City of Madras Planning Commission.

Denise stands with her five children, baby evalyn on her hip. Everyone smiles.

Denise stands with her five children, baby evalyn on her hip. Everyone smiles.

Denise wants to emphasize that elected leaders are all just people, like anyone else. There are no special requirements or trainings anyone has to go through to serve their community. She herself went into City Council not knowing exactly what to expect. She understood budgeting, reviewing ordinances and examining policies would be a part of it, but otherwise figured she'd learn as she went. And she has.

So far, she's participated in establishing an annual budget and allocating grants to community programs. She and the other councilors heard presentations from 24 local organizations and decided which ones to fund and how much to give them. During the experience, folks raised questions about the process. Since then, she, another board member, the City's finance director and a community member have been working to streamline it.

Denise and her husband smile for a selfie. Baby Evalyn is sleeping in a sling, her face pressed against her mother's neck.

Denise's top priority as a city councilor is to pass equitable and inclusive policies, as well as to call out policies that aren't. First and foremost, she wants Madras to pass an inclusivity resolution to protect undocumented community members, as well as establish an advisory group to the mayor made up of community members that represent the city's full diversity.

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Denise moved to Madras, Oregon with her family when she was seven-years-old. She became a U.S. citizen at 18. As an immigrant and woman of color, she appreciates the opportunity to represent her community in a position that has historically been held by white men. She wants to encourage other women and people of color to run for office, too. The more people who get involved, and the more reflective our democracy becomes, the more change will happen. For the better.

Denise is happy to talk with anyone who is considering running for office, especially in rural communities. You can contact her at denise.piza@gmail.com or through Facebook.

 

 

Goodbye, Suk Rhee

Photo portrait of Suk Rhee, sitting in front of a window.

Friday, August 11, is our Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership Suk Rhee's last day at Northwest Health Foundation. Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly recently appointed Suk to direct the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and she begins her new job in two short weeks, on August 21.

Here at NWHF, we couldn't be more proud of and excited for our friend and colleague's next step. Suk is deeply committed to the health and well-being of everyone in our region; always asks difficult, big-picture questions; fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment wherever she goes; and understands the importance of community-led change. We know she will impact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and the whole City of Portland, in positive and meaningful ways.

Suk started working at Northwest Health Foundation in January 2005, more than twelve years ago. She's been a part of some big decisions and transitions here, as well as most of our favorite memories. We are sad to see her go, but we're happy she won't be moving far!

A few words from Suk:

When my family immigrated to this country, we landed in North Carolina. There are many reasons to love NC, yet, I never gained a sense of belonging or home there. This feeling is captured in a passage in The Moon and Sixpence (by W. Somerset Maughn): 

I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not...Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.

Suk and the rest of NWHF's Program Team take a selfie next to a river.

There have been a few places where I have found such rest. This region, its communities and the work we have pursued together through my many years here at Northwest Health Foundation have felt like home. 

I leave NWHF this month to join the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement as its Director. Thank you to everyone who has walked some part of this journey with me—for the actions you have taken, the lessons you have taught me and simply, for being your brilliant self.  You have graced my time here with your leadership, humor and optimism, for which you have my endless gratitude and love.

 

Helen Ying: Connecting the Dots for a Better World

This blog is the first in a series of posts celebrating elected leaders who reflect our equity priorities. At Northwest Health Foundation, we know communities need the power and resources to sit at decision-making tables, to help dispel beliefs and practices that do not promote their health, and to help shape those that do. From local school boards to the state legislature, parents and families should have a voice.

Helen Ying stands in front of a crowd of her supporters, arms outstretched.

Helen Ying stands in front of a crowd of her supporters, arms outstretched.

Helen Ying's personal mission is to engage and empower people to improve their communities, something she's been doing her whole life. As a young teen and recent immigrant, Helen served on Marshall High School's student senate. It didn't matter to her that she was still learning English. She wanted to improve her community, and she'd found a way to do it — becoming a leader. This desire continued through adulthood, bringing Helen to where she is now: a member of Multnomah Education Service District's elected board of directors, National Vice President of Membership for the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, and a force for change in our region.

Of course, Helen's journey wasn't a straight path from student senate to county-level elected official. First, she became a leader in her church, volunteering to coordinate the choir at age sixteen and superintending Sunday school at eighteen. For thirty years, she worked as a math teacher, school counselor and vice principal. During this time, she realized how few laws and policies truly support health, particularly the health of children and youth. When Helen retired, she knew she wanted to do one of two things: become a missionary or run for office. Lucky for all of us, she chose the latter.

Helen marches in the St. Johns Parade, waving with one hand and holding a campaign sign in the other.

Helen marches in the St. Johns Parade, waving with one hand and holding a campaign sign in the other.

Helen didn't win her first campaign for office. In 2011, then Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder approached her and suggested she run for his soon-to-be-vacant seat. Helen campaigned for six months and came in second. But she doesn't consider her campaign a failure. She ran against four white men and received more votes than three of them combined. Furthermore, the connections she made and visibility she gained during that campaign led to dozens of other opportunities.

After her loss, several community leaders approached Helen and invited her to serve on boards and committees. These included the Creation Committee for the Office of Equity for Portland and the Oregon Health Policy Board Coordinated Care Organization Criteria Work Group, among others. She also chairs the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference and serves as a board member for We Can Do Better. So, when Northwest Health Foundation President & CEO Nichole June Maher suggested Helen run for Multnomah Education Service District, Position 2 in 2017, Helen was ready. And this time, she won.

As a Multnomah Education Service District board member, Helen is committed to taking MESD to the next level. She strongly believes she and her fellow board members have the skills they need to succeed, to promote policies that will support health for children and youth.

In Helen's opinion, it is incredibly important for elected officials to reflect the communities they serve. As a young person, she couldn't understand why there weren't any leaders who looked like her. This year, at the Oregon School Board Association Conference, she and the other school board members of color (the most ever in Oregon's history) met to start a caucus to support one another and ensure their voices are heard. Helen wants today's students of color to be able to envision themselves in leadership roles, and seeing school board members who come from their communities making a real difference is part of that.

More than anything else, Helen Ying wants to inspire others, especially young people, to become involved in their communities and strive to make the changes they want to see in the world. Her advice? Start small. Consider your skills, where you can have influence, what needs to change. Make a commitment to yourself. It could be as simple as encouraging family members to vote. Continue taking tiny steps, working your way up to bigger actions. Participate in an issue campaign. Meet with your legislator. Join a committee or board. One day, you might even decide to run for office.

If Helen's story motivated you to get engaged, check out the partnership and learning opportunities on our Open Opportunities page. Maybe you'll find your next small step toward improving your community.

 

Q&A with our SummerWorks Interns, Hawi and Elisa

Hawi Muleta

Hawi Muleta

Q. How do you relate to Northwest Health Foundation's mission and vision?

Hawi: When I was a kid, I used to tell my parents I wanted to open a hospital one day in my country (Ethiopia), so people would have access to healthcare whether they could afford it or not. I even made a poster with little drawings of what my hospital would look like. My parents kept the posters to push me in my dreams. Even though I don’t have that exact dream now, I still feel very passionate about working with others to improve the societies we live in. I thank my parents for teaching my siblings and I from a young age that what we have in this life, however big or small, is a blessing, and to appreciate it, as well as work hard to change the things we want to see. Those lessons lessons they were taught from their parents, passed down from the generation before them, which were finally passed down to us  showed us the importance of learning from the past, the value of community and doing what we can to help each other grow and thrive. Northwest Health Foundation's promotion of health for everyone, including physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being, easily ties into my own values of advocacy, equity and opportunity for everyone in our communities near and far.

Elisa: I’ve always felt compelled to do everything in my power to improve the quality of life for the members of my community. Growing up, I wasn’t sure how my actions could directly influence the world around me, but through my high school years I have realized that my voice matters, and there are many different ways to get involved in social justice and advocacy. Northwest Health Foundation’s work to build connections between individuals and groups who seek to affect change resonates with me profoundly. I admire the fact that NWHF uses its platform to work with different regional communities and uplift local advocacy groups working for health equity. Many people (myself included) want to make a difference in the communities they call home, and NWHF not only understands this, but encourages the involvement and leadership of community members in their work towards health equity.

Q. What have you learned from your experience at Northwest Health Foundation?

Hawi: What I have learned from working with the staff at NWHF is looking at all the ways in which health can be promoted, as well as pushed to another level, as we learn new things. Life is not static, nor should health be or how we work with others to change, inspire, build and provides different avenues to support one another.

Elisa: My experience here even though it’s not over yet  has given me so many opportunities to learn about social justice issues present in Portland and the world as a whole. It has also been amazing to work in a building that houses so many other nonprofit organizations. Even through just daily activities, I have been able to meet and speak with so many people from so many different walks of life, and learn about what their organizations are working towards. Interning here is also the first job I’ve ever had, so I’ve learned how a real office functions, and how to dress and act in a professional environment.

Elisa Suarez

Elisa Suarez

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

Hawi: If I could make one change in my community, I would make higher education more accessible for students from all walks of life. Education in any form is important, but due to the rapid increase of tuition, many are unable to pursue higher education, especially people of color who are tokenized for “diversity” purposes instead of seeing the systemic issues that have played a part in their lives in seeking education.

Elisa: If I could make one change in my community, I would make it possible for the students at my school to remain in the district, as opposed to being forced out due to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. I transferred into my school from a different neighborhood, but I have witnessed too many of my friends from around Northeast have to leave their childhood homes and move to Troutdale, Fairview, or Gresham (a.k.a. “The Numbers”). It is enraging when the infrastructure of a neighborhood improves, yet the original members of the community are unable to reap the benefits, because it is no longer financially possible for them to lay claim to the place they call home.

Q. What are you going to do next, after this internship?

Hawi: After this internship, I will return to Willamette University to finish my last year of undergrad and see where life takes me next.

Elisa: After this internship, I will be going into my senior year of high school and dancing full-time when I am not in school. I will also be taking courses at Portland Community College in order to complete some of my prerequisites for my freshman year of college. I plan on majoring in English and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies at a four-year university, most likely somewhere warm and sunny.

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

Hawi: I don’t think I could only eat one food for the rest of my life. Life would get boring, at least food-wise.

Elisa: If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Thai food for sure. But if I had to pick just one actual food item, I would probably go with rice, because it’s very versatile and gluten free!

Meet more of Northwest Health Foundation's staff.

Jefferson County School District 509-J's Board Should Reflect Its Students

In Oregon, we value everyone’s voice; we believe democracy only works when everyone’s point of view is represented. That means decision makers, from school board members to city councilors to state legislators, need to reflect the communities they serve. We know our communities are healthier when elected leaders can truly speak to their neighbors’ experiences and needs.

Unfortunately, that rarely happens. For example, fewer than 30% of Jefferson County School District 509-J's 3000 students are white. The majority are American Indian (34%) and Hispanic (34%). Nearly all of 509-J's American Indian students live on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. And yet, 509-J's five-member school board has generally only had one board member from Warm Springs at a time. Most have come from Madras, which is 66% white.

509-J's school board hasn't reflected its students, and that shows in the school district's graduation rates. In Oregon, which ranks 49th of 50 U.S. states for its high school graduation rate, 509J is in the bottom 15% of school districts. Only 57% of its students graduate in four years.

Why is this, and what can be done to change it? According to KWSO Station Manager Sue Matters, who is running for position 2 on 509-J’s school board this May, the district has focused too much on test scores and not enough on communicating with, listening to and considering input from teachers, students, families and the community. The people who don't show up at family nights, who aren't represented by the school board, are the ones the school district needs to reach out to the most and try their hardest to engage.

Warm Springs Chief Operations Officer Alyssa Macy, who is campaigning for position 3, agrees communications between the board and community could improve. She also believes education is strongly linked to communities’ wellbeing.

Sue Matters, whose two children went through 509-J schools, served on a number of school site councils, so she is familiar with the schools’ strengths and challenges. As Warm Springs Radio's station manager, she's also grown comfortable interacting with community leaders and communicating what they say and do to her fellow Warm Springs residents.

In Sue's opinion, Jefferson County 509-J schools, the school district's board members and administrators, worry about the wrong things. They punish students for trivialities like wearing hats to school, when they should foreground students’ academic achievement; be aware of students’ family life, mental health and other individual needs; and ensure their schools are a place youth feel welcome. They think conventionally, attempting to apply methods that have worked to boost other schools' test scores and graduation rates, when they should realize that their community and schools are unique and one size does not fit all.

Alyssa Macy grew up in Warm Springs, and she now has two foster children who are students in the Jefferson County School District 509-J. Alyssa has plenty of experience advocating for indigenous peoples nationally and internationally. She wants to improve graduation rates for students in her community and expose them to as many opportunities as possible.

With the May 2017 election, Jefferson County School District 509-J faces a pivotal moment. Three of five school board seats are up for grabs, and a Warm Springs resident is running to fill each of those seats. This year, 509-J's school board could reflect its student body. Hopefully voters will make that happen.

Request for Proposals: Oregon Active Schools Evaluation Partner

Northwest Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Nike, Inc. seek an evaluation partner to help us design and implement an evaluation for the Oregon Active Schools (OAS) fund. The evaluator will work collaboratively with OAS funded schools, fund partners and other evaluation partners to:

(1) Assess the contribution of OAS funds on the amount of time schools dedicate to physical activity

(2) Assess the contribution of OAS funds on school culture around physical activity

(3) Produce evaluation findings useful for the fund’s communications strategies

The evaluation partner will assess OAS’s contribution in schools by engaging with three cohorts of grantees representing schools who received OAS funding from 2014 to 2019. NWHF seeks to engage an evaluation partner as early as June 2017. 

Celebrating Local Social Justice Heroes

We know that community building happens in shared spaces. Here at Northwest Health Foundation, we are privileged to have large, well-equipped meeting rooms and excited to be able to offer these rooms on a daily basis to nonprofit organizations serving our region.

Recently, we realized we can do more to welcome and recognize the communities who use the Center for Philanthropy's spaces. With this in mind, we've renamed our meeting rooms after local social justice heroes. While the rooms' previous names (Bamboo, Jade, Orchid, Ming) nodded to the Center for Philanthropy's address in Portland's Old Town Chinatown district, the new names celebrate leaders who contributed to our communities' health in a big way.

These are the rooms' new namesakes:

 

Photo from The Oregon History Project

Photo from The Oregon History Project

BEATRICE MORROW CANNADY (1890-1974)

Beatrice Morrow Cannady was a civil rights activist and founding member of Portland’s branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She used her position as editor of the Advocate, Oregon’s largest African American newspaper, to defend the rights of African Americans in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Read more about Beatrice.

 
Photo from OregonLive.com

Photo from OregonLive.com

ARTHUR HONEYMAN, MFA (1940-2008)

Arthur Honeyman was a prolific essayist, poet, publisher and disability rights activist who did things his own way. Among his life adventures: running for Oregon’s state legislature twice on a platform of “Spastic Power,” shuffling his wheelchair from Portland to Salem along the freeway to protest the lack of disabled access on buses and springing his mother out of a mental institution.

Read more about Art.

 
Photo from The Oregon Historical Society

Photo from The Oregon Historical Society

IWAO OYAMA (1886-1952)

Iwao Oyama edited and published Oshu Nippo, the primary Japanese language newspaper in Oregon, from 1917-1951. On the afternoon of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Iwao Oyama was arrested and his printing press confiscated. Nevertheless, as soon as World War II ended, he returned to Portland and resumed publishing Oshu Nippo with a typewriter and mimeograph machine.

Read more about Iwao.

 
PHOTO FROM WWW.GOFUNDME.COM/ZYS6NNR8

PHOTO FROM WWW.GOFUNDME.COM/ZYS6NNR8

MELISSA SARABIA (1988-2015)

Melissa Sarabia was studying to be an immigration lawyer at Lewis & Clark Law School. She acted as an advocate for educational justice for undocumented youth and would often testify on behalf of DREAMers. Melissa’s family believes she was motivated to protect others’ rights and help them overcome their life obstacles due to her own experience with cystic fibrosis.

Read more about Melissa.

 
Photo from day1.org

Photo from day1.org

REVEREND RAMONA SOTO RANK (1944-2007)

Reverend Ramona Soto Rank was an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes of Oregon and the first Native American woman to be ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As a leader in both American Indian/Alaska Native communities and the Lutheran Church, Ramona strongly supported Native American rights for sovereignty and self-determination.

Read more about Ramona.

 

We hope to see you at the Center for Philanthropy sometime soon!

 

Introducing Our New Board Member, Kenneth Hart

In 2017 we welcome one new member to our governing board as three step down. We are inexpressibly grateful to Leda Garside, Becky Graham and Helena Huang for their years of service and the mark they have made on Northwest Health Foundation. Needless to say, we are sad to see them go. However, we are also excited to welcome Kenneth Hart.

Talton_Carl.jpg

Ken Hart is a certified public accountant and President of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario. He is deeply involved in his eastern Oregon community.

Read more about Ken...

We look forward to learning more about Ken's perspective and the impact he will make on the Foundation!

In addition, board member Bill Thorndike will take over for Becky Graham as Treasurer, joining Chair Vanetta Abdellatif, Vice Chair Phil Wu and Secretary Michael Alexander as a board officer. 

Introducing Our Final Round of KPCF Funded Partners

The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund (KPCF) at Northwest Health Foundation is pleased to award $1.9 million in grant funds to 10 organizations improving health in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Awarded annually since 2004, these grants address health where it begins, in our schools, neighborhoods and workplaces – long before we ever see a doctor.

 The following organizations received grants this year:

EARLY LIFE

  • Community Alliance of Tenants
  • The Trauma Healing Project
  • Western States Center

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

  • Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area
  • Healthy Living Collaborative of Southwest Washington
  • OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY  

  • Disability Art and Culture Project
  • Evolve Workforce & Property Management
  • Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon
  • Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association

At Northwest Health Foundation, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to lead a vibrant, healthy and fulfilling life. The best way to make that vision reality is by investing in communities. People know what holds their communities back, and they have good ideas about how to remove the barriers they face. Our job is to support communities to harness the talents and act on their ideas.

If you're interested in learning more about these amazing organizations and the work they are doing, please follow us on Twitter! We'll be highlighting each of our new funded partners in the coming weeks.

Here's What We're Endorsing this November, and Why

At Northwest Health Foundation, we talk a lot about decision-making tables: who’s at them, who’s not at them, and how decisions are being made with or without critical voices. Increasingly, we’ve come to believe the ballot is a critical decision-making table where our communities’ voices are needed more than ever.

We only make endorsements after careful consideration and consultation with community leaders, community-led organizations and our board. If communities agree on endorsing a measure, the issue campaign is community-driven, the measure aligns with our Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities goals, and we at Northwest Health Foundation have the capacity to offer our support, then we will make an endorsement. 

 

Here's what we're endorsing in 2016:

YES on Measure 98 – High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act

Vote Yes 98 logo

What does it do? Measure 98, if passed, will require Oregon to earmark $800 in funding per high school student per school year for dropout prevention programs, college-level classes and career-technical education.

Who supports the Vote Yes 98 campaign? Latino Network, Coalition of Communities of Color, APANO Statewide Network, PCUN, Adelante Mujeres, NAYA Family Center, STAND for Children and many others.

Why YES? Oregon needs students to graduate ready to contribute to our communities and the economy. Oregon has the third lowest high school graduation rate in the country, and the kids who do graduate often leave school unprepared for college or career. This isn’t good for individuals; it isn’t good for families or communities; and it isn’t good for our economy. By funding dropout prevention programs, we can increase our graduation rates. Increasing the availability of Advanced Placement classes and co-enrollment in community college classes will give students a head start on college preparedness and earning a degree. And career-technical education will prepare students for living wage jobs and provide them with real-world skills. These approaches are proven to work.

 

YES on Measure 26-179 – Bonds to Fund Affordable Housing in Portland

Yes! Affordable Homes logo

What does it do? Measure 26-179 would authorize $258,400,000 in general obligation bonds for building, rehabilitating and preserving affordable housing for low-income households in Portland. The bonds would be paid for with a property tax, 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Who supports the Yes for Affordable Homes campaign? APANO, Coalition of Communities of Color, Living Cully, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Urban League of Portland and many others.

Why YES? A stable home is a foundation for health. When Portlanders have stable and affordable places to live, they can focus on reaching their professional goals, succeeding in school, taking care of and spending time with family and friends and doing what matters to them. With the current affordable housing shortage, too many Portland residents are experiencing homelessness or paying more than they can afford for housing. By passing Measure 26-179, we can create 1,300 permanently affordable housing units, which will house tens of thousands of people over their lifetime.

 

YES on Proposition 1 – Levy to Fund Affordable Housing in Vancouver

Bring Vancouver Home logo

What does it do? Proposition 1 would establish a levy on residential and commercial properties, 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Vancouver would collect and distribute the money through a competitive public process to private developers, low-income property owners, the housing authority and nonprofits with the goal of preserving and creating affordable housing.

Who supports the Bring Vancouver Home campaign? Healthy Living Collaborative and many others.

Why YES? A stable home is a foundation for health. When Vancouver’s residents have stable and affordable places to live, they can focus on reaching their professional goals, succeeding in school, taking care of and spending time with family and friends and doing what matters to them. With the current affordable housing shortage, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and hardworking families with children are being priced out of Vancouver. By passing Proposition 1, we can help ensure that everyone in Vancouver has the opportunity to live in a safe, secure, healthy and affordable home.

Thoughts from NWHF Staff on National Voter Registration Day

September 27, 2016 is National Voter Registration Day!

"On September 11, 2001, I, along with the rest of the nation, watched the events of the day unfold. I was living in Los Angeles, and it was around 6 a.m. when I first heard of the attacks on the news. That was a tragic and confusing day. There were so many important things to prioritize: calling our friends in New York, being with and being there for others, and just trying to understand what was happening. It was also an election day. I remember going to my neighborhood polling place and casting my ballot for our local elections before going to work. There are so many things we are called to do—and have the privilege and right to do—in this country. The issues on the ballot that day paled in comparison to national and global events, but we were voting on issues that would impact children, families, workers, residents…everyone… in our corner of the world. I never take that for granted, even on historic days like that." - Suk Rhee, Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership  

 

Stephenie Smith, Executive Support & Operations Manager

 

"I have vivid memories of accompanying my father to the polls as a little girl and being in awe of the ritual of it: the curtained cubicles, the sharpened pencils and the punch cards. Even though we only vote by mail in Oregon now, I still love participating in the democratic process, because it’s a way of joining my community to make a collective decision. I’m also playing a small but critical part in our country’s democratic process, while briefly setting aside my social status and identity. By voting, I am an equal citizen among many others." - Shannon Duff, Grant Administrator

 

Eduardo Moreno, Health & Education Officer

 

"So many of us use social media to let our voices be heard. Now it’s time for us to let our voices be heard where it counts. Get out and vote!" - Michael Reyes Andrillon, Community Engagement Officer

 

Nichole June Maher, President & Chief Executive Officer

 

"My family took their responsibility to vote very seriously. As a child, I remember watching my mom enter the voting booth. With the curtain and levers it all seemed so mysterious. Now, as an adult, I love Oregon’s ‘Vote-by-Mail’ system, it allows me time to consider my options and to vote with my friends and neighbors. We can inform and challenge each other. I know my vote also counts for those who cannot vote, such as our children or people with different citizenship or legal status. Voting makes me feel like we are in it together." - Jen Matheson, Community Engagement Officer

 

Laura Nash, Communications Coordinator

 

"I vote because of the passion of my 5th grade teacher from Jacksonville, Oregon who stressed the importance of our civic duty to vote and the sacrifices that were made to make it possible. So basically I'm afraid of the heartbreak my teacher would feel if I wasn't doing my part in democracy. That's why I vote." - Jason Hilton, Vice President of Finance

 

Jesse Beason, Director of Public Affairs

 

“Voting is empowering as it makes me feel like my voice matters. I always get a sense of hope and excitement when dropping off my ballot, a perpetual longing for change and reform thinking of the generations to follow.” - Katie Kordash, Senior Accountant

 

Announcing the Equity Illustrated Design Contest Winners!

 

First Place - Salomé Chimuku


 

To Salomé Chimuku, already a veteran of social justice and public policy reform at age 25, equity is a familiar concept.

Read more about Salomé Chimuku ›

 
 

Second Place - Marc Asnis and Kathryn Hartinger


 

Turns out a collaboration born of a deep understanding of equity, an appreciation for urban planning, and diverse skills, can be a successful one.

Read more about Marc and Kathryn ›

 
 

Third Place - Matt Kinshella


 

Every day since January, Matt Kinshella has created an illustration depicting something he’s grateful for, from Italian architecture to Mexican hot sauce to a baby that sleeps through the night.

Read more about Matt Kinshella ›

 
 

Youth Contest Winner - Carol Bryan


 

"Everyone has a voice, no matter who they are or what challenges they have," wrote Carol Bryan, 14, of Corvallis, Oregon, when she submitted her winning entry for the 2016 Equity Illustrated Youth Design Contest. 

Read more about Carol Bryan ›

 

Equity Illustrated Youth Contest Winner: Everyone Has A Voice

The winning illustration in the 2016 Equity Illustrated Youth Design Contest sponsored by Meyer Memorial Trust and Northwest Health Foundation.

The winning illustration in the 2016 Equity Illustrated Youth Design Contest sponsored by Meyer Memorial Trust and Northwest Health Foundation.

[Image description: On the left, three people stand in a row, using various tools to amplify their voices. The smallest person speaks into a microphone. The middle-sized person speaks into a megaphone. The largest person cups his hands around his mouth. On the right, yellow ovals of graduated size represent sound waves. Text reads: "Everyone has a voice. Equity pumps up the volume."]

Youth Contest Winner Carol Bryan

Youth Contest Winner Carol Bryan

"Everyone has a voice, no matter who they are or what challenges they have," wrote Carol Bryan, 14, of Corvallis, Oregon, when she submitted her winning entry for the 2016 Equity Illustrated Youth Design Contest.

Carol's illustration acknowledges that everyone starts from a different place. Although everyone has a voice, some voices might be softer or louder than others. Some voices might struggle to be heard. Equity is when each person has the tool they need to amplify their voice.

Carol learned about the contest in her digital imaging class at school. Her teacher gave a presentation explaining the idea of equity and assigned the class to illustrate what equity meant to them. Actually entering the contest was optional.

Outside of school, Carol shows her dog and rabbit in 4H competitions and plays softball. She hopes to go to college at Oregon State University or Western Oregon University and study to go into the medical field.

To see the Equity Illustrated Adult Design Contest winning entries, visit www.equityillustrated.org.

Join us in support of thoughtful, national, comprehensive immigration reform

This OpEd was published in Street Roots on July 8, 2016.

As philanthropic organizations, we work hard every day to support thriving Oregon communities: We seed small businesses and job opportunities. We partner with communities to provide kids and families with quality, affordable care and education. We create safe, welcoming spaces for people of all cultural and religious backgrounds. We invest in affordable housing, clean rivers and healthy neighborhoods for all Oregonians. And most importantly, we support diversity, because inclusive communities are strong communities. Our immigrant ancestors and our immigrant neighbors enrich our understanding of the world, our communities and ourselves. Oregon and the U.S. are stronger with all of us.

The recent 4-4 tie decision by the Supreme Court in Texas v. United States leaves in place a lower-court decision halting the implementation of expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. It puts the lives of millions of immigrants and their families on hold. This deadlock prevents an estimated 5 million immigrants from gaining work authorization and protection from deportation. It also prolongs the worries and fears of their 6.4 million family members, not to mention their friends and neighbors. Our friends and neighbors.

The original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has benefitted nearly 730,000 individuals and their families, allowing young adults to stay in their home — this country — while working and going to school. In the face of last week’s decision, we are more committed than ever to supporting the strength and resiliency of immigrant families and communities.

By welcoming immigrants, we foster thriving communities that benefit us all. We welcome families that have endured incredible hardships to leave bad situations to provide a better future for their kids. We welcome more entrepreneurs and more customers for local businesses. We welcome children who will grow up to be doctors and teachers, business owners and artists. We welcome neighbors, co-workers and friends who share our deepest dreams — the freedom to speak and pray, and the opportunity to raise healthy, happy families.

DACA and DAPA are a critical step in providing immediate stability to our neighbors, but they don’t fix our broken immigration system. We invite both our colleagues in philanthropy and decision-makers at every level to join us in support of thoughtful, national, comprehensive immigration reform. Only by addressing both these immediate needs and long-term challenges can we ensure the health and prosperity of a diverse and thriving Oregon.

- Cynthia Addams, Executive Vice President of The Collins Foundation; Nichole June Maher, President and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation; and Doug Stamm, CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust.

Farewell, Fannie Black!

Our Grant Administrator Fannie Black will be moving on to bigger and better things at the end of March 2016. We are deeply sad to see her go and will probably shed more than a few tears on March 31st. However, we are also so excited for and proud of her; and we're looking forward to the opportunity to welcome a new person to our team!

 

A few words from Fannie:

It is so hard to believe that it has only been three years since I started working at the Foundation. As much as I have grown personally and professionally, and as much as I have learned over the years, I feel like I’m not the same person I was when I first stepped off that elevator and through those glass doors. Over the years, I have learned some amazing things about myself and the many communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington working toward a healthier region. I’ve learned about my ableism, what it means to be an ally, and the importance of community-based solutions led by the very people the solutions aim to serve.

From becoming a self-proclaimed food coloring master for gingerbread houses to learning how to be an ally to other marginalized communities, I have gained skills, knowledge, and personal and professional relationships that will last me a lifetime. I am so grateful for the opportunities and growth this experience has offered me, and if the next three years are anything like the last three, I can’t wait to see what this next journey will bring.

A few words from Suk Rhee

Every now and again, you have the honor of working with someone who is an exceptional person in the world, and you are the better for it. For the past several years, we and our partners at NWHF have had the privilege—and joy—of working with Fannie Black, who has served as grant administrator. As a leader within the NWHF team, Fannie has played many roles: the person who saves the day for community partners applying at the 11th hour; a champion of our equity priorities; the standard-bearer for fairness and transparency before, during and after the grant process; the patient teacher; and the social connector who shows us by example that we can all do more and better, together.   

At the same time, Fannie was pursuing her studies. This spring, Fannie earns her master of science in engineering and technology management at Portland State University. (Applause and congratulations!) Now, it is time for new adventures and the next chapter. On behalf of all of us who have worked, played and laughed with Fannie—we will dearly miss you. And, we are excited for the world to be transformed by you as you have transformed NWHF. Bon voyage!

We're Hiring a Grant Administrator

POSTED: January 20, 2016
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled OR 5pm, February 25, 2016
HOW TO APPLY: Submit cover letter and resume to employment@northwesthealth.org

The Grant Administrator is responsible for working with Northwest Health Foundation staff and community partners to implement application processes, deadlines, reporting and other systems improvements to ensure consistent and accurate grants processing. The Grant Administrator works with the Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership and members of the program team to ensure the smooth functioning of the applications, review, reporting and monitoring processes essential to Foundation operations. The Grant Administrator is additionally a liaison between internal departments and the public, and provides professional customer service to internal and external audiences.

Checking In with Nadia Alradhi, Our 2014 Intern

Selfie of Nadia in her scrubs.

What has Nadia been up to since she left NWHF?

Since leaving NWHF, Nadia graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College with a bachelor of science in nursing. After passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and becoming licensed as a registered nurse in the state of Oregon, Nadia has been working at Marquis Mill Park. This is a post acute rehabilitation facility: a place where people go to rehabilitate following a surgery, stroke, hip replacement, etc, and get stronger until they are able to go home.

What's next?

Nadia recently accepted a job at Legacy Health in the Family Birthing Center through their residency program for new graduates. (Congrats on the new job, Nadia! What an exciting opportunity!)

What are her goals for the future?

Nadia eventually wants to obtain a masters degree in either nursing or public health (She can't decide which!). According to Nadia, her experience at NWHF helped her think more broadly and in a more global way. She is inspired to continue to create change and advocate for equality wherever she goes. During her time at NWHF, she started to learn how to identify the needs of a community and address those needs with sustainable, realistic solutions. This type of thinking has positively impacted her views and values as a nurse. She's excited to see what her future holds, and to apply what NWHF taught her in new and innovative ways.

While Nadia was interning at NWHF, she helped our Community Engagement Officers plan outreach sessions about Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities throughout Oregon and SW Washington. She also made a video of kids talking about what health means to them.

Introducing our New Board Officers

Our staff leadership team and 2015 board, with a couple faces missing.

Our staff leadership team and 2015 board, with a couple faces missing.

NWHF is excited to announce its board officers!

Vanetta Abdellatif follows Rev. Mark Knutson as chair. Vanetta currently directs Integrated Clinical Services at Multnomah County Health Department. She served as vice chair on our board for the last two years. We know she will lead our board with aplomb!

Philip Wu, MD is our new vice chair. Phil is retired from Kaiser Permanente of Tualitin, where he worked as a pediatric obesity specialist. He's been with our board since 2012.

Michael Alexander, MSS follows Carl Talton as board secretary. After a varied career across sectors, Michael recently retired from the Urban League of Portland, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Rebecca Graham continues as the board's treasurer. Rebecca, a retired Certified Public Accountant, has proven her skills as a treasurer again and again!

If you haven't met the rest of our board, meet them here.

We are so honored and humbled by the great work of our board, and the work that each member does in our community. In 2016, as we embark on our first year of Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Collaborate; as we facilitate our last Kaiser Permanente Community Fund proposal process; as we dig deeper into conversations about our equity priorities of disability and geography; and as we foster existing and new funding partnerships, this is the board we want to lead us!