Introducing our First Round of Health & Education Fund Impact Partners

The Health & Education Fund—a partnership between CareOregon, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Meyer Memorial Trust, Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation—is pleased to award $1.2 million in grant funds in our inaugural Impact Partnership grant cycle to 21 organizations serving Oregon and Southwest Washington.

We invited applications from organizations and projects focused on family leadership and resilience to improve outcomes in education, healthcare and early learning. Together we seek to support whole families and opportunity communities, focus on the strengths and assets these communities already possess, and promote enduring change through multi-year investments from the Health & Education Fund. Learn more about the Fund here.

Funded through the Health & Education Fund Impact Partnership, these organizations will address barriers to health and education by building leadership and stronger relationships with parents and families, supporting parent and family organizing to change policy, and establishing partnerships with early learning, education and healthcare systems.

Organizations that are currently developing parent-led efforts and community leadership and need time to establish and build relationships with early learning, education and healthcare systems received capacity building grants. Organizations that have identified a system change goal and are currently developing their existing efforts to support parent and community leadership to affect change at the intersection of early learning, education and healthcare systems received implementation grants.

The following organizations received Impact Partnership grants this year:

CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Adelante Mujeres; $30,000; serving Washington County
  • Black Parent Initiative; $30,000; serving Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties
  • Centro Latino Americano; $30,000; serving Lane County
  • Coalition of Communities of Color; $30,000; serving all counties in Oregon
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; $30,000; serving Jefferson and Wasco counties
  • FACT Oregon; $30,000; serving all counties in Oregon
  • Familias en Acción; $30,000; serving Clackamas, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington counties
  • KairosPDX; $30,000; serving Multnomah County
  • Micronesian Islander Community; $30,000; serving Marion and Polk counties
  • Native American Youth and Family Center; $30,000; serving Clark, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties
  • Oregon Child Development Coalition; $30,000; serving Morrow County
  • Southern Oregon Child & Family Council, Inc.; $30,000; serving Jackson County
  • The Next Door, Inc.; $30,000; serving Wasco County
  • The Noble Foundation; $30,000; serving Clark and Cowlitz counties
  • United Community Action Network; $30,000; serving Douglas County

IMPLEMENTATION

  • Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization; $125,000; serving all counties in Oregon
  • Latino Network; $124,991; serving Multnomah and Washington counties
  • Lower Columbia Hispanic Council; $125,000; serving Clatsop County
  • Oregon Community Health Workers Association; $125,000; serving Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties
  • Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality; $125,000; serving Marion County
  • The Family Connection, Southern Oregon Regional Parenting Hub; $100,000; serving Jackson and Josephine counties

Some examples of the work these grants support:

Latino Network's Culturally Specific Early Childhood project will engage more Latinx parents in policy advocacy work through their Juntos Aprendemos program by developing parent leadership groups focused on civic engagement skills and strategies.

FACT Oregon will develop a Family Leadership Training Program and establish strategies to identify emerging family leaders with children experiencing disability across the state to equip and engage them to serve as systems change agents.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will use funds to develop a P-3 Comprehensive Plan with an indigenous lens around prenatal to third grade initiatives for the Tribes.

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

Why We Endorse Measure 101

Measure 101 protects healthcare for 350,000 Oregonians.

Everyone deserves the chance to lead a healthy life. That includes affordable healthcare, and that's why we’re proud to join over 60 groups in endorsing Measure 101.

We know that:

  • Mothers with access to affordable healthcare have healthier babies.
  • Students with health insurance miss fewer days of school.
  • Employees with access to affordable healthcare for themselves and their families are more productive and happier.
  • All Oregonians benefit when friends, family, coworkers and neighbors can see a doctor or nurse, and don't have to visit the ER for routine care.

Voting yes means that, for the first time, every child in Oregon will have healthcare.

350,000 Oregonians rely on the funding that Measure 101 secures in order to keep their healthcare. I hope you’ll join us in voting YES on Measure 101 for healthcare this January. If you agree that every Oregonian deserves healthcare, no matter who they are or where they work, pledge to vote YES

James Manning: I'm Not a Politician; I'm a Public Servant.

This blog is the third in a series of posts celebrating community 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.

Photo portrait of Senator James Manning.

Senator James Manning doesn’t think of himself as a politician. He’s a public servant, and he’s been a public servant for a long time.

Before becoming involved in Oregon government, Senator Manning worked as a state corrections officer, police officer, railroad special agent and private investigator. In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Army. After 24 years of active duty, during which he filled many roles, including everything from Military Diplomat to the Australian and New Zealand Special Forces to Postal Supervisor to U.S. Army Assistant Inspector General, Senator Manning retired in 2007 and moved to Eugene.

In retirement, Senator Manning felt the urge to give back to his community. He quickly got involved with nonprofits like United Way for Lane County. He also served on the City of Eugene’s Police Commission and was appointed by two Oregon governors to the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. Then, in 2016, he campaigned to represent District 14 in Oregon’s House of Representatives.

Senator James Manning lost in the primaries to Representative Julie Fahey. However, he didn’t consider his campaign a waste of time; he enjoyed it. He liked going door to door, taking the time to hear from community members. In particular, he appreciated the opportunity to talk with elderly community members. He recalled one woman who took a while to get to the door, who he soon realized hadn’t been eating and set her up with Meals on Wheels, as well as a man who he spent 20 minutes with, although he was only supposed to take three minutes with each voter.

After his loss in the primaries, Senator Manning assumed he’d go back to doing what he’d been doing: serving on commissions and committees and working towards a doctor of education in organizational leadership. That’s what he did, for a while. At least until the Lane County Board of Commissioners unexpectedly appointed him to replace outgoing Senator Chris Edwards in December 2016.

What are Senator James Manning’s priorities as an elected official? Listening and responding to people’s needs. Living wages. Good jobs. Quality, affordable healthcare. Refusing to leave senior citizens and children behind. Senator Manning has pledged not to make a vote that will hurt people.

As a child, Senator Manning sometimes went to bed hungry. At times, he was homeless. Now, he wants to be an inspiration to people who feel like there is no hope. He wants to inspire people to seize opportunities and give back to others.

His advice to others who are think about running for office: It has to be about helping people, not about personal gain. Visit places that don’t feel familiar to you. Visit schools. Pay attention to the kids huddled outside, waiting for their first meal of the day. Build up name recognition, and then just do it.

Denise Piza: We're All Just People

This blog is the second in a series of posts celebrating community 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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Rural Perspectives on Minimum Wage and Regional Economies

Northwest Health Foundation and North Star Civic Foundation joined together in 2015 to listen to business and community leaders in six Oregon communities and gather concrete ideas and community-informed solutions around a proposed increase in the minimum wage in 2016 or 2017.

Nearly 1 in 6 Oregonians lives in poverty, and 2 in 5 can’t afford to pay for basics such as housing, transportation and food without public assistance.

Both of our foundations support an increase in the minimum wage as one component of a statewide effort to reduce poverty and help all communities flourish. We engaged in this listening process to inform our own positions on current proposals to increase the minimum wage.

Read the executive summary here. Read the full report here.

Presenting our Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Collaboratives

We are THRILLED to present our ten Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Collaboratives. These ten Collaboratives will work with each other and Northwest Health Foundation for the next five years to advance a shared agenda for healthier childhoods:

APANO Statewide Network
Lead Organization: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Geography: Oregon

Eastern Oregon Latino Alliance for Children and Families
Lead Organization: EUVALCREE
Geography: Malheur County

Healthy Communities, Healthy Futures
Lead Organization: Healthy Living Collaborative (HLC) of Southwest Washington
Geography: Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Skamania counties

Immigrant and Refugee Engage Project
Lead Organization: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)
Geography: Portland metro region, as well as Clark, Marion, Hood River and Yamhill counties

Successful Transitions: Integrated Care for Children, Youth and their Families
Lead Organization: Jefferson Regional Health Alliance
Geography: Jackson and Josephine counties

Let's Talk Diversity Coalition
Lead Organization: Let's Talk Diversity Coalition
Geography: Jefferson County

Voz de la Comunidad
Lead Organization: Lower Columbia Hispanic Council
Geography: Clatsop County

Youth Power & Intersectional Collaboration
Lead Organization: Momentum Alliance
Geography: Clark, Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Marion counties

Stable Families Intergenerational Collaborative
Lead Organization: Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
Geography: Multnomah County

Healthy CAPACES
Lead Organization: Pineros Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
Geography: Marion and Polk counties
 

 

2016 is the first year of Communities Collaborate, one part of NWHF’s Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative (HB+HC). The Collaboratives selected for HB+HC Communities Collaborate partnerships will work together to be a part of a local and regional transformation of institutions, programs and policies to deliver better outcomes in early life, equity and community health. In the first year of Communities Collaborate, Collaboratives will receive a total of $850,000 in support. 

 

How We Lost the Vote But Won the Day, The Story of the 2013 Portland Pro-Fluoride Campaign

Cartoon teeth holding picket signs.

In 2013, a coalition of funders, community-led nonprofits, advisors and other allies came together to campaign for water fluoridation in Portland, OR. Although the ballot initiative did not pass, the campaign succeeded in helping community-based organizations build capacity for civic engagement. In this article, we share our experiences from the campaign, the obstacles we encountered and our lessons learned.

Oregon Minimum Wage, Boiled Down

Current Minimum Wage

$9.25 an hour

Cost of Living

That depends on who you ask. According to the Economic Policy Institute's 2014 Family Budget Calculator, a living wage for a family of four ranges between $14/hour and $17/hour, depending on the county. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates a "rental wage" between $13/hour and $18/hour in order for a family to afford rent on a two-bedroom home. And the University of Washington's 2014 Self Sufficiency Standard suggests a living wage between $9/hour and $16/hour for a family of four.

There are two coalitions advocating for a higher minimum wage in 2016.

Raise the Wage Oregon proposes a state minimum wage of at least $13.50/hour, implemented by 2019. They specifically require that the legislation include farmworkers and restaurant workers. They also want to change the rules so that Oregon localities can set a higher minimum wage than the state minimum wage. (For instance, the City of Portland could set a $15/hour minimum wage, on top of the state baseline of $13.50/hour.)

15 Now Oregon demands a $15/hour minimum wage throughout the state, implemented by 2019.

Both coalitions hope that the February 2016 legislative session will resolve the issue. If not, though, both coalitions are working on gathering 10,000 signatures each so that they can qualify for the ballot measure titling process for November 2016.

Where does Northwest Health Foundation stand on the issue?

About a third of all jobs in Oregon pay less than $13.00 per hour, which for most Oregon families is not enough to pay for basic needs like housing, transportation, food and child care. We also know that costs to live in Oregon depend on where you live in the state, and that small, rural economies aren't the same as large, urban economies. 

Before we support any one approach to raising the minimum wage, we want to understand the issues better. We joined with North Star Civic Foundation to have conversations with communities throughout Oregon last week, and we're looking at all kinds of data as well. Keep an eye on this blog; we’ll report what we learn here in early November.