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TWST to Vancouver, WA
I was excited to attend my first event as a member of MMT’s program team (I recently joined this team after serving as the office’s Project Manager). The first noticeable thing on the drive over that morning was the imbalance in the traffic flow between Portland and Vancouver. We found ourselves challenged with which lane to select going over the Vancouver Bridge because they were all flowing smoothly, while the folks driving into Portland from Vancouver were scrapping just to keep a decent pace.
When we arrived at the Pearson Air Museum, our host Jeanne Kojis, of the Nonprofit Network, greeted us. The MMT group included CEO Doug Stamm; Barb Gibbs, director of grants programs; and Kim Thomas and Sally Yee, program officers. The first part of the day was a roundtable consisting of representatives from just about every sector of Clark County: economy, government, health and human services, housing, youth, community services and mental health, the arts, and conservation and environment.
The roundtable proved to be a rich and extremely informative process for those of us attending from MMT, but it also appeared to serve as an opportunity for all the vested parties in Clark County to consider additional ways in which their services/projects overlap. It seemed to me that the growth trend Clark County is experiencing has placed a strain on all of the sectors to really refine what community means. The disparity in jobs to housing seems to be the major correlation to the bridge traffic with so many Clark County residents working outside the county in Portland.
The consistent growth gains are presenting Clark County with greater opportunities to explore creative partnerships that honor the changes and support a more diverse population. While residents are still learning how to get connected within their residential communities, Clark County is demonstrating great skill in legislative process, not to mention setting the standard for establishing and managing regional partnerships. The common thread running through every perspective shared by representatives of Clark County centered on improving the quality of living for residents.
Following our informative morning session we moved into our afternoon session along with approximately 125 other nonprofit and public representatives from Clark County. We were welcomed and provided a brief history of Fort Vancouver by Elson Strahan, Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust. Elson provided the introduction for Doug Stamm, who delivered the lunchtime address.
I have to admit, Doug showed up with an arsenal of support: jokes, charts, slides, pictures with words, even a wingman (Aaron Nelson, MMT’s Network Administrator) for technical support. Doug focused on the perception that MMT does not fund in Clark County. I say perception because Doug showed statistics that illustrate that Clark County nonprofits are receiving funding from MMT that is consistent with the percent of funding requests they submit to MMT. So the takeaway from Doug’s address: if folks want to see more dollars from MMT come into Clark County, the number of requests sent our way must increase. But review MMT’s grant application guidelines on our website in detail before submitting a request! Oh, the floodgates are open now… ☺
Then all 125 of us broke up into small groups, which allowed individuals to ask questions specific to their service/project areas and the on-line web application. The small groups, each lead by representatives from MMT including Ann Lininger, director of program-related investing, lasted an average 45 minutes to an hour. This concluded our day at the museum.
I’m not sure that our next stop on the Two-Way Street Tour has been charted, but I am certain that this was a great experience for all of us here at MMT. I can only hope that it proved beneficial for the folks of Clark County too!
-Kim Sheng (former Program Team member)
Posted by: Barbara Hart | October 25, 2007 12:27 PM
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