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TWST Report - Beaverton
Hi! This time, it's Sophia Aguinaga, Administrative Assistant with MMT, reporting about our Two Way Street Tour. Shortly after Brian and Sally's return from Forest Grove, Aaron Nelson, Technical Operations Manager, and I braved the rain and headed to meet Sally in Beaverton. Aaron and I weren't sure what to expect when we arrived. This was our first time accompanying Sally on a tour stop, and it was really exciting! The opportunity to connect directly with the communities MMT serves is an absolute gem amongst the mostly "behind the scenes” work we all do.
We arrived at the Oregon Food Bank building and rushed inside to get out of the rain. We were greeted by Karin (lucky us, she hosted two of our stops!) and helped Sally set up as people slowly filled the room. It wasn't long until Suk Rhee, Vice President of NW Health Foundation, and Chris DeMars, Senior Program Officer, joined us. Turns out that TWST tours are a great way for foundation staff to collaborate on giving communities access on a person-to-person level. Aaron began snapping photos and I prepared to write down names and questions as Sally introduced us to the group.
We began by having each person in the room give their name and the organization(s) they represented. Twenty-five organizations were present, with about thirty percent of them community libraries. Hearing their plight drove home the prevalent struggle to maintain accessible education, and how this struggle warrants incessant dedication, even in a suburban community. The Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition, Faith Cafe and Hospice of Washington County added to the diversity of the crowd. The veil of the "ever-stable suburbia" stereotype was lifted after hearing these organizations discuss their difficulty in sustainable funding and the tireless work they put forth to create a thriving, productive community.
After Sally described MMT's grant programs and the types of grants MMT offers, Chris detailed NWHF's grant programs. Suk also chimed in and described what makes a strong proposal. Both MMT and NWHF look for organizations that are uniquely qualified to deliver a specific service to their community, and both determine how to best meet organizations where they are at to achieve their goals. Andi Miller with The G.A.P.S. Foundation commented this was helpful information.
Another question asked by the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition representative was how to receive feedback after a grant request has been declined. Sally explained something that might not be well known to as many organizations as we would like: MMT is accessible at any point in an organization's grant request process. That includes the option to contact MMT for feedback on a proposal an organization is thinking about submitting, help during the application process, and after a decision has been made. While we may not always be immediately available, we are happy to help as soon as we can. Our goal at MMT is to help organizations succeed, and one of the best ways to do that is through direct feedback. That response seemed to resonate well.
The session ended with a number of people staying to receive feedback from Sally on projects and how to get started on working with MMT. Both Aaron and I chatted with folks as well, getting more general feedback on the session and its helpfulness. Largely, the participants left feeling truly heard, understood, and with a clearer picture of how to fashion a successful relationship with MMT (and NWHF, too!). And we left having learned some lessons and experienced the vitality of the broader community thriving in Beaverton.
Mission accomplished. We left a still rainy Beaverton, welcomed by a still rainy Portland. Home sweet home.
Read about the recent Tualatin TWST here.
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