- About Us
- Funding Opportunities
- Keeping Up
- Just Ask Us
TWSTing with Adrienne Livingston
My name is Adrienne Livingston, I am the executive director of the Black United Fund. We’ve been providing grants to support social justice and culturally specific and appropriate programs throughout Oregon for 27 years. When Sally Yee first asked me if we would be interested in partnering with Meyer Memorial Trust to bring the “Two-Way Street Tours” to our local community, and specifically our ethnic nonprofit organizations, it was without hesitation that I said, “YES!” Given the current conversations surrounding funding in the Coalition of Communities of Color and the recent report about foundation giving to communities of color in Oregon, I think that this is one timely example how foundations in Oregon can start reaching out to organizations serving communities of color.
I sent out the invitation for the TWST to the nonprofits in our network just once and received over 40 replies with organizations registering for the event. If nothing else, I think that this shows the hunger of nonprofits that are wanting, needing even, to understand how to access funding from foundations in Oregon.
The Portland Housing Center was the host for our two meetings. The Center offers families and individuals programs to help them become homeowners. Pictured on the right are some of their knowledgeable and wonderful staff who help guide people through the process: from left, Jenny Nepom, Bev Keagbine, Sarah Forsythe, Heidi Martin, Patty Marquez, Imaelda Ortiz, Margi Weaver, Bill Barthell.
During the workshop, there were so many questions relevant not only to the individuals asking but to so many others that were attending. The fact that the workshop emphasized that it was a “two-way street” and conversation among community members made the workshop not only extremely relevant, but safe because a space was created for questions and everyone felt encouraged to participate. We got answers to questions as simple as “How do I approach the foundation? Do I call? How do I contact them?” Absence of this crucial knowledge can become one of many obstacles in understanding the process to access grant programs and potential funding.
With an estimated 50% African American, 40% Caucasian, and 10% other and representing such diverse organizations as Uniting to Understand Racism, Young Men of Awareness, Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance and many others, the event proved to be a great success in our community. I noticed as everyone was leaving that I only saw smiles on their faces. The smiles were of understanding, of building relationships, of having both the opportunity and the invitation to have a conversation. I saw confidence, confidence to apply to Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon’s largest private foundation, and other organizations like it in order to better our community and empower our citizens. But this event was just the beginning. The gateway is now open for further conversations to take place in our community, where it has historically been lacking. We, the Black United Fund of Oregon, are building a relationship with Meyer Memorial Trust to best serve not only the individuals and families of our community, but also those that are dedicated to serving them, our nonprofits.
Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.