May 2018 Newsletter


Monthly Newsletter | May 2018

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2018 Women's Foundation of Oregon Grants Committee
Left to Right: Emily Evans, Cindy Casama Gerber, Andrea Chunga-Celis, Ellen Stearns, Katherine Bloomfield, Elizabeth Lorenzo, Ami Patel, and Jessica Arzate. Not Pictured: Pooja Bhatt, Chelsea Bunch, Angele Kirk, and Laura Rodriguez

A Note From Ami

May is filled with reasons to celebrate, to act, to reflect, and to listen. Between International Workers Day, Mother’s Day, Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and more, this month reminds us of the many reasons why we do what we do here at the Foundation.

In my ten incredible months at the Women's Foundation, what I've seen time and again is that the true gender equity work is community-driven. Dedicated community leaders across the state have always been at the heart of these efforts, and it is my honor to support them in my role as Program Manager. I get to spend my days listening to these leaders' daily challenges, connecting them to peers in other communities, spreading the word about their events and programs, and of course, facilitating much needed grants to support their ongoing work. 

Last week, we held our Annual Reception, and it was a beautiful evening that reminded me of the importance of celebrating each other, together. We awarded four wonderful organizations a total of $100,000 in member-supported, gender equity grants: Rural Organizing Project ($17,500), Momentum Alliance ($22,500), Mano A Mano ($27,500), and Red Lodge Transition Services ($32,500). These partnerships deepen our ongoing commitment to intersectionality and community-driven solutions. 

Awarding our annual grants is one of our favorite times of year at the Foundation. In a field where only 5-7 percent of all foundation funding in the U.S. goes to women’s and girls’ initiatives, (and even less for tribal, LGBTQ, and rural communities) these local investments are deeply impactful to the communities these organizations serve.

As we continue to work toward an Oregon where all women, girls, femmes, and gender non-conforming folks can fully thrive, we’re evolving in the ways that we pursue gender equity. Last month, the Foundation’s Board Vice President and Grants Committee Chair, Jessica Arzate, shared important reflections about our grant-making process and the need to adapt and transform in response to community feedback. One such effort, this year's pilot Immediate Impact Fund, emerged as a result of service provider feedback that small grants with faster turnaround times go a long way in addressing urgent needs.

In the coming year, we will continue listening to you and other community stakeholders across the state. Over the past 6 months, Foundation staff have traveled to the Columbia Gorge, Central Oregon, and Southern Oregon to meet with over a dozen organizations to learn more about their work. We look forward to even more travels in the coming year, as we further develop a model of philanthropy that is driven by equity, and in true partnership with our state's most impacted communities.


Ami Patel
Program Manager

Stat of the Month

Oregon women and girls perform nearly one-half a billion hours of unpaid caregiving each year for children, relatives, neighbors, and friends.

Source: Women's Foundation of Oregon Count Her In Report

Foundation Updates

2018 Annual Reception

Thank you to all who attended our Annual Reception at Elysian Ballroom last week in support of our newest 
. A diverse crowd of two hundred members and guests turned out to celebrate impactful, community-driven work happening throughout Oregon. A palpable energy filled the room, inspired by the meaningful work of these four grantees.

Affirming the Foundation's commitment to gender equity, Amy Sample Ward, our board chair shared these sentiments:

"The Foundation, like other organizations of all sizes and missions, is at an exciting, challenging, and important place - recognizing the systemic and institutional privileges that have created the organization we have today while intentionally working to dismantle these systems of racism, sexism, and other inequities.

As a white woman helping to lead this Foundation, it has been my immense honor to have a partner in (Board Vice Chair) Jessica Arzate, and to work alongside staff and other board members as we take steps toward different models for this work. The most important work we can do is to find ways to advance our mission in this time and in this place in the most equitable way we can.

Following these remarks, Executive Director Emily Evans reflected further on our organization's history and vision for the future by sharing:

"As many of you know, the Women’s Foundation was created out of the merger of two extraordinary private Foundations (the Portland Women’s Foundation and the Women’s Care Foundation). An important thing to note is that both of those Foundations were created by white women who didn’t have very many other voices at the table. And that’s a legacy of dominant culture that we are still grappling with, and that gives ever deeper urgency to our quest to center equity in all aspects of our work.

In addition to that legacy however, our foremother Foundations were also characterized by three tenets that still drive our work today: 
  • Collective giving
  • Reinvention, and 
  • An ever-widening circle of inclusion
Collective Giving: our precursor Foundations were funded by many generous women coming together. Just as the grants that we’re celebrating tonight have been funded by the collective investment of our members. 

Reinvention: those Foundations reinvented themselves many times -- from providing direct services, to making grants, to selling buildings to the Rajneeshees (find me later for that story!) -- our foremothers were masters of reinventing to meet the needs of their time. This is a legacy we’re continuing by investing in change-strategies like research, advocacy, and innovative grantmaking. 

Finally, a widening circle of inclusion: in the early 1900s, inclusion for those Foundations meant inviting slightly-less-wealthy ladies to join. Then it meant inviting women from far-flung places like… you know, Tualatin. Then, four years ago, for the first time, it meant inviting membership from any woman and girl who wanted to join us -- and today we are over 800 members strong. 

Continuing that legacy means acknowledging that our membership is not yet reflective of the extraordinary breadth of women and girls in Oregon. And that we must intentionally and unabashedly continue to widen our circle of inclusion until it is."

Member Spotlight

Name: Rachel Post
Age: 53
Occupation: Social Determinants of Health Consultant at Health Management Associates
Member since: May 2018
Gender pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Why are you a member of the Women’s Foundation? I support the incredible work the Women’s Foundation is doing to support women in righting so many wrongs and because I’m raising a future woman who has a lot to contend with as a black, Muslim born immigrant. I want the foundation to transform our community so that she and others like her can blossom and thrive. 

What’s your favorite spot in Oregon? Manzanita.

What quality do you most admire in others? Patience, humility, compassion, humor, and curiosity.

What was your first volunteer experience?  Door-knocking for my mom’s campaign for state legislature at the age of 9.

What’s the best place to eat in our great state? Enat’s Kitchen.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a mom, though I’m still a work in progress.

Why is gender equity important to you? Because this planet needs all hands on deck and that means everyone’s talents and genius are required.  Our future literally depends upon gender and racial equity.

Which woman (living or dead) do you most admire? I admire too many to list but Nina Simone is at the top of that list.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness? Sea Kayaking off Orcas Island by myself with a guide at sunset when the harbor seals pop their little heads out of the water.

What thought or intention would you like to leave with Women's Foundation members today? WE can do IT!  WE can do anything; we can heal ourselves, each other, our communities and the planet.

Can you share an experience where you felt connected to the mission/values of the Women's Foundation? My first experience with the Women's Foundation was at the awards ceremony last week.  It was such a beautiful event and I ran into a woman from Red Lodge who I had worked with previously. We had a touching and  sweet exchange and I was overjoyed to learn about her recent work in the community.  I also became emotional during the ceremony, watching the videos of the awardees and felt such a rush of gratitude to be among so many passionate visionaries who were taking on the world to make it a more just and equitable place to live.  Thank you for that much needed infusion of hope!   

Thanks so much, Rachel!

Make a Difference


The mission of Dress for Success Oregon is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Dress for Success is looking for Clothing Organizers to assist with processing many donations of clothing, shoes and accessories in May and June. See the HandsOn Portland posting for more details, or visit the organization's website for more volunteer opportunities.

Community Events

May 23 (5:30-7:30pm): Creative Women in Tech, Portland
Join in for a night of storytelling from a group of innovative women in the tech & creative industries. They will share not only their failures, but how they grew from them. It will surely be an evening of inspiration.

May 28: Vanport Mosaic Festival : tours, exhibits, screening, forum, Portland
On Memorial Day Weekend 1948 a flood destroyed the City Of Vanport. 70 years later, we gather on the sites once occupied by Oregon’s second largest city, home to over 40,000 people, and explore its history and legacy in a full day of memory activism activities

May 31Our Story. Our Voice. Our Culture, Oregon Historical Society, Portland
Oregonians from Bhutanese, Micronesian, and African communities will introduce their cultures and share stories in an evening of fun and learning. Women will tell birth stories, offering a glimpse of experiences that carry vital lessons to be learned by health professionals and the broader Portland community. The program will also include food and dance performances from the three communities. Join us for an evening of community building, sharing, and visiting exhibits at the Oregon Historical Society! Refreshments provided.

Jun 2: Winona LaDuke in Eugene, Eugene
Winona is known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, fighting pipelines and creating bold opportunities for Indigenous people to lead the way to a land-based, sacred and sustainable economy that respects the Earth. She ran for Vice President with Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000, and is executive director of Honor the Earth. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Program begins at 7:00 pm. Winona will give a 40 minute presentation, followed by Q & A. $10 - $20 (sliding scale).

Jun 5 (7-8:30pm): OPB's "Oregon State University", Bend
OPB’s documentary “Oregon State University” uses hundreds of rare images, historic film, and oral histories with illustrious alumni.


Jun 22-24: Good in the Hood, King School Park, Portland
The Good in the Hood Music and Food festival is the largest multi-cultural festival in the Pacific NW. This three-day music festival opens with a community parade that travels through Northeast Portland and ends at Lillis-Albina Park.

Jul 15 (6-9pm): Dolores Screening, Downtown Hillsboro
Join Centro Cultural and Bag&Baggage Productions for a screening of Dolores, a documentary chronicling the life and impact of farmworker rights advocate Dolores Huerta, in celebration of Farmworker Awareness Week. Raising 11 children while wrestling with gender bias, union defeat and victory, and nearly dying after a San Francisco Police beating, Dolores Huerta bucked 1950s gender conventions to co-found the country's first farmworkers union.

Jul 21 & Aug 11: Beaverton Night Market, Beaverton
The Beaverton Night Market exists to create a free, vibrant, intercultural, family-friendly space that is reminiscent of night markets internationally. The Market offers a culturally-relevant evening activity and gathering space with food and crafts for families of all.

Aug 4 (11am-5pm): 2018 Capitol Pride Festival, Salem
Mark your calendar and visit the Riverfront Park for Live Music & Entertainment, Vendor & Sponsor Booths, Food, beverages and much more!!

News to Know

The Grio: #FreeBlackMamas: Join activists bailing out Black moms for Mother’s Day
May 10 was National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day. Their goal is simple: Bail out as many Black mothers as possible, who would otherwise be in a cell on Mother’s Day just because of their inability to make bail.

Philanthropy News Digest: Time's Up for Philanthropy, Too
For too long, foundations have treated the work of ending violence against girls and women as a niche category — separate from ambitious efforts to end racism and inequality, improve education, strengthen public health, and expand economic opportunity. As a result, according to a 2008 study, less than 2 percent of all foundation funds go toward addressing gender-based violence.

Center for American Progress: The Gender Wage Gap Among Rural Workers
While all rural workers earn lower wages than their nonrural counterparts, new analysis by the Center for American Progress reveals that women of color are among the lowest paid workers in rural areas with rural black and Hispanic women who work full time, year-round making just 56 cents for every dollar that rural white, non-Hispanic men make. Native American and Asian American and Pacific Islander women earn slightly more, making 69 cents and 75 cents, respectively, though these figures can mask wide variation within these communities.

Bitch Media: Tammy Duckworth is Unapologetically Paving the Way for Disabled Mothers of Color
Duckworth is the first disabled woman veteran and the second Asian American woman to be elected to the Senate. She is also the first woman to give birth while holding office. This March, the senator led a coalition with 42 Senatorspledging to vote against the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. In addition to being the first sitting senator to give birth while in office, Duckworth submitted a resolution proposing a change in Senate rules that would allow senators to bring and breastfeed a child under 1 year old to the Senate floor in order to vote. The resolution passed unanimously on April 18, paving the way for future parents in the Senate.

Wear Your Voice: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and the Reproductive Rights Movement’s White Supremacy Problem
In the dominant social conversation about reproductive rights, issues specific to people of color are often omitted or simply glanced over. This is why the term Reproductive justice was coined by a group of Black women in 1994, to specifically address the needs and concerns of people of color that are routinely left out of the conversation. The Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective known as SisterSong defines reproductive justice as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” Black women and other people of color creating our own terminology is so necessary because white feminism has a reputation for ignoring oppressions until cis white women become affected by them, and reproductive violences are no exception.

New York Times: The Open Secret of Anti-Mom Bias at Work
There’s widespread evidence that bias against mothers is a systemic problem beyond a few bad bosses. Research regularly shows that mothers are routinely viewed as less competent and committed to their jobs, despite evidence to the contrary. A study published in the American Journal of Sociology has found that in instances when job candidates were equal in every way except for a subtle indication that the candidate was a parent, being a mother reduced the chance that a candidate would be offered the job by 37 percentage points. The recommended salary for mothers who were offered the job was $11,000 less on average than for childless female candidates.

Them: On Trans Motherhood, and My Reality of Never Having Biological Children
"Maybe I'm trying to curse the wrong thing. Maybe instead of biology, I should be cursing the culture that taught me I'm less of a woman because I can’t have children; the culture that taught me that adopted children are less of a family than one’s own flesh and blood. Maybe I should be cursing my prejudices and my self-hate. Maybe I should be cursing the cisheteronormative Christian patriarchal society that dictates who and what I am and can be."

Membership Matters

As a Women’s Foundation of Oregon member, you’re joining a community of over 800 individuals who donate their time, efforts, and/or funds to improve the lives of women and girls in Oregon.

Become a member or renew now, and you'll receive our annual membership gift - the Count Me In Calendar! The calendar offers 52 weeks of powerful actions to bolster your capacity as an agent of change for women and girls in your community.

Join us and strengthen our collective force for gender equity in Oregon. 

For details about our Give What You Can program, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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