7 organizations at the front lines of COVID-19 response in Oregon

By: Max Williams - Apr 28, 2020
Source: Portland Business Journal

As the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are felt around the state, nonprofits serving vulnerable populations and providing critical loans to small businesses are getting timely, home-grown support.

Powered by the collective action of Oregon donors and channeled through Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), grants are reaching nonprofit service providers and community lenders every week. Donors have cumulatively donated $13.3 million to COVID-19 relief, and in just the first few weeks of grantmaking, 302 nonprofits received a total of $7.8 million in grants to continue offering vital services.

Here’s a look at seven Oregon nonprofit organizations responding to community needs with recent OCF grants – just a sampling of the important work happening around our state.


Nonprofits provide food to vulnerable people every day, and that need is growing from the economic impacts of COVID-19. NeighborImpact distributes food in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Before COVID-19, they distributed 40,000 pounds of food a week, but the weekly amount doubled in late March. An Oregon Community Recovery grant is helping with overtime staffing, temporary positions and food and supply purchases to meet the increased need.

Community Action of Washington County

Many families in Washington County are struggling with lost or reduced wages as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Community Action of Washington County in Hillsboro assists by providing rent and bill paying assistance and distributes diapers, hygiene and cleaning supplies. Demand is huge and the Oregon Community Recovery grant is helping to fill funding gaps to keep families safe.

Jackson County Bear Creek Greenway

Unhoused residents – without basic hygiene facilities and few options for meals that meet social distancing guidelines – are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Bear Creek Greenway, a 21-mile path that runs from Central Point to Ashland, is used for recreation, but is also home to a large population of people experiencing homelessness. An Oregon Community Recovery grant is helping Jackson County and partnering cities, Mercy Flights, and Access Food Share to deliver food, medical services, portable handwashing stations and toilets to camps along the greenway.

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency

School closures are hitting homeless youth particularly hard, eliminating a source of structure, meals and safety. Taylor's House, a 24/7 homeless youth shelter run by Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency in Salem, needs additional funding to keep up services now that the residents aren’t away at school during weekdays. The Oregon Community Recovery grant will help pay for supplies, food and support staff working overtime to keep up important services like Taylor’s House and other housing and education related services provided by the agency.

El Programa Hispano Católico

Strong demand for services because of increased unemployment is straining many social service nonprofits. An Oregon Community Recovery grant is helping El Programa Hispano Católico (EPHC) continue serving Latinx communities in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, including delivering food and medical supplies to seniors, spreading information about COVID-19 orders and available services, and creating educational and activity kits for youth, so that those without computer access at home can keep learning. elprograma.org

Craft3 Small Business Lending

As the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, Oregon is experiencing dramatic declines in commercial activity and lost revenues for business across a broad range of sectors. Craft3, a nonprofit lender serving Pacific Northwest communities, identified vulnerable borrowers, including schools, hotels, restaurants, retail, tourism, and service businesses. An Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund grant will help Craft3 extend their loan terms and temporarily defer payments to help small business borrowers weather this storm.

Native American Youth and Family Center

Fifty percent of the Native population in Multnomah County earns less than $24,000 per year and today Native families served by Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland are experiencing increased unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. An Oregon Community Recovery grant is helping NAYA maintain vital services for elders, food pantry curb-side pickup and relief distribution of childcare products. nayapdx.org

OCF will continue working in collaboration with partners around the state to quickly provide critical funding to impacted nonprofits, complementing and expanding local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. Lend your support by contributing to the fund, and get the latest updates, at oregoncf.org/COVID.

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. Since 1973, OCF grant-making, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians.