Refuting Disaster Capitalism

Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

At United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, we value those who are closest to the crises. The knowledge and experience of those working within communities, especially in times of crisis, should be paramount. Their voices should be held in highest regard around the tables where decisions are made.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Tuesday, May. 31, 2022

For the first time in over two years, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette held an in-person staff lunch event to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. A small step to celebrate in the face of this unrelenting pandemic, yet significant in its own way. While the group that gathered was small, everyone enjoyed the presence of one another – some meeting in person for the first time since starting at United Way. The room was decorated with paper lanterns and posters with information about different countries in Asia and the South Pacific.

Staff Spotlight - Alex Feliciano

Monday, May. 9, 2022

Learn more about our Building Services Manager, Alex Feliciano, in this Staff Spotlight. Alex talks about his experience looking after our downtown Portland office throughout the tumultuous pandemic and social justice protests, his inspiration for working with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and how it compares to other career paths he's been in and much more!

Culturally Relevant Communication Creates Common Ground

Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2022

Cultural relevancy is a term we use regularly at United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. But it can be hard to pin down a universal definition of the phrase, and difficult to understand the tangible effects of implementing cultural relevancy in community work. But that work is immeasurably more effective when done through the lens of cultural understanding. Living Islands, and their intrepid work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, is a perfect example to show how cultural relevancy can be implemented in a transformational way.

Making STEM Accessible

Monday, Apr. 25, 2022

Without the help of volunteers, some tasks feel impossible to tackle. Our team at Early Learning Multnomah has been working tirelessly to put together Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) kits for eight culturally specific communities in six languages to be received by kids in our area. The task of putting the kits together can be daunting alone, but thanks to our friends who came and volunteered from WaFd Bank, we were able to tackle it together!

Destigmatizing Mental Health in the Latino Community

Monday, Mar. 28, 2022

Mental health is wholly intertwined with community health, an aspect that the traditional, reactionary approach to mental health care doesn’t understand. Preventative, holistic, liberating, destigmatized and culturally specific mental health care is hard to find, not responsive to the cultural values of the community and expensive. Our partner organization, Raíces de Bienestar, is working to address that in our region. Founders Dr.

Healing in a Like-Minded Space

Thursday, Mar. 24, 2022

My name is Veyda, and I am an AmeriCorps member in the Confluence Environmental Program working as a Disaster Resilience Coordinator for United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. I was brought in to help with many projects in the organization’s Disaster Resilience team, but the one I was the most excited to help with was the Disaster Resilience Learning Collaborative (DRLC). The DRLC is an amazing space created by United Way, Oregon Health Authority and Trauma-Informed Oregon.

Fight For the Right to Stay Housed

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2022

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette ended 2021 with a $200,000 investment in the Eviction Defense Program, with the hopes of building resiliency and renters’ rights through the Oregon Law Center. These funds help expand Oregon Law Center’s capacity to recruit lawyers who reflect the communities they serve, offer Black, Indigenous and People of Color access to multilingual eviction defense and provide financial assistance to renters in arrears.

Highlighting Indigenous Impact

Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

There can be an unnerving sense of invisibility experienced by cultures that do not dominate the norm. This is especially true for pueblos originarios, peoples who have lived the longest in a place, but have been pushed to the margins by systems that exploit their lived knowledge.

Demystifying our Disenfranchising Tax Code

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022

One of the most effective ways to combat wealth disparities is simplifying our convoluted tax code. That is no easy task for any non-profit, no matter the size. However, providing free tax assistance and accounting advice to those who don’t have it readily available is something anyone can do!

Building Community, One Bite at a Time

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022

Hunger is not an insoluble, nor an isolated, issue. This ethos drives the work of Clackamas Service Center, a non-profit based in Clackamas County providing community, food, hygiene and resilience to families and individuals seeking it. The 501(c)3 founded in 1973 has served as a vital community hub for low- and no-income Portlanders and is currently the largest food pantry in the county. They embody their core values in the work they do, providing trauma-informed care and centering the inherent dignity of those they walk alongside.

Building Trusting Relationships and Collective Healing in a Time of Disaster

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022

Resilience requires constant contributions and care. Fostering a stronger, tighter-knit community does not happen with a single instance of support, but instead this type of resilience blossoms from continual introspection, interest and investment. That’s why United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, Oregon Health Authority, and Trauma Informed Oregon envisioned and put into action the Disaster Resilience Learning Collaborative.