A family walks together holding hands

United, we can make life better for everyone in our community

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023

Looking to make a difference here in the Portland metro region? So are we. United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is working every day to bring people together to make life better for every person in our community.

Our organization focuses on Housing Stability, Early Education, Disaster Resiliency and Volunteerism, creating positive impact in these four areas with racial equity and systemic issues in mind. Here in Portland, one of our fundamental challenges is homelessness. That is why we are working with Portland Community College’s CLEAR Clinic to provide eviction defense for those who need it most, preventing people from being pushed out of their housing and onto the streets.

And we are seeing results. For example, our housing program has helped 823 families stay housed over the last year.

"Your kindness made a significant difference in my life, allowing me to focus on my case without the added burden of financial worries."

Timothy R., recipient of eviction legal defense and financial support.

These results are fueled by the support of our partners like you! Your charitable contributions, volunteerism and advocacy are helping us move the needle and build resilience.

But the need continues. Chronic homelessness in Clark, Clackamas and Multnomah counties persists, despite 2023’s Point in Time count showing a 17% decrease in those experiencing it. We know this metric doesn’t accurately convey the breadth of the problems our communities are experiencing today, and we need your help to continue improving housing access, rental assistance, eviction prevention and more.

United Way works to respond nimbly to evolving challenges and immediate crises. This was evident during COVID-19, when we were able to grant out nearly $500,000 to 17 nonprofits, resulting in 470 vaccine clinics that vaccinated nearly 29,000 people in our community. Or in the aftermath of the 2020 wildfires, when we invested in disaster relief for the first time in our organization’s 100-year history. We raised more than $700,000 to support 30 nonprofits across the state helping 18,600 households after this tragic disaster.

You may be surprised at all the ways we are building resilience in Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah and Washington counties. United Way is:

  • Continuing to invest in disaster resilience, with more than $400,000 awarded in 2022 to local nonprofits to “advance equitable disaster resilience through healing centered, culturally grounded collaborations and action.”
  • Working with the state and other partners to ensure children in our community have equitable and quality access to early education. Nearly 18,000 families participated in group activities, classes and workshops in a multitude of languages and received referrals to resources through our support. We even launched a brand-new way for families living on the margins to find affordable, culturally sensitive and high-quality preschool with our new Preschool Marketplace website.
  • Connecting our community with those in need. Our Hands On Greater Portland team made 5,802 volunteer connections resulting in 14,505 volunteer hours last year, creating positive change through community building.

But we don’t do it alone. The Portland community stands with us. Those living their purpose through United Way are giving, volunteering and speaking out for policies to improve our community.

Together, we are United in Purpose. We can do more United than alone. Learn more about our work at https://www.unitedway-pdx.org to see how you can be part of making our region a better place to live for all. Help us close gaps and open opportunities for everyone, everywhere.

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