Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon employees volunteering at Cully Park on MLK Day (photo by Megan Zabel Holmes for United Way of the Columbia-Willamette)

“MLK Weekend of Service is an incredible opportunity for people to come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” says Cindy Adams, President and CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “With this event, community members continued striving for the changes Dr. King championed – including ending poverty and advancing racial equity – and made a real impact for tens of thousands of children and families.” 

That collective impact was felt during the 13th Annual MLK Weekend of Service, as more than 1,200 volunteers joined United Way for a day “on” in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Organized by United Way’s volunteer program, Hands On Greater Portland, the weekend embodies Dr. King’s vision of “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”


The weather, it turned out, was no match for our volunteers’ dedication. From snow flurries Friday morning to the relentless drizzle on Saturday and everything in between, volunteers showed up each day to lend a hand at over 60 nonprofit projects across the metro region. 

“I had a wonderful time volunteering with my wife Jenny at Schoolhouse Supplies," says Mark Poling, a Board Member with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. "I am proud of how United Way, through this event, continues to honor Dr. King’s legacy by connecting volunteers to projects creating impact in our community.”

Throughout the weekend volunteers helped provide food for hungry families by packaging apples and onions as well as sprucing up garden beds at SnowCap. Bundled against the chilly wind at Cully Park, volunteers helped weed and winterize the Native Gathering Garden, a space for communities to honor Indigenous cultural practices and values. From reading books to elementary school kids to cleaning up libraries and MLK Boulevard, by the end of MLK weekend volunteers of all ages collectively contributed over 3,500 hours of service, providing over $90,000 in service value to our region. 

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon returned once again as the presenting sponsor of MLK Weekend of Service. In addition to Regence, several other local businesses played a significant role in the weekend’s success, not only sponsoring events but also encouraging their employees to volunteer.

By the end of MLK weekend volunteers of all ages collectively contributed over 3,500 hours of service, providing over $90,000 in service value to our region.


“Dr. King’s legacy of service continues to inspire and remind Oregonians that we all have a role to play in bettering the health of our communities,” says Angela Dowling, President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. “Regence and our employees are proud to celebrate our fifth year partnering with United Way in support of this mission.” 

This year’s event also kicked off United Way’s centennial celebration. Since 1920 your local United Way has been bringing the community together to do good. In addition to honoring Dr. King’s legacy, this MLK Weekend we celebrated United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s historic role in strengthening schools, families and communities across the region.

Thank you to everyone who rolled up their sleeves and volunteered this MLK weekend! 

Inspired to give back to your community? Our volunteer program, Hands On Greater Portland, can connect you to volunteer projects all year round. Find your next volunteer project today. 


Thank you to our 13th Annual MLK Weekend of Service Sponsors