What would you like to change about Portland? How do you want to help? Thinking about charitable gifts has me thinking about the problems our city faces: homelessness, addiction, violence, food insecurity, mental health, racial injustice, and animal welfare to name just a few.
There are so many nonprofits in Portland doing good work. Here are just a few categories and ideas of groups to give to this season.
The more Portland has grown as a city, and the more housing costs have risen, the more our region has seen a crisis on our streets. The pandemic has only made it worse. That has Portland pushing to outlaw street camping. There are many groups attending to people who are unhoused. Here’s one group that’s been around for a long time and seeks to make a difference for those most in need.
Outside In works with some of the most vulnerable — particularly youth who are unhoused. They’ve been around since 1968, have a health clinic, and help with housing as well.
Climate Change, Environment, and Ecology
Recent years have brought the effects of climate change to Portland, with a record-setting heat wave last year, and increased wildfire threats in recent summers. Just last month, we set a record for the hottest October ever. But many groups are trying to make our natural world safe for the here and now as well, including keeping our water and air clean for humans and animals alike.
Columbia Riverkeeper advocates for a clean river. But they keep their eye on a range of environmental issues from salmon to fossil fuels. They were among the groups to fight an oil terminal on the Columbia River in Washington. They helped blocked a Nestle water bottling plant in the Columbia Gorge.
Friends of Trees plants trees around town. As the climate warms, it’s all the more important that cities have trees — which provide a canopy against the sun and help cool neighborhoods. And this is the group that’s doing that vital work in our city.
Rising food costs in our community have meant more people are struggling to eat. The nonprofits fighting food insecurity are themselves facing higher costs and are in greater need of support this year.
The Oregon Food Bank has brought attention to the issue of food insecurity for decades, while providing resources across the state as the problem grew during the pandemic. They have a fun fundraiser on right now — a raffle for a giant cinnamon roll.
Portland loves its animals, and there is no shortage of nonprofits to support for those who want to help our furry friends. But one nonprofit stands out this time of year.
The Oregon Humane Society rescues cats and dogs. In fact, Portland (via OHS) imports pets from across the nation because we’re such animal lovers. OHS also recently opened a vet clinic, allowing pet owners to pay based on what they can afford, which is fantastic because vet bills add up. (Disclosure: I have volunteered for the group taking care of kittens too young to be adopted out.)