Their Go Kids initiative has distributed grants since 2019 to groups that directly help kids in underserved communities.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Community Foundation has been fighting to address what’s called the “opportunity gap”. Their Go Kids initiative has distributed over $2 million since 2019 to groups that directly help kids in underserved communities.
“It’s in rural isolated areas of Oregon that don’t have access to opportunities that other kids might have,” said Carly Brown. “So that’s why we talk about the opportunity gap because there are so many kids who are experiencing that.”
Their research found where you live, your race and family circumstances can determine the future success of Oregon kids. Whether that’s at home, in school or just in their communities.
“We work with primarily communities of color and the reality is that systemic racism plays a huge role in preventing access,” said Mark Langseth the president and CEO of Greater Than.
“And preventing families from being able to support their students and their students to be able to thrive early.”
Greater Than is an education nonprofit an recipient of a $48,000 grant from Oregon Community Foundation. The grant funding supports the existing Ready Schools program at Alder Elementary in outer Southeast Portland and a new location at Lincoln Street Elementary in Hillsboro.
He said this has allowed Greater Than to grow and help underserved families.
“We just feel like we’re in service to what the parents and the kids need,” said Langseth. “And I am just thankful everyday to be part of that.”
The Go Kids initiative is all about giving grants to programs like Greater Than or Families Connected — a Lane County nonprofit that gives parental support to 300 families raising a child with an intellectual or developmental disability.
“We have a lot of services that are available here in the metro area,” said Nancy Berge the Arc of Lane County’s program director for Families Connected.
“But to bring those services out into the rural areas — that has been a struggle.”
Berge said their $72,000 grant has made a huge difference to the lives of both parents and their children. Something she connects deeply with as she herself is a parent of a 24-year-old with a disability.
Berge wishes programs like Families Connected existed in years prior.
“Because I was the parent that people came to prior to me working here and so this gives me a platform to be able to do what I’m very passionate about and what I was doing prior to even working at the Arc,” said Berge.
Click here to learn more and to get involved with Oregon Community Foundation.