The Gift of Giving: Part III

The final installment of our blog about the Willamette Week's Give!Guide, where Oregon Wild staff members weigh in about which organizations they are choosing to donate to this year. 

Jonathan Jelen, Development Director

When I moved to Portland 15 years ago, the amazing community of non-profits was one of the first things that made me fall in love with this city. Looking through the Give!Guide at the 150 non-profits that help make Oregon great, it’s hard to pick just one to receive my donations. So this year, I’ve donated to three organizations….so far.

  • ACLU of Oregon: In such a hostile political climate, the civil rights and liberties that so many of us take for granted are increasingly under threat. On top of that, the media has been in the crosshairs of the Trump Administration, making freedom of the press more critical than ever before. So I donated to the ACLU of Oregon to support their work to defend civil rights for everyone, including their work to push back on the Muslim ban.
  • Immigrant & Refugee Communication Organization (IRCO): As a Portlander for the past 15 years, I’ve been really happy to see the increasing diversity that is making our city a place even more worthy of celebration. With the divisiveness we’re seeing more and more in our society, I really value the work that IRCO does to make Portland a more welcoming, inclusive, and multi-ethnic community. 
  • Urban Gleaners:  Before starting my career in conservation in 2001, I worked as a case manager with various homeless shelters on the south and west sides of Chicago. It was such a humbling experience to work with kids and families who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. That should not happen - not in 2017 and not ever. So I really appreciate the great work that Tracy and her team at Urban Gleaners does to alleviate hunger by collecting fresh surplus food and re-distributing it to children and families across Portland.

There are so many amazing non-profits that are increasingly providing the services that were once provided by our government. It’s more important than ever to support the groups that stand up for the values that you hold most dear, especially at the holidays!

Arran Robertson, Communications Manager

As the communications manager for Oregon Wild, I read a lot of newspapers. My daily routine begins by using an internet program that opens up a dozen or so tabs in my browser featuring news sites from across the state. I scan through the headlines, pull the stories that are most relevant to the Oregon Wild team, and move on to the next tab. Two observations I have from this routine:

1)      There are a lot of great reporters in Oregon. There aren’t enough of them.
2)      There are too many editorials.

I have a lot of feelings about papers that displace reporters and actual journalism for opinion, analysis, and commentary pieces by writers pretending to be reporters. I will be happy to share them with you after a beer or two. But the solution to getting more good reporters is to actually pay for news. I pay for a lot of news – some national news, but mostly local news. And it’s why I support Street Roots. Not only do they have an inspiring mission – creating a platform for underserved voices in my community, but also opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. And they do some kick-ass environmental reporting!

So support local journalism! Give to Street Roots today, and support Street Roots vendors – not only during the holiday season - but all year round!