05-20-2018  8:43 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

ENTERTAINMENT

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

NYPD probing sex allegations against Mario Batali

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against celebrity chef Mario Batali.The NYPD confirmed the probe following a "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday night in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting...

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

US, China putting trade war on hold after progress in talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Kerry says civil discourse is under threat around the world

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned that...

United Way CEO Keith Thomajan
Helen Silvis Special To The Skanner News

United Way CEO Keith Thomajan, photo courtesy United Way of the Columbia Willamette

A year into his new job at United Way of the Columbia Willamette, CEO Keith Thomajan was at a crossroads. Listening to his staff and board, Thomajan had heard their hunger for real change. At the same time, reports on family poverty in Multnomah County showed the problems were persistent.

"Nearly half of the kids in our region are growing up in desperately low-income families," Thomajan says.

"On a daily basis they are making choices between food and rent. That was staggering to me."

United Way staff knew they had been funding some excellent work, but they wanted to do more. They wanted to break the cycle of poverty that sees children who are born poor stay poor."

"Despite our long history of doing good, we saw that our kids and families in poverty were falling farther and farther behind," Thomajan says. "And when we looked at the data by race, we saw profound and savage inequalities for communities of color."

United Way of the Columbia Willamette estimates that from 2000-2012 child poverty rose by 65 percent across its service area: Clark, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. That means about 100,000 children in our region live in poverty.

Founded 125 years ago, United Way is made up of dozens of local groups which each set their own funding priorities. Taken together, these local groups form the largest nonprofit in the world, pulling in donations of more than $5 billion a year.

Locally United Way of the Columbia Willamette brought in $21.6 million last year. Donors earmarked just over $12 million for their favorite charities. The rest will go to the nonprofit’s three key programs:

  •       Successful Families 2020: a five-year community transformation effort that aims to raise children out of poverty. The program will focus on black and other minority children hit hardest by the cycle of poverty.
  •       Community Strengthening: funding 30 nonprofits working with low-income families to reduce poverty.
  •       Community Safety Net: short-term funding for programs that help families with housing, food, heat and crisis assistance.

Thomajan, just named Nonprofit CEO of the Year by the Portland Business Journal, says breaking the cycle of poverty demanded a new approach.

To get there, United Way’s leadership group rewrote their funding policies. Instead of doling out grants check by check to worthy programs, they would make a bigger long-term commitment to a smaller group of organizations. And instead of funding each nonprofit to work alone, United Way would ask them to work together.

The new community transformation strategy, Successful Families 2020, is at the heart of the new plan. It will fund six nonprofits for five years: Self Enhancement Inc., Albina Head Start; Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization; Latino Network; Metropolitan Family Service; and the Native American Youth and Family Center. Self Enhancement Inc., is the lead organization.

The six will share $750,000 a year for the next five years, a total of $3.75 million. The money is unrestricted, but it comes with a mission. All six organizations must work together to shift the needle on poverty.

Across the region, 100,000 –that’s one in five – children are living in poverty. Successful Families 2020 will work with around 5,000 of those children, helping them graduate from school. Up to 200 of those students should be able to attend college, improving the group's expected lifetime earnings by $150 million.

"These are all organizations that are getting outsize outcomes," Thomajan says. "Our belief is that if we can start to amplify success for these families we will begin to see systemic change."

Child Poverty by Race in Multnomah County

White Alone: 18 percent

African American: 52 percent

American Indian/Alaska Native: 49 percent

Asian: 15 percent

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 43 percent

2+ Races: 19 percent

Hispanic/Latino: 38 percent

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