NWPP Appreciates You!
Since NWPP’s founding in 1969, volunteers, community partners, donors, funders and business partners have been critical to the success of this agency. Our annual Appreciation Awards celebrate and show special gratitude to some really extraordinary people and groups whose contributions have been critical to the work of the agency this past year. NWPP is so fortunate to have a multitude of supporters without whom it would not be possible for us to fulfill our mission. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Program Impact Award: recognizes a significant contribution to our Senior Housing Program
NWPP’s Housing Team works collaboratively with many community partners and housing specialists throughout Multnomah County. Our success as an organization comes from the strength of our relationships with these partners, which allows NWPP to effectively access affordable housing options for hundreds of clients every year. Over the last six years, NWPP has had the good fortune to work with Melinda Thompson, a Housing Occupancy Specialist with the organization Relay Resources. As an organization, Relay Resources owns and operates twenty-one properties in it’s portfolio as part of its mission to create opportunities for people to overcome barriers, achieve independence, and realize a stronger sense of purpose. Part of Melinda’s role as a Housing Occupancy Specialist is to facilitate the complicated application process required to secure an affordable housing unit through Relay Resources.
Over the years, the NWPP Housing Team has appreciated the compassionate and responsive nature Melinda brings to her role, and her flexibility to work with sometimes tricky client circumstances. Her sense of teamwork and collaboration makes the often herculean task of securing housing for our low-income senior clients much more manageable and usually ensures that NWPP’s clients get off the streets and into safe, affordable housing within a matter of days.
In response to being honored with the NWPP Program Impact Award, Melinda shared:“We all are working towards the goal of housing people in need as quickly and efficiently as possible, making their lives more complete. Thank you so much for the honor of this recognition, but it is definitely a team effort between Relay Resources and NWPP.”
Community Impact Award: acknowledges the engagement of volunteers in supporting NWPP clients and services
Northwest Pilot Project has always relied on community support to meet our organization’s mission of offering opportunities for a life of dignity and hope to very low-income seniors. Throughout the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, our organization relied heavily on our network of partners as we continued to find affordable housing for our senior clients, the most critically affected population, and also provided essential items to our senior clients already in housing.
Thankfully, during this period of chaos and quarantine, NWPP had the support of the outstanding family-oriented volunteer organization Youth Charity League (YCL). Founded by Portland mothers who wanted to create a sense of community service and civic responsibility in their children by modeling that behavior and engaging in volunteer activities together, this multi-generational organization became a valuable in-kind supporter of our low-income seniors. Over the last few months, the families of Youth Charity League have provided our seniors with furniture, essential cleaning supplies, and helped re-stock NWPP’s supply of hygiene items for our seniors living at zero income. This windfall of support was so impactful to NWPP during a time where everyone is struggling. It speaks to how incredibly invested Youth Charity League is in supporting their community during a crisis.
In response to being honored with the NWPP Community Impact Award, YCL co-founder Kate Begonia shared: “The partnership between YCL and NWPP was an instant fit. YCL works to grow the next generation of inspired, positive change makers by fostering a commitment to community service in youth and modeling that behavior in our own lives. With NWPP’s partnership, we have had the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable in our community and also learn about the positive impact just one bedding kit or a dozen care kits make to the seniors in our community. We are excited about future service projects with NWPP, thank you!”
“I so appreciate this Community Impact Award,” Steve shared with us, “but I know there are many others out there doing so much more who deserve the recognition.” We disagree!! For those of us at NWPP, we see in Steve what we would like to see in ourselves: compassion, caring, and a great sense of humor. Steve served for six years on the NWPP board, bringing a strong understanding of community engagement, public relations (he was honored in 2013 by the Portland Metro Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America) and a love of seniors. Steve continues to support NWPP as a volunteer and fundraiser for NWPP’s annual Walk-A-Thon; and participates and manages the employee-led PGE/NWPP volunteer collaboration, Take a Senior to Lunch Program, which is how Steve connected with NWPP many years ago. It is because of his dedication to the seniors in the Take a Senior to Lunch Program that NWPP has chosen to honor him with the Community Impact Award.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 made in-person lunches impossible for the Take a Senior to Lunch Program, Steve took it upon himself to continue providing a delicious meal to the seniors. Every month since March, Steve has contacted each senior for their order, placed the order, picked it up at the restaurant, and then delivered the meal in a physically-distance manner to each senior’s apartment. It is an extraordinary act of kindness for a group of isolated seniors who don’t have much contact with the outside world.
Steve shared with us why he does this: “I truly believe there is no better way to pay it forward than to extend a helping hand to our elders. At some point in our future lives, we will all need a friendly hand to steady us, even if just for a moment. I accept this on behalf of the many seniors who have brightened my life over the years with their wisdom, their perseverance, their vigor, and vulnerability.”
Agency Impact Award: recognizes a significant contribution that provided a transformative opportunity for NWPP
Mary and Tony have been part of the NWPP family for over 30 years. Tony is a retired physician and a passionate philatelist, collecting, researching, and writing about the history of US stamps. Mary is a community activist and volunteer, who in 1999, received the Spirit of Portland award. Both Mary and Tony are community-minded and generous, supporting multiple organizations critical work to help vulnerable populations, especially seniors. Mary volunteers at the Senior Center at Neighborhood House, doing mending and jewelry repair. The ongoing support from the Wawrukiewicz’s has enabled hundreds of seniors to live in safe and stable affordable housing. We are so grateful to Mary and Tony for their belief in our values, vision and mission and of their support of Northwest Pilot Project and the seniors we serve.
Mary and Tony told us they“are proud of our ability to facilitate housing the elderly in Portland.”
PGE has long been a partner of NWPP, providing funding for our services and volunteers for our board. In the summer of 2019, PGE provided the community with an outstanding opportunity through the newly created Drive Change Fund: the chance to secure funding to purchase an electric vehicle and charging station. After a competitive application and interview process, NWPP received the grant award that allowed us to buy an electric car to replace our aging van for regular, daily rides.
Dan Janosec, Grants Manager at PGE, says, “We are honored to receive the Agency Impact Award! Only by working together will we build a clean energy future for all Oregonians. We are grateful to the Northwest Pilot Project for their partnership and the services they provide to seniors in need of safe, reliable, and (now) electric transportation. This recognition signifies that the PGE Drive Change Fund is building strong community partnerships so needed to further transportation electrification in our most vulnerable populations. Ultimately, this work would not be possible without PGE customers and the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, and we thank them for their support.”