Programs and Initiatives
OCF is home to a dedicated group of professionals with fresh approaches to tough issues — people who use their lifetime of experience and caring to establish and support strategic initiatives that have a lasting impact on our state. Your donations make this commitment to Oregon possible.
If you are seeking information on applying for an OCF program grant, please visit our Grants section.
The Gray Family Foundation's Environmental Education Program seeks to encourage a strong local land ethic, sustainable communities, and stewardship of the natural environment for Oregonians of all ages.
Community 101 (C101) is a school-based program that connects students to neighborhood issues, such as hunger, homelessness and child abuse. In C101, each classroom operates as a mini-foundation, with students provided $5,000 for grantmaking. The class identifies issues, researches nonprofits, reviews grant applications and awards grants. Students see how nonprofits provide support to those in need and how donors help improve our state. C101 donors receive recognition and are encouraged to visit the classroom. Oregon communities receive 100 percent of the grant funds.
This five-year initiative exemplifies what OCF does best: bringing communities together to address common needs and hopes. The RAI provides a one-time, $1 million special allocation to each of OCF’s eight service regions. OCF’s volunteer Leadership Councils have each selected a regional issue and are working on a sustained solution to these challenges.
Ready to Learn promotes school readiness by making sure all Oregon children experience quality early care and learning opportunities. Projects that Ready to Learn supports include best-practice parenting education programs; scholarships for child care providers who are seeking a community college degree or professional development training; and a statewide initiative to reach high-risk families with books and language development information.
The Boomers and Babies program provides early childhood organizations with the resources to engage Baby Boomer volunteers in activities that improve outcomes for children, such as cuddling infants in therapeutic classrooms or being a reading partner for a preschooler. Two pilot projects in Forest Grove and Medford are continuing to engage volunteers and strengthen their programs. A Learning Community comprising 16 early childhood organizations (including child care centers, relief nurseries, and Head Start programs) is exploring ways to match the energy and expertise of Boomer volunteers with their organization’s needs. Any funds contributed to this project are matched dollar for dollar by The Atlantic Philanthropies, increasing the amount contributed to Oregon.
OCF and the Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC) created ASPIRE in 1998 to encourage students who do not traditionally think of themselves as college-bound to pursue education and training beyond high school. Through ASPIRE, students receive one-on-one mentoring and drop-in help from an ASPIRE Center in their high schools. Beginning with four pilot schools in 1998, ASPIRE has expanded to 115 sites across Oregon, with plans to expand to an additional 50 sites. ASPIRE engages more than 1,000 volunteers and reaches more than 11,000 students. Funds from OCF advised funds help with partnership grants in which ASPIRE provides half the funding for a program and the school matches it. Partnership grants can be up to $2,500 each.
The Latino Partnership Project focuses on the development of leadership in the Latino community and providing the Latino community with education and services that will allow people to become more fully integrated into the community at large. Program goals include strengthening Latino-led nonprofits; providing community-based instruction for English language learners; and encouraging relationships between Latino leaders and non-Latino leaders.
Oregon Involved is a statewide effort to make it easy for Oregonians to get involved and make a difference in every community in Oregon.
The Chalkboard Project is a partnership of foundations working to improve Oregon's K-12 public schools. Chalkboard is helping to create an informed and engaged public that understands and addresses the tough choices and tradeoffs required to build strong schools.