Authored by Katie Ash, Communications & Events Coordinator, Lift Urban Portland
When the team at Lift Urban Portland learned that Elemental Technologies would be supporting our organization with a $30,000 grant through the Elemental Community Investment Fund, we were thrilled and surprised – but not completely shocked.
Over the past two years, Elemental has cultivated a deep partnership with Lift Urban Portland by being one of the largest donors to our 2015 food drive, providing financial and volunteer support for our garden program and acting as a liaison for Lift Urban Portland to the broader Portland technology community. That kind of partnership is key for Lift Urban Portland. We’re a small organization with big dreams, and we rely on our community partners to help us achieve our mission.
Lift Urban Portland aims to eliminate hunger in Northwest and downtown Portland by providing food for those in need. We serve a population that remains invisible to most visitors, and even residents of this neighborhood. While Northwest Portland is often associated with affluence, two of the four most economically depressed ZIP codes in Oregon are in fact located in Northwest and downtown Portland, based on a 2015 analysis by the Economic Innovation Group.
We lift up this population through our food pantry, which is visited by more than a hundred people each week; our food box delivery program, which provides a five-day supply of groceries delivered directly to the doorsteps of those who physically cannot make it to the pantry; and our Food for Kids program, which provides nourishment for low-income families.
But our work doesn’t stop there. We also use food as a vehicle to provide nutritional education and build community through programs like Supper Club, which brings together residents in low-income apartment buildings to cook and share a meal together. Our goal isn’t just to nourish the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
Elemental’s pledge to Lift Urban Portland of $30,000 over the next three years provides valuable ongoing support we can count on to sustain and expand our programs to best serve our neighbors in need. The funds are slated to bolster our community-building programs like Supper Club and the food box delivery program – two offerings that are unique to Lift Urban Portland and aren’t provided by any other organizations in this area.
We are so grateful to Elemental for truly giving back to the community in a meaningful way.
Authored by Nicole Howe, Community Involvement Manager, Impact NW
Research shows that kids start making up their minds about science at a surprisingly young age. Many students begin to believe science is too hard, too boring or not for them. AKA Science, a program of Impact NW, strives to intervene early and engage elementary students with fun science activities that nurture their curiosity and build their confidence. The name “AKA Science” stands for All Kids Are Scientists — and that’s the message we want kids to take away.
Each class uses hands-on curriculum, a trained instructor and a supply kit to bring lesson plans to life. In the 2015-2016 school year, we offered more than 200 classes across 60 sites and reached approximately 2,000 students. Our success is a direct result of partnerships with community schools, public libraries and dedicated volunteers.
In 2013, the team at Elemental Technologies heard our call for kit-building volunteers and swept us away with their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to our cause. Since that first day, they have continued to pitch in, contributing 200 volunteer hours to AKA Science. No matter how crazy our requests — “Count fifty sets of 164 beads,” or “Fill these 200 bags with pea gravel” — Elementals are always up to the challenge and ready to get things done.
This year, Elemental deepened that relationship by investing in AKA Science with a $30,000 grant to be distributed over the next three years. AKA Science is a small program that’s trying to do big things, and this award from the Elemental Community Investment Fund is a tremendous gift to help us in our work. Elemental’s contribution will aid in AKA Science’s mission to continue to make high-quality science experiences accessible to as many students as possible — especially to students who might not otherwise have access.
We hope that the passion and commitment Elemental has shown in serving our community will stand as a shining example for others to follow. We thank Elemental on behalf of our program, and on behalf of the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and community members that this generosity is helping to inspire!
Authored by Eric Rosewall, Executive Director, Depave
The roots of Depave stretch back to two friends helping each other with backyard demonstrations in the early 2000s. Charged with adrenaline and excited by the potential of the practice, they piloted the concept on a grander scale with the first official depaving event in 2008. Word of Depave’s unique approach to community building and neighborhood improvement spread quickly, and soon groups from around Portland were asking Depave to help them “regreen” their over-paved spaces. A small group of community-minded volunteers set to work, turning a wild idea into a sustainable effort. Over the years Depave has been fortunate to have many committed volunteers champion the cause, fund projects that have strengthened our model and contribute to developing Depave into a successful organization.
Depaving is very much about bringing people together for a powerful exercise in teamwork – we call it Barn Raising in Reverse. Depave's community events are most powerful when multiple groups, new community members and seasoned depavers join together to celebrate and sweat – sharing the pavement, building bonds and learning from one another. We cherish the lasting relationships built through our work in the community, and that's why we always look forward to the return of the Green Shirts. The team at Elemental first joined us in 2014 to rip up pavement at the Portland Mercado, but they didn’t stop there. To our delight, Elemental returned and kept returning to help us replenish local neighborhoods. Elemental’s commitment to the community is awesome, and we’re honored to be one among the many organizations within their volunteer service portfolio. It’s so meaningful to both our staff and our program to have the ongoing, enthusiastic support of strong groups like the Elemental Technologies team.
As Depave shifts from startup to established organization, we are able to spread our impact beyond Portland and support more communities by increasing access to healthy urban greenspaces in which community members can learn, play, grow and connect. The three-year financial commitment from the Elemental Community Investment Fund bolsters our efforts to fund projects on the ground in over-paved areas around the Portland-Vancouver region and supports new Green Thumb programming aimed to engage people in greenspace stewardship. Interest in depaving is growing near and far, and we’re inspired by the depaving efforts we helped to establish in the Puget Sound and the Ontario, Canada regions. In the years to come, we hope our model will support a broad network of depavers working to peel back the pavement across the country. Thank you from the bottom of our wheelbarrows to the leaders at Elemental for believing in the power of Depave’s work.
Elemental Technologies is the leading supplier of software-defined video solutions for multiscreen content delivery. Founded in 2006, Elemental is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.