CommuniCare Honored with Innovation in Philanthropy Award

Portland Business Journal Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2017 logoThis year the CommuniCare program was honored to receive Portland Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Award – Innovation in Philanthropy 2017. The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation developed the Communicare program more than 20 years ago empowering high school students to make tangible impacts while encouraging engagement and investment throughout their community. Giving students the power of philanthropy.

“The CommuniCare program is helping to grow philanthropy into the next generation,” said Barbara Hall, executive director of the CARE Foundation. “The Schnitzers often refer to it as a double bottom-line. The money gets out to the community, but the program also has a huge impact on students and their peers. It’s a true return on investment.”

CommuniCare makes a majority of the foundation’s small grants in the Portland area, with the CommuniCare students determining the allocation.

Students are challenged to raise $1,500 for an area of focus they choose. The CARE Foundation matches the fundraising dollars at 10:1 ratio, up to $15,000. Participanting students research local nonprofits based on their area of interest, evaluate grant proposals, meet with representatives and allocate money accordingly.

“Our only requirements are that the organization be a 501(c)3,” a nonprofit charitable organization, “and that the money stay within the state of Oregon,” Hall said.

Over the past 20 years, roughly 1,500 students have participated in CommuniCare, allocating more than $1 million to more than 230 nonprofit and school programs.

Jordan Schnitzer, president of the CARE Foundation, Harsch Investment Properties and director of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, has worked to expand CommuniCare, which is now comprised of 21 high schools, up from eight in 2016. CommuniCare expects to give $315,000 to nonprofit organizations and school programs this year.

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