Oregon high school students to award $550,000 to 81 nonprofits through the CommuniCare grantmaking program

Virtual grant award ceremony on KGW Channel 8 on June 17

June 14, 2021 – Portland, OR – The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation today announced $550,000 in grants to 81 nonprofits and school programs throughout Oregon. These grants were made possible through CommuniCare, a year-long leadership program that gives Oregon high school students an opportunity to learn about issues affecting their communities to facilitate a deeper commitment to social activism. 

During the fall and winter months students are challenged to raise up to $1,500, which is matched 10:1 by The CARE Foundation. Forty-seven grantmaking groups from 27 Oregon schools, totaling 900 students, spent the year becoming independent grantmakers – establishing their own mission statements, reviewing nonprofit applications, conducting interviews, and deciding which nonprofits will receive requested funds. In lieu of traditional in-person ceremonies, The CARE Foundation will host a virtual Grant Awards Ceremony this year to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The most rewarding part of CommuniCare has been getting to know more about my community’s health and, for once, actually being involved and feeling useful,” said Adolfo B., a Creekside Community High School student participant. “The grantmaking process has really enlightened me and has furthered my passion for wanting to help others any way I can.” 

“My late parents established this program 24 years ago. The idea was to help high school students become grantmakers and encourage them to learn about nonprofits and the needs in their community,” said Jordan D. Schnitzer, Director of The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation. “Giving back to the community is a critical part of life. We care about each other in our community. When you reach out and help others it makes the community a bigger and stronger place.” 

CommuniCare will host a virtual grant awards ceremony on KGW Channel 8 on Thursday, June 17 from 8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with special guest appearances from Astoria High School, Grant High School, David Douglas High School, and Pendleton High School students and local nonprofits, including Latino Network, Ecology in Classrooms & Outdoors (ECO), and Project Pooch. 

“We are so proud that every school rose to the challenge and was able to successfully complete the program remotely,” said Kristen Engfors-Boess, CommuniCare’s Program Manager. “The news over this past year has been headline after headline of national and global crises, and it can be easy to feel small compared to the challenges at hand. But CommuniCare is something concrete that students can do to affect change in their own neighborhoods – to make the world the kind of place they want to see.”

About CommuniCare and The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation

Started by Harold and Arlene Schnitzer in 1997, the CommuniCare program channels The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation’s commitment to small, community giving into a school-based youth philanthropy program. Stewardship and education are of primary importance to Harold and Arlene’s son, Jordan Schnitzer, who is honoring his parents’ legacy and commitment by expanding the CommuniCare program. The program challenges students to learn about the needs of their communities through grantmaking and emphasizes the importance of empathy, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. By challenging students to engage in community service that is both rewarding and educational, we hope to encourage them to become active adult citizens with a lifelong ethic of philanthropy.

In its 24-year history, 3709 students have participated in the CommuniCare program, granting over $2,384,000 to 377 nonprofits and school programs. In addition to the Portland area school participants, CommuniCare programs are implemented in schools on Oregon’s North Coast and in Eastern Oregon. For more information visit CommuniCare and The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.