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.”