A group of students and nonprofit grant recipients holding large checks on stage at the CommuniCare Grant Awards Ceremony.
This reflection was submitted by Mary Grace, a former CommuniCare participant from La Salle Catholic College Preparatory. Mary Grace participated in CommuniCare for three years and served in a leadership role during her senior year.

Never would I have thought that in just three years, my understanding of not only the nonprofit world but of the entire world would expand so greatly. CommuniCare is more than just an opportunity for students to help nonprofits – it gives them the power to make change. I want to break my CommuniCare experience into three parts: Never Imaginable, Who Would Have Thought?, and I Never Want to Stop

Never Imaginable 

  • At the beginning of my sophomore year, the word CommuniCare came up and instantly something inside of me sparked. From that moment, I knew this program was something I could have never imagined. It created a space for me to develop an understanding of how to be a grantmaker and to see myself as someone who is able to make a difference. I learned what being a part of something really means. CommuniCare taught me that being a part of something greater than just yourself can change everything around you.

Who Would Have Thought?

  • Who would have thought that I would be able to speak with nonprofits across the State of Oregon who are doing good in our society? These representatives have taught me so much about the world and how I can help. The process of writing a mission statement to define our goal and speaking up for marginalized groups was so valuable. And knowing our effort goes out into the world to really impact nonprofits put my perspective on blast and expanded it beyond belief. Then seeing nonprofits apply directly to my group for funding and want to hear what I had to say fascinated me! Who would’ve thought that adults would want to listen to a high school student?!

I Never Want to Stop 

  • The impact that has been left on me is honestly indescribable. It has sparked my passion and love for service even more and I am grateful for the connections I have formed with CommuniCare staff and individuals leading incredible nonprofits. From evaluating grant applications to having in-person or Zoom interviews, the grantmaking process taught me how nonprofits keep their amazing organizations running. These people have such passion and drive to make the world a better place – and being able to provide funding to their organizations makes a huge difference in their work. I never want to stop creating more connections, opportunities, and impact in the future.