The Oregon Community Foundation has announced a new strategic plan aimed at ensuring that low-income children, children of color, and rural children in the state have access to opportunities that lead to stable and successful lives.
Strategic Plan 2019: Our Greatest Opportunity: Oregon (8 pages, PDF) outlines the foundation's key priorities, including boosting impactful giving in the state, increasing public and private investment in early childhood and parenting education, and raising awareness about and solutions to the "opportunity gap" — the lack of stable housing, quality education, support systems, and connections for people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. To advance those priorities, the foundation will support collaborative, inclusive, and equitable community problem solving, with a focus on community-based projects, investments in local leaders, and outreach to diverse communities.
In a report released in conjunction with the plan and the launch of a new brand identity, the foundation highlights examples of effective community engagement in Oregon in six areas — a healthy environment, sustainable communities, equitable and inclusive communities, economic development, food security, and affordable housing. According to the report, 2018 Tracking Oregon's Progress: Oregonians Mobilizing for Change (40 pages, PDF), common ingredients for mobilizing successful community-driven solutions include building strong relationships with stakeholders and volunteers, involving community members who are most impacted by an issue, fostering effective leadership, focusing on the broader end goal, and developing a diverse network of local experts and building community capacity to achieve long-term results.
"We are strengthening efforts to eliminate our state's opportunity gap, because we know that if kids and families do not reach their full potential, our state cannot thrive," said the foundation's president and CEO, Max Williams. "When communities recognize their own capacity to mobilize and solve problems — whether through charitable giving or civic engagement — they create powerful and positive change. This change has a direct link to a child's economic mobility."