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Giving Back: KLCC's Guide to Giving Tuesday 2020

Oregon Community Foundation

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Please join us Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 3:00pm and 7:00pm for a special broadcast: Giving Back: KLCC's Guide to GivingTuesday.

KLCC's Love Cross highlights non-profit organizations in our communities who have faced unique challenges this year with the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating wildfires that swept through Oregon in September. 

Read on for a list of organizations featured on this year's program, and for ways to contribute to their causes.

Oregon Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization that has been serving the people of Oregon since 1973. Their mission is to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. This year, OCF established specific funds to help organizations navigate the pandemic and the aftermath of the wildfires. We learn more about their mission and how they've had to be reactive to this year's unique needs from OCF CEO Max Williams and Sara Brandt, the Senior Philanthropic Advisor and Regional Director. (541)431-7099

Burrito Brigade is a nonprofit organization with a mission of feeding the hungry and unhoused in Oregon by hand-delivering vegan meals for free. In operation since 2014, they have provided thousands of nutritious meals to those in need. KLCC's Melorie Begay spent some time on the front lines of the brigade and brings us their story. (541) 556-5051

Credit Melorie Begay / KLCC
Burrito Brigade volunteers prep burritos on Nov.21, 2020, in Eugene, Ore.

The Corvallis Youth Symphony Association is a nonprofit organization that provides young people with opportunities for exceptional musical experiences, enhancing school music programs, and developing an awareness and appreciation of great music in the community and for students. After COVID-19 shut down their in-person instruction and concerts, they took their efforts online. CYSA Executive Director Annissa Bolder explains their 2020 journey. (541) 766-4903

Credit Corvallis Youth Orchestra Association
Corvallis Youth Orchestra Association
Members of the Corvallis Youth Orchestra rehearse via Zoom.

The Eugene-Springfield Youth Orchestra, founded in 1934, is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in the area. Their mission is to provide opportunities for youth to experience, appreciate, and perform orchestral music. Their need-based scholarships provide help with program fees and/or private lessons to any family that needs it. Collaborating with area schools and arts organizations, ESYO continues to enrich and encourage young musicians while helping to grow the culture of music education in our community. ESYO Executive Director Holly Spencer explains what community support means to them.

Credit Love Cross / KLCC
John Carlile, the Rainbow Relief Center Coordinator, oversees operations at the Upper McKenzie Community Center.

The Upper McKenzie Community Center was built by local residents in the 1950s as a place to gather for fun, learning, and celebration. After the wildfires in September, the community center became the Rainbow Relief Center- a distribution site to provide residents with food, clothing and supplies. They also serve as a wi-fi hot spot for locals to connect to work and school and to apply online for disaster assistance. We took a trip to the center to speak with Board President Margaret Beilharz, Kathy Jaworski, board member, and Rainbow Relief Center Coordinator extraordinaire, John Carlile.

Credit Jason Brown / KLCC
We took a trip to the Upper McKenzie Community Center to speak with organizers. From left, Margaret Beilharz, KLCC's Love Cross, Kathy Jaworski, and John Carlile.

Downtown Languages was incorporated in January 2004 with a mission of increasing opportunities for immigrants and building respect and understanding across cultures by providing language, literacy, and other educational programs. They offer individual and family programs to the communities of Eugene and Springfield. Interim Executive Director Brook Edwards and Donor Relations Manager Clare Feighan tell us how they have had to pivot this year in their continued efforts to serve immigrant communities. (541) 686-8483

Credit Clare Feighan / Downtown Languages
Downtown Languages
Students from 12 different countries celebrate at a potluck breakfast with staff and volunteers at Downtown Languages in Eugene in Feb., 2020.

Other organizations in our area that have adjusted to this year's unique needs include:

The United Way of Lane County, who has been working with community partners to identify impacts of the wildfires in Lane County and determining how to help community residents. As of Giving Tuesday, they have invested over $500,000 in local wildfire response efforts. They also continue to actively assess needs of Lane County nonprofits related to COVID-19, working with partners to raise funds and invest in response efforts and are mobilizing volunteers to help meet nonprofits needs.

The Eugene Family YMCA, who offered free child care and memberships to those displaced by the wildfires. With families grappling with school closures due to the pandemic, their biggest changes came to their child care programs -- going from three hours of afterschool child care to 10-hours of full-day care supporting Comprehensive Distance Learning.

Friends of The Children, a national nonprofit that pairs children facing the greatest obstacles with a paid, professional mentor called a "Friend for 12+ years," established a Lane County chapter in 2020. They work with the most challenged youth and families in Lane County to dismantle the cycles of intergenerational poverty. Since the local chapter was born in the midst of the pandemic, all of their processes and procedures have grown up with the virus in mind, with youth and mentors meeting online. People who support Friends of The Children financially or through their volunteerism define the number of youth that can be served and the speed at which change can occur. In October, they presented a webinar, UO Football, Race and Leadership in the Times of COVID-19, to hear their experiences of COVID-19 and this year’s civil unrest.

The Center for Community Counseling makes therapy accessible and affordable for those who have no others means of getting support. The nonprofit has been seeing clients out of the same building on Coburg Road for 42 years. During the pandemic and this era of social distancing, they’ve seen an increase in clients expressing fears and anxiety around COVID-19.

Vina Moses, Benton County’s oldest charitable organization, is gearing up once again for its annual Giving Tree event, which supplies donated gifts free of charge to more than 1,500 children in Benton County, as well as gift cards for families to buy food for the holiday. For more information, contact info@vinamoses.org or call 541-753-1420.

Copyright 2020, KLCC

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Public Speaking.
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