NAO Update: May 7, 2021

Happy Friday! We’re still waiting for more details about how to apply for the Congressionally Directed Spending through Senator’s Wyden and Merkley. We will be sending another update with that information when we receive it early next week.

In the meantime, you can get started on the process by creating an account to submit your request here and if you’re looking for all the available information that we have so far, you can find that here.

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NAO Update: May 5, 2021

We hope your week is going well and you’re getting a chance to get outside to enjoy the sunshine! We wanted to send out a quick update to the Congressional Directed Spending news that we announced last week.

Senator’s Wyden and Merkley are now using an online form to collect Congressional Directed Spending requests. If your organization is requesting funding, please create an account and use this form to submit your request. If you’ve already emailed your field representative, please fill out this form as well. Additionally, the deadline to submit these requests has been extended to next Friday, May 14 by 6:00 PM PST.

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NAO Update: April 29, 2021

We have some exciting and breaking news! Earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations committee announced that they’ll accept Congressionally Directed Spending (sometimes known as earmarks) on a bipartisan basis for spending bills for the next fiscal year. This is big news as it’s the first time this has happened in a decade. This decision has the potential to be incredibly beneficial to Oregon nonprofit organizations.

As of today, Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have yet to release more specific guidance on what kind of information they will require for Congressionally Directed Spending requests from nonprofit organizations. We understand that both of our Senator’s will have the opportunity to direct spending, however, as Oregon’s only delegation member who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Jeff Merkley has begun leading efforts to ensure that Oregon’s organizations who would like to pursue Congressionally Directed Spending via the Senate appropriations process can do so.

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NAO Update: April 22, 2021

Happy Earth Day! We are so lucky to have so many different nonprofits that care about and help steward the incredible natural resources of Oregon. All across the state, from our coastal beaches through the forested mountains and lakes to the sage-covered high desert, nonprofits are protecting and restoring our natural environment, protecting flora and fauna, and keeping Oregon a beautiful place to live. I want to thank all of them for the important work they do, many of them working completely with volunteer power!

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Following the Verdict, NAO’s Commitment to Racial Justice Continues

Like many of you, the staff at NAO has been following the George Floyd trial as well as the continued horror of the murders of Black men, women, and children at the hands of police who are sworn to protect, not traumatize our communities. We are asking ourselves (particularly those of us who are white and/or non-Black), our members, our partner organizations, donors, and funders to find ways to show up and actively engage in solidarity with, and in support of, Black community members and Black-led organizations.

We can now collectively exhale that accountability – at least in this one case, for the memory of one Black man, father, brother, son, and friend – has prevailed. We can appreciate the magnitude of this moment and work towards a day when accountability is no longer an anomaly for people of color.

Beyond a single court decision, let us also take time to reflect upon how entrenched practices, cultural norms, and power structures can perpetuate inequities in all of our systems. Racism is a legacy in our state’s painful history and racism still exists in Oregon today. We can and must commit to doing better.

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NAO Update: April 15, 2021

My friend and colleague Michael Cherry, the Executive Director of the Spirit Mountain Community Fund asked me to give her a summary of what NAO is seeing within the nonprofit sector so far in 2021. As I started to gather my thoughts, I realized that I’d like to share this information more broadly, so I’ve compiled an overview of identifiable trends that NAO is witnessing across the charitable nonprofit sector throughout Oregon. These trends have emerged organically, through observations, discussions, and interactions across NAO’s programming. What I’ve outlined below is not based on statistically relevant samplings or studies (except for the Blackbaud data), but we are planning to do a repeat of the study we did last June and released in August 2020 looking at the Impacts of COVID-19 on Oregon Charitable Nonprofits.

1. Trust in nonprofits is skyrocketing. Individuals, families, and communities that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic and economic hardships are taking notice of who is helping them get through what may be the worst and most challenging times of their lives. Independent Sector, a national membership organization for nonprofits and foundations, released a study last year measuring the amount of trust that communities put in various institutions in society. 

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NAO Update: April 08, 2021

Today, NAO Board President Rick Jung and NAO Public Policy Chair Raziah Roushan were invited to attend a special briefing with the White House Office organized by Independent Sector. The discussion was with Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and Gene Sperling, the White House American Rescue Plan (ARP) Coordinator and centered on both the ARP and the American Jobs Plan announced last week. The below are their reflections on the discussion:

We had the chance to participate in a virtual meeting this morning hosted by Independent Sector and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Team. This was an opportunity to learn more about the rollout of the American Rescue Plan and the administrative philosophy that served to underpin the funding and its anticipated outcomes.

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NAO Update: April 01, 2021

Happy April everyone! I hope that the month is starting off well for you and your nonprofits. With the sun shining and vaccines flowing (sort of), it just feels like there’s more cause for hope and optimism across our state. I know that a big part of that hope is born through the talented and skilled workers and volunteers at your nonprofits. Our sector has kept so many of our communities afloat and they still are working to bring support, care, beauty and hope in towns and communities across the state.

I was out running the other morning and was greeted by these two, clucking their way across the frosted grass. They looked so content! It was certainly worth my time to stop, breathe the cold air and watch as they went about their chicken business in the early morning light. The calmness and in-the-moment presence of these two had a wonderful effect on me and was a good endorphin rush for the rest of my run.

Now, I’m not going to even try to do a hard-right turn segue and draw a parallel between chickens and nonprofits. (I’d be happy to hear from any of you that can!) I just wanted to share this photo and my observation (epiphany?) that we’re all lucky to be alive, entering into another spring and coming out of the darkest days of our COVID experience. Yes, we have a lot of work to do in our state to address injustice, (re)build relationships and create greater equity for all Oregonians. And it is also good sometimes to just stop, breathe and watch chickens in the grass… real or metaphorical. I hope that you may get a similar opportunity soon.

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