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. It was an extremely enlightening presentation with the following key takeaways.

NFirst and foremost, this was an historic opportunity in terms of leveraging government and nonprofit sector partnerships. We are fortunate that our friends at Independent Sector invited NAO to this special White House briefing. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was built with the idea that the provided funding will serve as a catalyst for longer-termed systemic change. These funds are meant to address issues ranging from housing inequity, childhood poverty, infrastructure across a spectrum of areas including employment, broadband and roads and facilities. What was clearly being presented is that funding in and by itself doesn’t solve long-term problems, but the collaboration and partnership between government and the nonprofit sector can create programmatic solutions that create lasting change. It was pointed out time and again that for the ARP to be deemed a success it must not only provide short-term solutions to pressing concerns but provide a clearly defined roadmap for addressing these systemic issues over the long-term. It isn’t enough to just address COVID-19 if it doesn’t result in strategies to address and resolve these issues into the future.

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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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NAO Update: March 23, 2021

Earlier this month President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which provides nearly $1.9 trillion in economic relief to the American people during the coronavirus pandemic. Included in this bill was funding and program expansions or extensions that will help nonprofits and communities we all serve. In an earlier issue, NAO provided summarized sections of the bill we believe were of most value to our sector.

This Thursday, March 25, you're invited to join nonprofit organizations from across the country to hear from former Congressman Cedric Richmond, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and others to discuss this landmark legislation and what it means for the mission and operations of your nonprofit organization.

Organized by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, this briefing will help us all better understand the ARPA and set a tone for future engagement. We hope to see a lot of Oregon nonprofits join us Thursday, March 25 at 12:00 p.m. PT for the conversation, including questions and answers.

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NAO Update: March 18, 2021

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) released this important message on how their community is processing and reacting to the senseless murders of eight people around Atlanta – six of them Asian women. We stand with them in their grief and in their heartbreak and rage at these senseless acts. The rise of intimidation and violence on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in Oregon and across the US can neither be ignored nor tolerated. These murders bring into tragic focus the ongoing escalation of anti-Asian hate and it demands all of us, as leaders in the nonprofit sector to both condemn the violence itself, but also the rhetoric that leads to this violence. We must interrupt this rhetoric whenever it arises: in board rooms, in our communities and in our political leaders.

Please take time today to read the APANO message and do your part in supporting APANO and all API communities so that they may feel safe and at home in Oregon and our country.

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