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September 15, 2016

Dear Friends and Supporters:

St. Johns Main Street is excited to announce its new name -
St. Johns Center for Opportunity! Our new name has been a few years in the making and reflects hours of conversations, thoughtful planning and a lot of love from our team of board members and staff. We will be organizing multiple opportunities this fall to share more about our name change, including an open house at our office scheduled for Tuesday, November 15th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. We have also included information about why we changed our name and what we are up to below. 

Why have you changed your name?
Starting in 2014, our organization engaged in a strategic planning process that included significant market research, community input, internal dialogue and support from an outside facilitator. It was through this process that our board and staff recognized the need to approach our work from a slightly different angle since key needs in St. Johns were going unmet and we were well-positioned to address them. Since then, we have expanded our service boundaries from the traditional Main Street corridor to the entirety of St. Johns. We have also diversified our programmatic offerings to include local job development, affordable housing advocacy and investing in community development efforts, in addition to the small business support and community beautification work we were already doing. Given all of these changes to our programming, we felt it was appropriate to identify a name that reflected our mission, vision and values. 

What is your mission & vision?
We are working to strengthen the St. Johns neighborhood through people-centered economic development and community building. We envision a thriving, diverse, and just St. Johns where everyone has access to affordable housing, benefits from economic opportunity, and is civically engaged in the community. 

What do you do? 
We engage in activities to support our mission and vision in four key areas: 1) engaging in community building activities and promoting civic engagement and volunteerism; 2) strengthening our local workforce by connecting residents (including youth) to local jobs and supporting them in their job seeking efforts; 3) advocating for more affordable housing in the neighborhood; and 4) connecting local businesses to resources and information.

What’s on the horizon?
Over the next month we will be launching a new website and new jobs board. Community members will be able to stop into our office, check out our website or read our newsletter to find local jobs. Additionally, we have just entered into an amazing partnership with MESO (Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon). One of their team members - Carmen Madrid - will be hosting regular office hours at our space so that she can meet with St. Johns business owners and provide them with high quality business technical assistance. You can read more about all of the great things we are up to at: www.stjohnsopportunity.org. 

Will you still have an office on Main Street?
We plan to stay in our current office space through the remainder of our lease, which ends in 2017. We have been working closely with our landlord to figure out next steps and if we can stay in this space. While that may not be possible, we plan to maintain a physical office in St. Johns. We have been keeping our eyes open for opportunities all over the neighborhood, but want to remain in a central location so that community members can stop in to talk about jobs in the area or to ask questions about community happenings. We will also work to make our space available to community members or groups who need a space to meet or host a class/training.

Do you have new contact information?
We will be updating our website and email addresses to reflect our new name. However, we’ll make sure that everything gets forwarded from our current email addresses so that it’s a smooth transition for all of you to get in touch with us. Our phone number has stayed the same - 503-841-5522.

How can I get involved?
We are always looking for volunteers to engage with one for our action teams, lend a hand at our monthly plaza clean-ups, or help out at the Farmers Market. We are also looking for 1-2 volunteer office assistants to help out Tues-Fri from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find information at www.stjohnsoppurtunity.org/volunteer or give us a call at 503-841-5522.  

As always, we welcome any questions or feedback you have to share! Please feel free to reach out to me at lindsay@stjohnsopportunity.org. 

Sincerely,


Lindsay Jensen, Executive Director
St. Johns Center for Opportunity