MISSION & VISION
We are working to strengthen the St. Johns & Cathedral Park neighborhoods in Portland, OR through people-centered economic development and community building. We envision a thriving, diverse, and just community where everyone has access to affordable housing, benefits from economic opportunity, and is civically engaged.
We engage in activities to support our mission and vision in five key areas:
- Engaging in community building activities such as neighborhood events, serving as a resource hub, creative placemaking, and empowering leaders;
- Strengthening our local workforce by connecting residents (including youth) to local jobs and supporting them in their job seeking efforts;
- Organizing our local farmers market and promoting access to fresh, healthy food;
- Advocating for more affordable housing in the neighborhood, and;
- Connecting local businesses to resources and information.
We believe in transparency
We believe in open dialogue, seeking community feedback, asking questions and giving honest answers.
We are design thinkers
We believe in reflection, continuous learning and being creative to improve all aspects of our work.
We value our team
We invest in our staff, board members, and volunteers and their professional development.
We work hard & we laugh hard
We are confident in our work, love what we do and have fun making each other laugh.
We are resilient leaders
We stay optimistic, use data to inform our decisions and push through tough times in order to move mountains.
We strive to be an inclusive organization
We have an open door policy and promote a welcoming and approachable atmosphere.
We believe in working together
We believe that collaboration and strategic partnerships lead to a stronger St. Johns.
What We've Achieved
Here are key accomplishments from fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016):
- Changed our name from St. Johns Main Street to St. Johns Center for Opportunity and launched our new mission, vision and theory of change.
- Granted over $27,000 in Storefront Mini Grant Funds to local businesses
- Grew our Food Equity Initiative at the Farmers Market and distributed more than $7,500 in free food to residents in-need through our SNAP match and Veggie Voucher programs
- Hosted our 3rd annual fundraising event and raised $10,000 to support our events and initiatives.
- Fiscally sponsored the St. Johns Bizarre & the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
- Acquired the North Portland Preserve and Serve Library
- Organized the annual Volunteer Fair event in partnership with the St. Johns Neighborhood Association.
- Actively participated in community events such as the Halloween Walk, plus supported many more events through marketing support and/or by lending out our event equipment.
- Launched our St. Johns Speaks series and hosted multiple storytelling events in partnership with Roosevelt High School’s Urban Griots program led by artist S. Renee Mitchell and supported by artist Bobby Abrahamson.
- Hosted six Leadership Forum meetings at the Center for Opportunity, which brought together leaders from the various nonprofit and grassroots groups in town to share ideas and talk about community happenings.
- Hosted six business seminars/mixers for our local business community.
- Utilized 150 University of Portland students to help with community beautification projects like trash clean-up, graffiti removal, and other landscaping efforts in the downtown corridor.
- Organized and supported multiple promotional opportunities for our small business community, including offering stipends for businesses who enrolled in the Little Boxes initiative. In total, we invested over $3,000 in promotional efforts.
- Organized our 2nd annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl which drew in 100 people to our business district on Small Business Saturday.
- Hosted 2 Art Constitutional days in conjunction with the Farmers Market. This event offers a distinct combination of artworks, demonstrations, hands-on art making, and performances.
- Led monthly clean-up parties in our downtown plaza space.
- Partnered with Design + Culture Lab to host the Love Locks project in St. Johns. Through this interactive public art project, we heard from nearly 1,000 community members about what they value in St. Johns or what they wish they had here.