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November 9th, 2011 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Cover Story

A City’s Riches

Introducing four Portlanders who do fabulous work for local nonprofits.

lede_skidmore_3801THE SKIDMORE PRIZE WINNERS - IMAGES: Chris Ryan/Wonderful Machine

You are about to meet a few special people.

When Willamette Week decided to award prizes each year to Portlanders under the age of 36 who perform great service for local nonprofits, we named the award The Skidmore Prize. 

Why? At the west end of Old Town’s Ankeny Square sits Skidmore Fountain. In September of 1888, when the elegant, European-styled landmark was dedicated, Ankeny Square was pretty much Portland’s heart. On one side of the fountain are words full of hope and idealism for this place: “Good citizens,” reads C.E.S. Wood’s encomium, “are the riches of a city.” Portland knew then—and knows today—that personal commitment is the key to our community’s health, livability and vibrancy.

This year all four Skidmore Prize winners—Stephen Marc Beaudoin of PHAME Academy, Jenn Cohen of the Circus Project, Ian Mouser of My Voice Music, and Temmecha Turner of Friends of the Children—thoroughly merit the “Good Citizen” label. They received their $4,000 prizes, each accompanied by a certificate, at a celebration at the Davis Street Tavern Tuesday evening, Nov. 8. The Skidmore Prize Celebration also marks the kickoff of Willamette Week’s annual Give!Guide, copies of which are inserted in this week’s paper and can be read online at wweek.com/giveguide.

As you’ll see from the profiles that follow, these four Portlanders build on the examples set by the 29 previous recipients of this honor. Special thanks are in order to Davis Wright Tremaine and OakTree Digital for financial support for the Skidmore Prizes, and to Integra Telecom for helping to fund the Skidmore Prize Celebration and Give!Guide Kickoff.

Click on a profile below to find more about these special people:

Images by Chris Ryan/Wonderful Machine

How Skidmore Prize Winners are Selected

This year’s committee consisted of two non-WWers—Phoebe Adams and David Martin—and three employees of this newspaper: Nick Johnson, Kendra Clune and Richard Meeker. Adams and Martin have long histories with both the Skidmore Prize and our Give!Guide. G!G Executive Director Brittany Cornett kept things on track.

We started by reading all nominating forms and reference documents. We also conducted separate reference checks of our own, while making sure all nominees were under the age of 36 and were earning less than $35,000 a year at the time they were nominated.

We then winnowed the impressive list of nominees to a group of eight, each of whom were interviewed for half an hour or so in Willamette Week’s offices. Then we made our decision. It was not easy, given the incredible contributions all the nominees make to the benefit of the Portland community.

How to Make a Nomination for the 2012 Skidmore Prize

It’s never too early to start thinking about next year. 

If you know someone who is 35 or younger and does amazing work for a Portland-area nonprofit, you’ve got a candidate for next year’s Skidmore Prize. The only other requirement is that your prospective nominee earn less than $35,000 a year and not be a volunteer.

Next July, WW and wweek.com will be full of announcements inviting you to nominate your candidate for a 2012 Skidmore Prize. The nomination process is open all month and easy: Just go to wweek.com/skidmoreprize and fill out the handy form. We’ll then contact the nominee for further information and references.

Our rules also allow candidates to nominate themselves.

Photographs of this year’s Skidmore Prize winners were facilitated by Focus on Youth, an 8-year-old local nonprofit that puts cameras in the hands of low-income, high-risk youth. Focus on Youth collaborates with professional photographers, schools and community organizations to develop projects that engage students’ imaginations and creativity while building their confidence and self-worth.

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