One thing became apparent from hearing four young nonprofit leaders get their $4,000 Skidmore Prizes at a ceremony today as part of WW's
annual Give!Guide. None of the four is afraid to get their hands dirty or to be creative in helping people.
"The biggest philanthropists and the biggest community servants are the small businesses and the people who work for nonprofits," WW
publisher Richard Meeker said at the City Club event that also featured remarks from Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen. "These aren't trust fund kids."
The Skidmore Prize dates back to WW
's first Give!Guide
in 2004 and comes with a $4,000 award. Recipients must be no older than 35 and make less than $35,000 a year. This year's recipients are Israel Bayer
of Street Roots, Laura Streib
of Vibe of Portland
, Leah Hall
of Morrison Child and Family Services
and Gaby Mendez
of Neighborhood House
Bayer's biweekly Street Roots
is sold and distributed by homeless vendors. Bayer, who says he will donate all $4,000 to the newspaper, tries to sleep on the street with vendors at least once a year. At age 35, the editor joked about just making the prize's age requirement.
"It's good to know I'm still considered young," Bayer joked before the ceremony. "I have one more year before I join the ranks of the elder statesmen."
Streib works through Vibe of Portland to bring art and music to Portland school children. Vibe also just introduced a new class called "Beyond Guitar Hero." "It teaches people how to actually play the guitar instead of just playing a video game for points," said Streib (pictured below).
Leah Hall, a recovering drug addict and mother of four, works at Morrison Child and Family Services with mothers to help them back on their feet and to be there for their children. "I think everyone has a desire to be that good parent, and we can help," says Hall (pictured below).
Gaby Mendez of Neighborhood House follows a group of 18 students, whose family or housing situation puts them at risk of drug abuse or delinquency. She acts as their counselor, hand-holder and all around cheerleader, trying to make sure problems at home don't slow them down in school. All of the nonprofits and leaders honored today reflect an important niche in the Portland community, she says.
"We all come at the nonprofit from different areas," says Mendez (pictured below). "And they're all so important."
If you want to donate to any of the organizations in this year's Give!Guide, please go here