Leaders of the Portland Commons

The organizations that follow are prime examples of how exceptional Portland businesses are themselves rising to the occasion to support the individuals, nonprofits and small businesses of our community in unique and creative ways.

One aspect of modern-day Portland rings loud and clear: Our city is a healthy, thriving ecosystem of altruism. We have more than 7,000 nonprofits supported by tens of thousands of donors, and one in three Portlanders volunteer their time to give back to the community each year.

But, as we all know, making real, cultural change happen takes a village. The organizations that follow are prime examples of how exceptional Portland businesses are themselves rising to the occasion to support the individuals, nonprofits and small businesses of our community in unique and creative ways.

Chinook Book

Of the countless reasons Portland has become a destination city in recent years, there is perhaps no greater attraction than the mom-and-pop shops that call it home. From legendary small-batch ice cream chains to the solo bike mechanic running a fledgling business from his garage, our city relies heavily on self-made creativity and ingenuity to drive its growing economy. These small-scale establishments thrive for a number of reasons here in the City of Roses, but companies like Chinook Book play a major role in their recipe for success.

By partnering with sustainable businesses and nonprofit organizations to create redeemable mobile coupons, Chinook Book encourages Portlanders like you and me to spend our money where it can truly make a difference in our own community. For example, in this year's collaboration with Give!Guide, anyone who donates $10 or more to a nonprofit through Give!Guide receives freebies from Portland favorites like  ¿Por Qué No?, Ken's Artisan Bakery, Laughing Planet, Nossa Familia, Gluten Free Gem and more.  As a result, the average Portlander is helping the city's nonprofit community grow while finding reward in novel Portland experiences.

Supporting the local businesses and nonprofits we hold so dear to our hearts is no easy task, but it's necessary to ensure Portland remains the creative city that it has become. By lifting up these organizations, Chinook Book is providing them with the exposure and foot traffic they need in order to remain a part of our healthy, thriving neighborhood ecosystems. In turn, we are reminded that it's not just about doing business—it's about doing business with the community in mind.

— By Cameron Vigliotta

Pro Photo Supply

Pro Photo Supply has a vision: to build a strong, inclusive community through photography. One of the ways it's accomplished this goal is through partnerships with local organizations that use photography to support their mission. Most recently, Pro Photo Supply worked on regional contests with Friends of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, Freshwater Trust and Oregon Wild. These partnerships allow organizations to raise awareness of issues relevant to Portland's community while boosting exposure for the work of aspiring artists.  "The work that comes out of these contests is incredible," says Jonathan Combs, head of marketing for Pro Photo Supply.

This community-focused mission is what makes Pro Photo Supply stand out against more removed businesses like online retailers. From professional photographers to families documenting memories, Pro Photo Supply wants to help. "We focus on having relational rather than transactional relationships with customers," explains Combs. "We spend a lot of time cultivating our impact on customers."

Any business can donate money, but Pro Photo Supply strives to make these community partnerships more intentional and impactful than one-time donations. According to Combs, when someone fills out the partnership request form on Pro Photo Supply's website, the company assesses the request carefully: "Is this [request] on mission? Does this help build community and make lives better? Let's build something beneficial from the beginning."

— By Justin Carroll-Allan |  @justin_carroll9

Nossa Familia Coffee

Nossa Familia Coffee is all about family. The Portland roaster—whose name fittingly translates to "our family" in Portuguese—was founded in 2004, with family ties to over a century of coffee farming in Brazil. Today, the company works directly with smallholder farmers and cooperatives around the world, working to build relationships and treat everyone in its supply chain like family.

"We're finding that it's really tough for young farmers to stay in coffee right now," says marketing and sustainability director Karen Lickteig. "With market prices being so low, they're making less than it costs to produce the coffee." To ensure a larger profit for farmers, Nossa Familia always pays above fair trade price for coffee, and often pays double or more.

This year, Nossa Familia is giving back through its Festa Holiday Blend to support young farmers. Fifty cents of each bag of Festa sold will support the De la Gente Young Farmers Fund, which provides micro-loans and assistance for young farmers to purchase the resources needed to lead sustainable lives in coffee.

Supporting farmers isn't the only way Nossa Familia gives back. Its environmentally friendly Loring roasting machines use 80 percent less energy than a standard roaster, and produce 80 percent less emissions. Nossa Familia also encourages the use of plant-based milks in its cafes—which leave a substantially lighter carbon footprint than dairy milk—as well as reusable cups.

"Sustainability plays out in a lot of different ways," says Augusto Carneiro, founder and chief friendship officer. "It's not just taking care of the environment, or paying fair prices to farmers. It's really a broad-brush, holistic approach. Every single piece of the puzzle is important."

— By Lauren Kershner |  @explorin_lauren_pdx

A to Z Wineworks

When A to Z Wineworks co-founder Deb Hatcher tasted an Oregon pinot noir for the first time, her life was transformed.  "For me, it was love at first taste," she remembers.  At A to Z, Hatcher has channeled her energies to offer the highest-quality wines for the greatest sustainable value, building a company that combines commerce with conscience. The progressive business practices and collaborations with community partners have made the Newberg-based A to Z an indispensable part of Oregon's ecosystem of giving.

Grapes represent the majority of a wine's cost of goods.  For 17 years, A to Z has sourced 100 percent of its fruit from Oregon farmers, keeping it local.  The family-owned company boasts 50 percent women in management and is a Certified B Corporation committed to giving consideration to all of its stakeholders. Additionally, workers' pay is above the local living wage and all of its full-time staff have health benefit premiums paid by the company.

A to Z's generosity extends beyond its inner workings.  Each summer, A to Z hosts a fundraiser for Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, a nonprofit providing health care to 48,500 people per year in Yamhill and Washington counties.  The company also supports sustainable agriculture and gives a portion of its riesling profits to organizations that study and protect bees (including Oregon State University's Bee Lab and Portland's Xerces).

For Hatcher, A to Z 's giving isn't just a charitable act, it's a model to inspire others.  "If we could corral the power of business to commit to good," Hatcher says, "then the results could reach deeper than and be more powerful than might be believed."

— By Bennett Campbell Ferguson |  @thobennett

Tandem Property Management

Megan and Campbell Clarey want to make giving back as convenient as possible for 5,000 residents of the Portland area. As the second generation of Tandem Property Management, the sisters feel invested in the 2,700 units they oversee–and the community surrounding them.

"We're long-term holders, so we own the communities we manage, and we plan to own them for 30, 40, 50 years," Campbell says. "We can prioritize our relationship with our communities because we're in it for the long haul. It's easy for us to initiate community giving projects, for both our employees and our residents."

The Clareys encourage each apartment community to choose causes that resonate with them, then organize clothing and food drives within that neighborhood. This has resulted in a recent donation of more than 300 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank, and more than 100 pounds of clothing collected for Dress for Success this year.  They also offer a donation matching program of up to $500 for their nearly 100 employees.

Their father, Thomas Clarey, founded Tandem in the mid-'80s. As his daughters continue the family business, they also want to continue the "culture of giving" they were raised within and make it accessible to others. "Every business, no matter its age or longevity, should be focused on giving," Campbell explains. "We've lived in Portland our whole lives, and our financial success is due to success in the community," Megan adds. "We like to do what we can to give back."

— By Saundra Sorenson

Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.