We’re hosting a unique event, a street party, & a kickoff celebration – all in September!

Community members will rappel of the roof of the Oxford Hotel!

On Saturday, September 7, those who visit the intersection of NW Lava Road and NW Minnesota Avenue between 11 am and 3 pm will see quite a sight! Community members will be rappelling off the roof the Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend as a result of having raised funds to for United Way of Deschutes County’s community work. At 7 stories and 70 feet, the Oxford Hotel is Central Oregon’s tallest building.

The event is called OVER THE EDGE and it’s the first event of its kind in our region. To celebrate, we will also be hosting a Ground Party – closing streets off to traffic and opening them up to pedestrians from 11 am – 3 pm on Saturday, September 7th. The party will host a beer garden, food carts, music by local DJs, and activities for kids and grown-ups in booths held by local nonprofit partners and sponsors. The event is free and open to the public. All are invited show up and join the festivities.

We are hosting OVER THE EDGE particularly because it is scary. For our community’s most vulnerable – those who wake up in the morning not knowing where they will sleep that night, if they will eat that day, or when they will next be assaulted or abused – every day is scary. By rappelling off of the roof of the Oxford, participants will face their own fears to raise funds for our fight for the health, education, financial stability, and resilience of every person in our Central Oregon community.

Not everyone is dealt the same hand in life – from income to health to education to trauma to resilience. Sixty four percent of adults faced at least 1 traumatic experience as a child. Ten percent confronted 5 or more. In Central Oregon, 40% of households struggle every day to make ends meet – without enough money for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and a cell phone.  On a single night, nearly 900 people experience homelessness in Central Oregon – 12% more than last year.

We are focused on fixing these imbalances for today’s kids so that when they are tomorrow’s adults, they can thrive. Together with their 26 nonprofit partners, 100 corporate partners, and nearly 2,500 donors, our local United Way helps 27% of Central Oregonians.

We are a local fundraiser and a local funder. The money they raise here, stays here and serves this community. Every year, our we launch a community campaign to raise funds used to address the most pertinent, unmet needs of individuals and families in our Central Oregon community. The campaign includes not only corporate leaders, but also employees from businesses and nonprofits all over our region, as well as individual community members. Funds are also raised for other local, regional, and national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations based on donor wishes.

Two days before OVER THE EDGE, we are hosting our Campaign Kickoff Celebration, also at the Oxford Hotel. On Thursday, September 5th from 6 pm – 8 pm, community members are invited to a reception to learn more about the nonprofit’s work. To learn more or to come to the Kickoff, call 541-389-6507 or email kati@deschutesunitedway.org.

We are a convener. We bring he nonprofit brings together community leaders, local governments, other funders, nonprofits, and stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate our efforts in addressing our most complicated issues. We continue to address challenges facing our community right now. And we are also moving upstream to address the root cause of challenges that are immediate today, so that they don’t exist tomorrow.

We just awarded $310,000 to 26 local nonprofits to help build resilience in Central Oregon!

Twenty-six Central Oregon nonprofits have been collectively awarded $310,000 from United Way of Deschutes County as part of the organization’s annual grantmaking process. Every year, our local United Way launches a community campaign to raise funds that are used to address the most pertinent, unmet needs of individuals and families in our community. Funds raised through this process stay local to help our friends and neighbors and to address some of the biggest issues affecting our region, improving lives and creating lasting change.

United Way supports local, direct-service nonprofits that focus on a wide range of human health and welfare issues, from basic needs to empowerment, through grantmaking that provides direct financial aid to these programs and services. Nonprofit organizations that receive grants from United Way through this process are called Community Impact Partners.

Grant recipients include organizations or programs that are focused on building resilience in Central Oregon. One such program is Central Oregon 2-1-1 Info. Similar to the 9-1-1 emergency phone number, 2-1-1 is a one-stop connection to local services, from utility assistance, food, housing, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention, and more. When someone dials 2-1-1 from anywhere in Central Oregon, they are connected with a highly-trained call specialist who is skilled in needs assessment and can provide referrals to resources. Every day, call specialists help callers find assistance for complex issues such as financial problems, substance abuse, and suicide prevention, as well as for simpler issues such as finding volunteer opportunities and donation options.

Council on Aging of Central Oregon’s Meals on Wheels program is another United Way grantee. Meals on Wheels enhances the quality of life of homebound individuals by providing home-delivered nutritious meals, personal contact, and related services. Many of those served by the program are seniors and many live in rural areas. In recent months, the importance of resources for seniors facing depression has come into the spotlight. For years, the Council on Aging of Central Oregon has provided this vital service to so many members of our community.

Other grant recipients include: Back Door Café, Bethlehem Inn, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend, Camp Fire of Central Oregon, CASA, Cash Oregon, Central Oregon Veterans Ranch, Council on Aging Central Oregon, Family Resource Center of Central Oregon, Friends of the Children, Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, Healthy Beginnings, Heart of Oregon Corps, J Bar J (Big Brothers Big Sisters), J Bar J (Cascade Youth & Family Center), J Bar J (Grandma’s House), KIDS Center, LaPine Community Kitchen, Latino Community Association, MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, NeighborImpact Food, NeighborImpact Housing, Saving Grace, Oregon Children’s Foundation – SMART, Thrive Central Oregon, and Central Oregon 211 Info.

United Way board member Melanie Grandjacques chaired the Community Impact Committee, which was made up of 29 local community member volunteers who reviewed the grant proposals and made funding award decisions. She said: “It was heartening to read proposals from so many wonderful community organizations that devote all their waking hours to improving the lives of members of our community. At the same time, it was disheartening to have insufficient resources to fully fund every worthy request. We focused the resources we had on programs that address the impacts of childhood trauma and focus on developing resilience.”

United Way of Deschutes County is leading a community-wide social movement to build resilience in individuals, families, and our community, and to increase awareness and decrease impacts of childhood trauma. For 67 years, the organization has focused on health, education, and financial stability as the foundation of wellbeing and opportunity, along with basic needs like food, shelter, and health care. As the nonprofit continues to focus on these causes, it is also working upstream to tackle childhood trauma: the root cause of many problems currently faced by so many in our community.