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News Releases
Lisa Mensah_Official Photo_Courtesy of Oregon Community Foundation
Lisa Mensah_Official Photo_Courtesy of Oregon Community Foundation
Oregon Community Foundation Taps Nationally Recognized Community Development Finance Leader as Next CEO (Photo) - 06/28/22

Oregon Community Foundation Taps Nationally Recognized Community Development Finance Leader as Next CEO

Lisa Mensah returns home and brings a background in rural development and economic justice to OCF as she steps into chief executive role

 

PORTLAND, Ore. – June 28, 2022, Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) Board of Directors announced today that they have named a national expert in economic opportunity and security, Lisa Mensah, to be the Foundation’s next Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Mensah will be OCF’s fourth CEO in its nearly 50-year history, succeeding Max Williams, who is transitioning out of his role after a decade of leadership. 

 

Lisa Mensah is widely considered an expert on access to capital in distressed and low-wealth communities and on the role of finance in social, economic, and racial justice. As president and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), Ms. Mensah currently heads one of the nation’s leading networks of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Since joining OFN in 2017, Lisa Mensah has brought new visibility and investment to the CDFI field. Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was a forceful advocate for America’s most vulnerable small businesses and microbusinesses, helping safeguard them by bringing new capital and partners to the CDFI industry. In 2020, Google partnered with OFN to invest $180 million in corporate and philanthropic capital into CDFIs through OFN as the lending intermediary. The same year, OFN launched the Finance Justice Fund, which strives to raise a fresh $1 billion of socially responsible capital, with Twitter as the Fund’s first investor.

 

Born and raised in Oregon, Ms. Mensah is returning to her home state following an illustrious career that has taken her from working on rural poverty with the Ford Foundation to serving as Undersecretary for Rural Development at the USDA in the Obama Administration, managing a $215 billion loan portfolio, to currently leading Opportunity Finance Network.

 

“I am excited to return to my roots here in Oregon; to leverage my expertise and the sum of my experiences,” said Lisa Mensah, OCF’s incoming president and CEO.  “In this moment, I feel very fortunate to join hands with a 50-year tradition at Oregon Community Foundation, working to help this state and its people flourish.”

 

Oregon Community Foundation catalyzes community-led solutions in support of a healthy, thriving Oregon. We look forward to welcoming Lisa Mensah back home in this new leadership role to help advance this great work, and all that will be accomplished together in the years ahead.” said Kimberly Cooper, Board Chair, Oregon Community Foundation.

 

Lisa Mensah begins her official role as president and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation in September 2022. She will oversee the development of the Foundation’s next strategic plan and OCF’s 50th anniversary in 2023. Until her arrival, Max Williams continues in the top leadership role.

 

About Lisa Afua Serwah Mensah

Lisa Mensah holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Harvard University and has led Opportunity Finance Network since March 2017, bringing expertise in both public and private sector financial tools to improve economic security. She serves on the Board of Ecotrust, as well as the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, Bank of America National Community Advisory Committee; Morgan Stanley Community Development Advisory Committee; Capital One Community Advisory Council; and Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women Advisory Council. She also sits on the boards of Fidelity Bank of Ghana and Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa-USA and the Gaia Impact Fund Advisory Council.

 

Ms. Mensah has previously served as USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development during the Obama Administration; founded the Initiative on Financial Security at The Aspen Institute; and held leadership positions at the Ford Foundation. She began her career in commercial banking.

 

To learn more, please visit: https://oregoncf.org/mensah/

 

OCF Board Applauds Williams’ Decade of Service and Legacy of Impact

Oregon Community Foundations outgoing leader, Max Williams was at the helm of OCF for one of the most interesting periods of growth, complexity, and impact for the foundation. In response to cascading crises of the past two years Williams oversaw the deployment of resources at an unprecedented rate, granting $560 million to benefit every community in Oregon.

 

Williams leaves a legacy of impact that includes growing OCFs endowment to $3.7 billion, creating a $30 million Oregon Impact Fund, and stewarding some of the largest charitable gifts in Oregons history.

 

The mark of a good leader is to leave a place better than when you found it. The mark of a great leader is to ensure that the place continues its path to betterment even after youre gone,” said OCF Board Chair Kimberly Cooper. “As his predecessor did for him, Max Williams is opening the door to a new voice and experienced leader who will amplify and accelerate a trajectory of impact for decades to come,” she added.

 

“OCF is an amazing network of generous donors, volunteers and community members working together to make Oregon a better place for everyone,” said Williams. “I am excited about Lisa’s experience, her background and her Oregon roots. I have confidence that Lisa will expand OCF’s impact as we enter the next 50 years of OCF’s service to community.”

 

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) works with donors and volunteers to award grants and scholarships to every county in Oregon. From 2020 to 2021, OCF distributed more than $560 million, supporting more than 4,000 nonprofits and 6,000 students. With OCF, individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create charitable funds that meet the needs of diverse communities statewide. Since its founding in 1973, OCF has distributed more than $2 billion toward advancing its mission to improve lives for all Oregonians. For more information, please visit: oregoncf.org.

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Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship_Vanessa Lopez_Courtesy of Oregon Community Foundation
Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship_Vanessa Lopez_Courtesy of Oregon Community Foundation
Eight Klamath Students Awarded $8,000 in Scholarships by Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship Fund of Oregon Community Foundation (Photo) - 06/15/22

Media Contacts:  
Maureen Kenney, Public Relations Manager, Oregon Community Foundation mkenney@oregoncf.org 
Elana Grabel, Communications Assistant, Oregon Community Foundation egrabel@oregoncf.org  
 

Eight Klamath Students Awarded $8,000 in Scholarships by Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship Fund of Oregon Community Foundation
 

Medford, Ore. — June 15, 2021 — The Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship Fund of Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced that it has awarded $8,000 in scholarships to eight Klamath students to support their academic and career goals.  

“Students will work for their education if given the opportunity,” said donor Jane Ferguson. Earl Ferguson, donor and former school district superintendent added, “My family had needs when I was growing up, and the community helped us. Jane and I felt that if we were ever in a position to pay the community back, helping those less fortunate, we would.” 

The 2022 Ferguson scholarship recipients are: 

Hector Briseno Pena, Malin, Oregon, graduating from Lost River Jr./Sr. High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend Oregon State University, majoring and pursuing a career in civil engineering. Hector participated in student government, Future Farmers of America, and Future Business Leaders of America. Hector was active in track, where he earned state champion in the 4x400 meter relay race. He also played JV basketball and volunteered for the Merrill Malin Beef club, Klamath Country Fair, and ASPIRE.  

Cassidy Mahan, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Klamath Union High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend Oregon State University, with plans to major in environmental science and pursue a career as an environmental engineer. Cassidy was a participant in the National Honor Society and was a varsity athlete on the basketball and soccer teams. Cassidy also volunteered with SMART Reading where she spent time with students at Joseph Conger Elementary School.  

Melody Martino, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Henley High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, with plans to major in nursing and pursue a career as a traveling critical care nurse. Melody was a part of her school yearbook and served as the editor in 2021. She also participated in multiple varsity sports, the student council, and the National Honor Society. Additionally, Melody volunteered with SMART Reading and Camp Invention.  

Madeline Lowry, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Henley High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls with plans to study agricultural business and pursue a career in agricultural appraising. Madeline was a member of the wind ensemble, the varsity soccer team, and the 4-H club, where she served as vice president from 2020-2021. Madeline also spent time helping senior citizens in her community and volunteering with St. Pius X Catholic Church. In 2022 she was awarded Henley High School Valedictorian. 

Mikell Lowry, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Henley High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls with plans to pursue a career in rangeland management and ecology. Mikell was a member of the wind ensemble, the varsity soccer team, and the 4-H club, where she served as president from 2020-2021. Mikell also spent time helping senior citizens in her community and volunteering with St. Pius X Catholic Church. In 2022 she was awarded Henley High School Valedictorian.  

Kinsey Hullman, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Henley High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend Boise State University, majoring in kinesiology with plans to pursue a career as a physical therapist. Kinsey was a scholar athlete and played on a variety of varsity sports teams. She was a member of the Key Club and served in the student government as class treasurer for all four years of high school. Additionally, she volunteered with many organizations including the National Honor Society and Hunger: Not Impossible.  

TayLee Young, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Lost River Jr./Sr. High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the DigiPen Institute of Technology, with plans to major in computer science and game design with the goal to pursue a career as a programmer. Kaylee was an athlete on the track and wrestling teams. She also participated in ASPIRE and the robotics team, where she received the Robotics Excellence Award in 2022.  

Vanessa Lopez, Klamath Falls, Oregon, graduating from Klamath Union High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, with plans to major in biology and pursue a career as an OB/GYN physician’s assistant. She was a member of DECA, the Liberal Arts Academy, and student government where she served as sophomore class president in 2020. Additionally, Vanessa played volleyball and was active in the Latino club.  

Since the Earl and Jane Ferguson Scholarship Fund awarded its first scholarships in 1999, the fund has awarded more than $90,000 to Klamath County students. “We are tremendously grateful for the Fergusons’ generosity and the volunteer committee in Klamath that selects scholarship recipients each year,” said Heidi Binder, a donor relations officer for the Southern Oregon region at OCF.  

OCF awards approximately 50 scholarships each year to Klamath County students, for a total of more than $750,000 in awards during the past five years. Since 2008, OCF has awarded over 4,500 scholarships in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake Counties for a total of over $13 million to students pursuing higher education. 

About Oregon Community Foundation 
Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) works with donors and volunteers to award grants and scholarships to every county in Oregon. From 2020 to 2021, OCF distributed more than $549 million, supporting more than 4,000 nonprofits and 6,000 students. With OCF, individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create charitable funds that meet the needs of diverse communities statewide. Since its founding in 1973, OCF has distributed more than $2 billion toward advancing its mission to improve lives for all Oregonians. For more information, please visit: oregoncf.org. 

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Courtesy of Shaun Keylock Company via Oregon Community Foundation
Courtesy of Shaun Keylock Company via Oregon Community Foundation
Oregonians Invest in LGBTQ+ Serving Organizations Around State Through Oregon Community Foundation; More than a dozen organizations receive 2022 funding to support LQBTQ+ Oregonians (Photo) - 06/07/22

Oregonians Invest in LGBTQ+ Serving Organizations Around State Through Oregon Community Foundation

More than a dozen organizations receive 2022 funding to support LQBTQ+ Oregonians

 

Portland, OR – June 7, 2022 – Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced today that more than 50 LGBTQ+ serving organizations have received donor-funded grants totaling $700K over the last year, from 2021 to June 2022, to further work in support of LGBTQ+ Oregonians and to advance equity across the state. So far in 2022, OCF has administered donor-funded grants to more than a dozen LGBTQ+ serving organizations. 

 

The latest round of grant funding for June, 2022, provides grants for PFLAG Newberg and Table 14, both based in Newberg.

 

Work to help under-served, oppressed populations is always challenging, and funding can be difficult,” said Steve Sherwood, Table 14 Director. The profound generosity of OCF donors has helped us serve LGBTQ+ youth in our community in ways that would be impossible otherwise.”

 

As a completely new theatre company putting on our first production, the OCF donor-funded grant via PFLAG Newberg will help us pay actors, designers and production staff,” said JeanneAnn Comiskey, Producer and Director, Newberg Our Town 2022, Gather Repertory. This would not be possible without the support of OCF donors helping us to create work that is high quality and of distinct purpose for our community.”

Both Newberg-based organizations are new community partners for OCF.

 

“We’re seeing more and more Oregonians recognize the challenges for LGBTQ+ communities ¾ from discrimination in schools to youth experiencing homelessness after coming out and more” said Kristina Kindel, Grants Management Associate, Oregon Community Foundation. “The compassion and solidarity of people standing together to amplify LGBTQ+ voices is heartening. These grants highlight diverse needs for support within LGBTQ+ communities in Oregon.”

 

Following is a small snapshot of just a few of the LGBTQ+ serving organizations supported by donors giving through Oregon Community Foundation: 

 

Basic Rights Oregon (statewide) $7,000 grant via Oregon Community Foundation

For support of the Education Fund to ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Oregonians truly experience equality.

 

“Basic Rights Oregon is fighting for all LGBTQ+ Oregonians — whether that’s advocating for inclusion, celebrating Pride or working for equality,” said Nancy Haque, Basic Rights Oregon’s executive director. “Funding through OCF donors helps us ensure we’re able to do this work and make an impact.”

 

PFLAG Roseburg $7,500 grant via Oregon Community Foundation 

For LGBTQ+ support, community education, and advocacy to provide the security and resources needed to help Douglas County communities thrive.

 

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Shaun Keylock Company) $22,500 grant via Oregon Community Foundation

For the Queer Archive Project by the Shaun Keylock Company, to archive and present rare video presentations, live performances, workshops, film screenings and lectures that reveal the significant impact queer elder artists have had on the dance history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

 

Oregon Community Foundation donors have provided significant support for our Dance Heritage Project, which provides legacy management and archive services for LGBTQ+ and other dance elders in our community,” said Shaun Keylock, Founder and Artistic Director, Shaun Keylock Company. We are grateful to donors and OCF for recognizing the importance of preserving cultural heritage and for providing this much needed service to our community.”

 

OCFs Community Grants Program

OCF’s 2022 Community Grants program prioritizes communities in Oregon most impacted by social, economic and racial injustices and inequities. For more information about any upcoming Community Grants opportunities, please visit: https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/community-grant-program/.

 

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) works with donors and volunteers to award grants and scholarships to every county in Oregon. From 2020 to 2021, OCF distributed more than $560 million, supporting more than 4,000 nonprofits and 6,000 students. With OCF, individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create charitable funds that meet the needs of diverse communities statewide. Since its founding in 1973, OCF has distributed more than $2 billion toward advancing its mission to improve lives for all Oregonians. For more information, please visit: oregoncf.org.

 

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