Photo / Bruce Ely

Trail Blazers Foundation Announces Live, Learn and Play Grants Nonprofit Organizations Benefitting Youth

More Than $300,000 Donated to 46 Organizations from 38 Cities in Oregon, SW Washington

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 10, 2017) – In the largest single distribution of grant dollars since its conception, the Trail Blazers Foundationhas awarded more than $300,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations supporting underserved youth in Oregon and Southwest Washington. A total of 46 groups from 38 cities are beneficiaries of funds sourced through a variety of contribution channels to the foundation during the Trail Blazers 2016-17 NBA season. Trail Blazers President and Trail Blazers Foundation Board Member Chris McGowan announced the grant totals and recipients today.

“For the Trail Blazers Foundation, this is a successful conclusion to a competitive grant application and selection process that attracted proposals from across our region,” McGowan said. “The hardest part for our review committees is the task of determining which nonprofits to fund from a collection of impressive organizations that are all doing impactful work. We are thrilled to provide financial assistance to these 46 diverse organizations representing communities large and small in the Pacific Northwest.”

“Since formally establishing the Trail Blazers Foundation in 2011, the Trail Blazers have donated over $2 million in cash to schools and organizations in our region” said Christa Stout, Trail Blazers Vice President of Social Responsibility and Trail Blazers Foundation Executive Director. “Our goal is to support programs and nonprofits whose missions best reflect our own philanthropic priorities.”

Stout said that funds for the Live, Learn and Play Grants were supplemented for the first time by the surcharge assessed to each new Trail Blazers specialty license plate purchased for Oregon vehicles.  Other revenue sources included the Trail Blazers Annual Game On fundraiser event presented by Moda Health and Nike, multiple partnerships with additional corporate sponsors including Wells Fargo and CarMax,and the Rip City 5050 Raffle in partnership with the Safeway Foundation.  

The Live, Learn and Play Grants program matches the focus areas and mission of the Trail Blazers Foundation (, benefitting historically under-served youth:

  • LIVE Grants connect youth to environmental education and preservation.
  •  LEARN Grants support youth along their path to and through high school graduation.
  •  PLAY Grants presented by Nike promote access to sport and physical activity for youth.  

The open application period will run annually each year from February through April. This year, the following nonprofit organizations have been chosen as recipients of Trail Blazers Foundation grants:

LIVE Grants:  17 recipients from 15 cities

  • APANO Communities United Fund – Portland, OR:  Empowering Asian and Pacific Islander youth through new experiences and skills focusing on environmental stewardship
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation – Portland, OR:  Preparing the next generation through renewable energy and career-connected STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education
  • Camp ELSO, Inc. – Portland, OR:  Training and inspiring future science and environmental leaders of color through outdoor STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and career opportunities 
  • Dairy Creek Community Food Web – Forest Grove, OR:  Installing and enhancing school gardens to improve and encourage environmental stewardship, connection to place and support of local food security
  • Food Corps – Portland, OR:  Connecting vulnerable Oregon children in Lake, Deschutes, Curry, Benton, Tillamook, Marion, Union, Multnomah and Jackson counties to real food and the environment through experiential, garden-enhanced education
  • Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington – Portland, OR:  Increasing connection between underserved Latina girls and the outdoors through family day outdoor activities
  • Janus Youth Program, Inc. – Portland, OR:  Building community cohesion in North Portland affordable housing developments through the operation of a youth-run, certified organic, 2.5-acre farm business linking food security to land conservation
  • Lower Columbia Actuary Partnership – Portland, OR:  Providing underserved students with real-world science including a hands-on outdoor project that improves habitat, and increases personal connection to local natural resources
  • North Fork John Day Watershed Council – Long Creek, OR:  Providing teens and young adults of Grant County the opportunity to obtain job skills in the natural resources industry
  • Northwest Youth Corps – Eugene, OR:  Supporting academic programming and training for youth and young adults to learn how to protect, restore and enhance public lands while receiving academic credit
  • School Garden Project of Lane County – Eugene, OR:  Supporting the school-day Science in the Garden education program to improve knowledge of science and natural systems with elementary school students
  • The Blueprint Foundation – Portland, OR:  Facilitating a mentoring program that uses site-based learning and student-driven community education initiatives to diversify the green movement
  • Tualatin Riverkeepers – Tualatin, OR:  Enhancing environmental education to provide hands-on field trips for 600 students from Title 1 schools and culturally-specific organizations
  • Upper Deschutes Watershed Council – Bend, OR:  Engaging community members in stream restoration and stewardship activities while educating and engaging children in environmental education 
  • Verde – Portland, OR:  Funding the Living Cully Habitat program to educate youth and families, as well as improve water quality and habitat by designing and building new raingardens for low-income households
  • Vive Northwest – Portland, OR:  Facilitating educational curriculum for Hispanic youth to encourage students to pursue careers in the environmental industry while discovering the barriers that prevent the Latino community from accessing the outdoors and nature
  • World Salmon Council – Portland, OR:  Improving scientific and environmental literacy by providing hands-on outdoor learning experiences and stewardship projects 

LEARN Grants:  14 recipients from 13 cities

  • Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley – Ontario, OR:  Providing low-income Latino middle school youth at risk of dropping out or entering the juvenile justice system an intensive 24-week, mentorship-driven and cohort-based program in Be Great by 8th
  • Building Blocks to Success – Portland, OR:  Supporting after-school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum to get ethnically and gender diverse at-risk youth from North and Northeast Portland on track for high school and higher education
  • College Dreams – Grants Pass, OR:  Funding the “100 Dreamers Project” to help enroll 100 new low-income, minority and at-risk students in the College & Career Preparation Program to provide weekly services and mentoring in preparation for higher education  
  • College Possible – Portland, OR:  Utilizing a cohort model of supportive college-attending students as near-peer AmeriCorps mentors alongside intensive curriculum that guides students through every stage of the college process
  • Friends of the Children – Portland, OR:  Supporting youth with paid, professional, highly-trained mentors to partner with mentees from kindergarten through high school graduation
  • Heart of Oregon Corps. – Bend, OR:  Providing opportunities for unemployed, out-of-school youth to reclaim their education and earn a high school diploma or GED; gain the skills needed for employment; and become leaders in their communities
  • Jackson Street Youth Services – Corvallis, OR:  Providing homeless youth a safe place to stay while facilitating their ability to finish high school and generate plans for self-sufficiency
  • Kids Unlimited of Oregon – Medford, OR:  Helping close the achievement gap for children of poverty through seven-day a week, after-school academic and enrichment programming 
  • Maslow Project – Medford, OR:  Stabilizing homeless and at-risk youth with homes, meals and after-school support to allow them to focus their attention on staying in school and completing their education
  • New Avenues for Youth – Portland, OR:  Supporting the Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center to create safe, welcoming, supportive spaces for LGBTQ students at school so they can learn, thrive and graduate 
  • Open School – Portland, OR:  Supporting the Step Up Program to invest in youth who enter high school at high risk of dropping out by providing them with an advocate and mentoring services
  • Portland YouthBuilders – Portland, OR:  Providing curriculum to reinforce postsecondary education expectations; vocational training reflecting real workforce standards; and counseling and life skills training to strengthen professional habits and personal stability and growth 
  • Self-Enhancement, Inc. – Portland, OR:  Building relationships and a wrap-around system of support to prepare African American and other underserved students to complete high schools
  • The Black United Fund of Oregon, Inc. – Portland, OR:  Improving equitable educational opportunities for low-income and minority students through scholarship assistance, one-on-one mentoring, college visits, study materials, financial workshops and homework help

PLAY Grants presented by Nike:  16 recipients from 10 cities

  • Adelante Mujeres – Forest Grove, OR:  Supporting the Chicas Soccer Academy for more than 200 Latina girls
  • Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre – Talent, OR:  Providing dance and performance training to build self-worth, cultural values and confidence through dance
  • Bicycle Re-Source of Bend – Bend, OR:  Donating refurbished bicycles to underserved children for recreation, as well as providing important community services in the areas of bicycle maintenance, safety and education
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties – Salem, OR:  Supporting the Triple Play Program to increase low-income youth’s ability to be active and live a healthy lifestyle
  • Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County – Corvallis, OR:  Delivering programming in Mexican Folk Dance so Latino youth expand knowledge of their ethnic roots while acquiring folk dance skills to develop physical health; promote cultural pride; and reach a positive sense of belonging and enhanced self-esteem
  • Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, Inc. – La Grande, OR:  Supporting the activity hub for the rural Grande Ronde Valley that provides youth with year-round opportunities to engage in physical activity, play and sports
  • Elite Sports Academy – Portland, OR:  Supporting a 10-week summer program in North Portland to engage underserved athletes through more than four hours of daily sports-related activity to foster short and long-term physical and mental health
  • FACT Oregon (Family and Community Together) – Clackamas, OR:  Executing the first-ever All Ability Tri4Youth event where children of all abilities compete side-by-side in a triathlon
  • Grande Ronde Association for Youth – LaGrande, OR:  Facilitating the acquisition and improvement of sporting facilities to encourage youth in LaGrande to participate in sports and have a more active lifestyle
  • KIDS in the GAME – Bend, OR:  Covering fees for low-income families for registration and participation in after-school or school-based sports programs in Portland and Central Oregon
  • Kúkátónón Children's African Dance Troupe – Portland, OR:  Providing tuition-free, after-school programming in West African dance, drumming and ballet to primarily African and African-American girls from low-income households
  • Portland Tennis & Education – Portland, OR:  Providing year-round, tuition-free after-school programming that integrates academics and athletics by providing a space for athletes to engage in an hour of tennis instruction followed by academic tutoring
  • Redmond Parks Foundation – Redmond, OR:  Providing scholarships to low-income families for young athletes to participate in summer and after-school fitness programming
  • Rose City Rollers – Portland, OR:  Funding the Skate Truck program to bring roller skating and roller derby to low-income communities by providing a mobile skate unit, protective gear and skates necessary for a safe and fun experience in schools and community centers 
  • U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Foundation, Inc. / Portland Soo Bahk Do – Portland, OR:  Providing opportunities for underserved youth to train in traditional martial arts