How Can Social Changemakers Make the Most of 2017?

The arrival of every new year brings reflection about goals and opportunities for the months ahead.

Here at Prichard, social change is always at the top of our minds because we are committed to using our communications superpowers for good.

We asked ourselves and local leaders who are alumni of The Portland Ten three questions on how social changemakers across Portland can make the most of 2017.

Check out our top local social change opportunities, inspiration and tools for the year ahead.

Jenna Cerruti, account director at Prichard

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

The time is ripe for our local leaders to organize, share knowledge, swap resources and work together to advance social change in Portland. We see this happen firsthand during our our quarterly Portland Ten dinners; ideas swarm when we bring together the top social change leaders in Portland and Oregon from across sectors—affordable housing champions, environmentalists, civil rights leaders and more. We often say that Portland is such a small world. Now is the time to find where our work overlaps with others, align on key issues and work together to move them forward.

What or who are you inspired by for social change?

The Solutions Journalism Network is a handy resource to get inspired by organizations and people that are driving effective solutions to today’s most pressing issues. Led in part by New York Times’ Fixes writers David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg, it strengthens and promotes news stories that focus on how people are responding to problems. Though it covers solutions stories nationally, it’s a great tool to learn how effective solutions can be applied locally. Check out the best Solutions Journalism stories of 2016.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

I look for tools that bring social change leaders together and generate new ideas. Impact Entrepreneurs’ Elevating Impact Summit is one event that does this well. It’s a full day summit with speakers, performers, and interactive experiences to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation for positive social, environmental, and economic impact. The next one is coming up on February 13, 2017. Register for a ticket here.

Diego Hernandez, State Representative for Oregon’s House Direct 47 and co-executive director of Momentum Alliance

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

The top opportunity to advance social change in Portland is to heavily invest more resources and align priorities with making sure Portlanders are housed and low-income and communities of color are not displaced from their neighborhoods.

What or who are you inspired by for social change?

In a moment in our history where we have so much to be ashamed about, what inspires me most are those social movements that never lose hope and continue to organize for change—movements like Black Lives Matter, #nodapl, and many other grassroots movements.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

My favorite tool for social change in Portland is all the social justice organizations that are in Portland. Organizations like: Momentum Alliance, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Sankofa Collective Northwest, and many others.

Mac Prichard, president of Prichard

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

The arrival of new leaders at City Hall and Multnomah County offers an opportunity to try different ideas and approaches. In the business world, our city’s B Corp community continues to grow and events like the Elevating Impact 2017 at Portland State University help social entrepreneurs connect and thrive in ways that don’t happen in other cities.

What or who are you inspired by for social change?

I’m a huge fan of the Oregon Bus Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit that gets young people involved in electoral politics. The Bus Project helped conceive and enact Oregon’s automatic voter registration law, now recognized as a national model. And the Center for Women’s Leadership has done terrific work helping a new generation of women leaders get the skills needed to win and succeed in public office.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

Portland, like every place, is a small town. Relationships matter here, especially when you want to create social change. How you build those ties may vary, but it always begins with a personal connection. This might happen with a cup of coffee, by sharing advice, volunteering at a conference, or simply helping others when asked. But nothing beats relationships if you want to make change social change happen.

Ben Sand, chief executive officer of The Portland Leadership Foundation

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

City leaders in all sectors, perhaps for the first time, are singing the same tune about the importance of prioritizing the diversification of leadership in our city. Now is Portland’s time to commit to invest and build toward a preferred future—where our institutional leadership reflects the changing demographics of our region.

What or who are you inspired by for social change?

Nothing inspires me more than the story of an underdog. I had to grow up quick in a poor, blue collar, single-parent home in Spokane, Washington. My best friend’s cousin was the Head Coach of the Gonzaga basketball team. As I was pushing past the adversity in my life, the team was rising as well. So when I need a dose of inspiration, I watch a YouTube clip of the moment that pushed them into the Elite Eight in 1999 called, The Runner.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

Portland Leadership Foundation has 13 different initiatives. One of our fastest-growing efforts is a partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services to mobilize the community to care for foster kids called, Embrace Oregon. We are very active on social media, and our Facebook page has been incredibly effective to mobilize nearly 8,000 people—mostly women—to share the story of the challenge and hope of our foster care system.

Addie Shrodes, account manager at Prichard

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

Youth make up 30 percent of the population now, and they will be the region’s leaders and stewards in the future. Dozens of organizations across Portland create opportunities for diverse young people in every community to fulfill their potential and shape the future. From APANO’s Organizing Fellowship launching in February to Momentum Alliance’s ongoing youth-led work to empower future social justice leaders, Portland is chock full of programs that build young leaders. The year ahead presents the opportunity to invest in these programs and leverage their momentum in order to mobilize, engage, and support young people in shaping the future we all want.

What are who are you inspired by for social change?

I’m inspired by organizations that ceaselessly build coalitions and fight for social change. I’m also inspired by how communities have come together to support these organizations in the aftermath of the election. National organizations like The Trevor Project, The Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are crucial to advance change—and are seeing a surge in donations. There are also plenty of organizations fighting the good fight right here in Portland. I’m inspired by Basic Rights Oregon, The Q Center, and United for Kids, to name just a few.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for social change, and that’s certainly true in tech-friendly Portland. These digital platforms enable users to reach and engage people in their community and across the world to build momentum for change. Facebook Groups is one tool that I have seen convene grassroots changemakers locally. Twitter, then, presents the opportunity to engage local leaders and participate in national conversations to advance key issues. Many of the #PDXTen social changemakers are on Twitter, and I regularly check Prichard’s The Portland Ten Twitter list to stay on top of their important efforts.

Anneka Winters, finance manager at Prichard

What is the top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in 2017?

The top opportunity to advance social change in Portland in the next year is for the city to create more affordable housing. I returned to the Pacific Northwest after living in Santa Monica five years ago. Since then, my rent has increased more than 10 percent per year, much higher than any local cost of living or inflation increase.

What are who are you inspired by for social change?

I’m a member of JustServe, and this organization inspires me for social change. JustServe has a local chapter where organizations can post a project that needs volunteers to serve and benefit others in the community. The site then links volunteers of many different capacities with those in need. JustServe strives to enhance the quality of life for the Portland community.

What is your favorite tool for social change in Portland?

My favorite tool for social change in Portland is being a part of the B Corporation community in Portland. I have guided Prichard Communications through the process to become a certified B Corp, and I am thrilled to connect with other organizations that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance and aspire to use the power of business for good. The local B Corp community meets about four times a year, and we work together to serve the community and solve problems.

How would you answer these questions? Let us know and share your best social change tips in the comment section below.

Mac Prichard

Mac started Prichard Communications in 2007 to serve nonprofits, foundations and public agencies after a long career working in the public and nonprofit sectors and with elected officials. Mac lives in Portland’s Ladd’s Addition where he is often spotted taking Instagram photos while walking his dog Kai, a Weimaraner.

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