In January 2016, our small volunteer board set out to see what was possible with the collaboration of countless advocate partners and many members of the Portland business community. With your help, we issued ten calls to action -- measurable, impactful goals achievable within a month’s time. We were immediately encouraged by a groundswell of participation. Here's what we achieved with our ten monthly calls-to-action in 2016:
Since the launch of BBPDX in early 2016, the organization has catalyzed over$50,000 in donations to local organizations. These include donations to support black-owned businesses, education around Portland’s history of gentrification and displacement, a bond measure for new affordable housing, and connecting homeless families with housing.
Collaboration with: Portland Development Commission, Sons of Haiti, Boise Neighborhood Association
What: Raise $6,095 to cover the cost of bringing the Sons of Haiti Food Cart Pod up to code
Met?: Yes. $10,275 raised.
What we learned: There is untapped potential for the existing business community to support the economic prosperity of all businesses by leveraging crowdfunding campaigns and easy ways to lend a hand.
Collaboration with: Welcome Home Coalition, Street Roots, JOIN, Panic
What: Bring together 50 attendees, many from the tech sector, to learn about Portland’s housing crisis
Met?: Yes. 55 attendees and $3,000 raised for Yes for Affordable Homes
What we learned: Employees in new sectors are eager for education around local policy issues. Hosting these events at industry locations sends a strong signal to employees that business leaders prioritize participation.
status: not achieved
Collaboration with: Hack Oregon
What: Include the open data amendment in the city’s comprehensive plan
Met?: No. We lost the inclusion of the amendment 2 -3.
What we learned: Advocates for Open Data need to focus on how access to data has real-world effects on equity.
Collaboration with: APANO
What: Include ethnic studies classes in the Portland Public School Curriculum
Met?: Yes. We collected signatures and support from 100+ PICOC supporters endorsing the initiative and the School Board passed the changes unanimously
What we learned: It is critical for the business community to understand the priorities of youth leaders, how they are already organizing, and what we can do to help them succeed.
status: NOT achieved
Collaboration with: Street Roots
What: An additional $3500 of in-kind donations for Street Roots’ annual fundraiser
What we learned: We underestimated the difficulty of organizing a fundraiser and keeping track of donations in a shared, anonymous Google Spreadsheet. In the future, we can present supporters with a more straightforward ask.
Collaboration with: Independent Publishing Resource Center
What: Raise $20,000 to cover the IPRC’s relocation after due to a 3x increase in rent
Met?: Yes. $21,822 raised.
What we learned: While our Call-to-Action raised awareness around the issue there is room for improvement when it comes to concretely measuring the financial impact of our supporters. Also, we have to work more closely with the arts and culture organizations and clearly articulate how this vital groups contribute to our businesses’ success, and how we can contribute to theirs.
Collaboration with: PitchBlack
What: Register 50 people for PitchBlack and raise funds to award to the winners
Met?: Yes. 50+ people registered, $7K (of total $12K) contributed from our supporters
What we learned: Creating easy ways for the business community to contribute in time, talent, and treasure to the next generation of Portland’s entrepreneurs builds lasting relationships.
Collaboration with: Oregon Walks
What: Pass Vision Zero to ensure safe, walkable, and bikable streets
Met?: Yes. Endorsement from 52 local businesses collected; PICOC testified before Council; Vision Zero approved by Council
What we learned: There are easy and efficient ways to collect signatures and endorsements from local businesses by leveraging social media.
Collaboration with: XOXO festival, JOIN
What: Raise $5K to help one homeless family off the streets
Met?: Yes. $50,722 raised from 436 XOXO festival attendees and supporters
What we learned: In March, we set an unstated fundraising goal to help one family off the street. While we didn’t meet our goal at that event, Ashley, Andy, and JOIN collaborated to meet the goal later in the year thanks to the help of XOXO festival attendees.
status: not achieved
Collaboration with: Welcome Home Coalition
What: Attract 15 volunteers to phone bank in support of the Yes for Affordable Homes bond measure
Met?: No. Around ~5 volunteers attended. However the bond measure passed successfully and some of our supporters were financial contributors to the campaign. We congratulate the Welcome Home team on a successful campaign.
What we learned: Much work remains around mobilizing our supporters to show up for traditional grassroots organizing events. We remain committed to exploring how to make this “old fashioned organizing” easy, appealing, and fun to younger, busy Portlanders.
What: Collect 50 signatures from business leaders to eliminate parking minimums
Met?: Yes. 52 signatures collected. PICOC submitted in-person and written testimony to Council. Measure passed 3 -2.
What we learned: Communicating that measures like this are important to the business community is critical. These conversations should take place even earlier, and our organization can help to facilitate these connections.
After formally launching as a membership organization in February with just 15 members, the organization has grown to nearly 150 members by early August.
In early June, the Portland Business Journal recognized BBPDX as one of the Top 25 Chambers of Commerce in the Metro area
We’ve seen over 350,000 impressions on social media, 16,000 views of our posts on Medium and over 1500 fans and followers.
Over 200 companies— many of which were previously unengaged civically— have signed letters supporting tenant protections, revenue reform, Vision Zero and parking policies which we have delivered to lawmakers in Portland and Salem.
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BBPDX members share a commitment to making our city more fair, just, and safe for every resident. Be a part of that mission.