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What We Do

 
 
 
 
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Q

What does Business For A Better Portland do?

 

 

A

Our members issue Monthly Calls-to-Action to provide business leaders with efficient ways to engage in Portland's most pressing issues, like affordable housing, workforce inclusion, and safe transportation. With the city's most innovative change-makers, we also host an Event Series to help our members learn more about key policy issues, and how they can make the most impact.

Our model aims to be cooperative, efficient, and grassroots. We forge collaborative relationships with the business community, non-profit organizations, and government to advocate for a Portland that is equitable and prosperous for all.

 

 

Q

What is your founding story?

 

A

Launched in 2016, Business for a Better Portland is a new kind of business organization whose members believe that the health and prosperity of businesses depends on the heath and prosperity of its citizens.

In late 2015 we organized to help preserve the stories of the Vanport flood. It was an opportunity to involve the local business community and raise awareness, yet we needed an efficient method to communicate and rally around the issue. This call-to-action contributed in part to helping Vanport Mosaic raise over $8,000. It sparked a promising formula for success and engagement: businesses collaborating with community leaders and organizers to leverage technology and support the vision of Portland's future we all wish to see. We announced a volunteer-led organization and a monthly call-to-action model, which helped us raise money and mobilize support for a number of causes and projects. In 2017, our next iteration, Business for a Better Portland, was born.


 

Q

What’s this new membership program you started?

A

When we founded our organization in early 2016 as the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce, we were an all-volunteer effort. Interest in our organization was overwhelming. Business and community leaders told us that they wanted to see our organization formalized to ensure our impact and longevity. Companies also said they wanted us to organize events for business leaders to gather and learn about our policy priorities and how to constructively engage. All of that means bringing on professional staff and consultants to augment our volunteer efforts. Collecting membership dues enables us to get great people to do great work on behalf of Portland.


 

Q

Why a new business organization? Doesn’t Portland already have them? 

A

We see ourselves not as a trade association but as a community-building organization. We are built on the premise that a thriving city supports thriving businesses. Our members want to do their part towards solving community-wide problems like housing affordability and workforce diversity. Working alongside government and nonprofits, we’ve seen real results. That’s a fundamentally different way of operating when compared to traditional chambers of commerce. 

When we formed, we wanted to do a couple things: harness the power of technology to quickly make an impact on community problems and to represent businesses who wanted to weigh into helping with big issues like homelessness, but couldn’t do so on their own. We support other groups who are trying to make business’ voices heard, and we’re open to collaboration. We’re not proprietary about the work we do.


 

Q

How is your organization different from other business organizations?

A

  1. We attract a new generation of entrepreneurs who understand the power of leveraging grassroots organizing and technology to efficiently meet our shared goals and advance the pace of change.
     
  2. Our members are building values-based businesses. They know that their profits are inseparable from the prosperity of Portland.
     
  3. Finally, many of our allies are in newer sectors like technology, design, architecture, and next generation manufacturing. They’re trying something new, and so are we. It’s a good fit.

 

Q

Who's on your leadership team?

A

Board: William Henderson (Co-Founder & CEO, Ride Report), Anna Hutson (CEO, Avenue Agency), Mara Zepeda (Co-founder & CEO, Switchboard) Strategic Consultants: Ashley Henry (Policy Advocacy, Partnership Development & Member Engagement) Advisors: Kimberly Pray (Catalyst Law), Kristen Gallagher (Edify), Stephen Gomez (Project ^)Stephen Green, April Severson (April Severson Events), Rick Turoczy (Co-founder, Portland Incubator Experiment, Oregon Story Board, Built Oregon, Silicon Florist), Christina Williams (TerraMai PDX).

BBPDX is committed to growing and diversifying its board. In collaboration with our members Kristen Gallagher (Edify) and Anna Hutson (Avenue Agency), we developed a plan for an Associate Board and announced a Call for Applications in late October. Read Anna's post here to learn more about the Associate Board's role and how to apply.  


 

Q

I heard you only represent tech companies and startups, is that true?

A

We started as an all-volunteer board, and our original board members mostly came from the technology community. We’ve broadened our outreach to companies from many other sectors including food & beverage, smart urban development, and design. It was never our goal to start a tech-centric organization, so we’re happy to be welcoming members from a multitude of industries.


 

Q

How are you going to make a difference? 

A

In a nutshell: through collaboration, not conflict. We’ve seen that the best way to make a difference is to connect businesses with policy and community leaders and get them working together on shared initiatives.

 
 

We forge collaborative relationships between the business community, non-profit organizations, and government to advocate for a Portland that is equitable and prosperous for all.

 

Contact

For additional inquiries or comments, please contact us through this form.

 
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