County distributes $5 million in grants to community-based organizations through Community Capital Fund

March 28, 2023

Multnomah County has awarded $5 million in grants to 13 community-based organizations to help fund capital improvements to better serve historically marginalized communities — thanks to a new fund meant to answer surging demands for support services during the COVID-19 pandemic . The project, known as the Community Capital Fund, is in its second year. The County is granting lump-sum awards to 13 community-based organizations, from $5,000 to $500,000. The Department of County Human Services is distributing the awards. 

All told, the awards will help the organizations provide housing for dozens more people a year and provide wraparound services, including food and nutrition, childcare, workforce training and business development opportunities, for thousands more. 

Many of the awardees are longtime community groups that have struggled since the COVID-19 pandemic began to meet demand within their existing spaces. But expanding their physical footprint, or reconfiguring existing space to meet that demand, has proven difficult. Rising costs in the Portland metro area priced renovations — much less buying property or building new — out of reach.

“These awards help our partners undertake and expand the critical work they do to serve our communities,” said Chair Vega Pederson. “From the construction of affordable housing to the creation of community space, from preschool classrooms to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, these grants make a meaningful difference throughout our county.” 

The awards are offering additional support to organizations the County already contracts with, serving populations that have faced historic and persistent barriers in accessing services. The County is distributing awards to the following community-based organizations:

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Renovations and upgrades to a new Workforce Hub property to maintain and expand services. Also includes adding a kitchen and up to three RV hookups for safe camping. Cultivate expects to serve 5,715 neighbors annually. 

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Support purchasing a property in Southeast Portland that will include a preschool, commercial kitchen, gym, coffee shop, and community space, as well as additional office space for staff. The new building will allow the African Youth and Community Organization to serve more refugees and immigrants and offer 12 additional programs on top of the 17 already offered. 

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Support transforming its current 2,200-square-foot building and 8,000-square-foot parking lot into an indoor and outdoor climate resilient space, as well as a wraparound service hub for immigrants, refugees, and BIPOC community members in Multnomah County. The hub is expected to support up to 48 small businesses with technical assistance and job training, while also creating a childcare center to support working families.

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Purchasing and developing a restaurant space in the Jade District for community use and developing a public plaza and affordable housing. The Jade District includes about 14,000 residents and 200 businesses. When complete, this project will house 60 to 100 families and expand services to this community.

Award amount: $430,000
Description: Buying a building and lot currently used to operate Community of Hope, a transitional housing project serving single-parent families experiencing homelessness. AllOne’s lease ends Dec. 31, 2024, and the nonprofit plans to buy its building to ensure the long term sustainability of its program.

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Partial funding for a state-of-the-art Multicultural Preschool Building with two therapeutic classrooms, bathrooms, two inclusive/age/size-appropriate Tot Lots, a kitchen, office space for preschool staff, and storage. IRCO helped 26 children apply for Preschool for All’s pilot year in Fiscal Year 2022-23 and helped 65 families complete enrollment.

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Support purchasing a building for $1.5 million, with $500,000 in property improvements. Once the building project is complete, the organization will be able to serve up to 800 households a week in their home delivery program and 300 to 500 households a week in their pantry/freestore.

Award amount: $440,000
Description: Mortgage reduction for a recently-acquired property, plus property improvements including parking lot development, Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, site lighting, HVAC, roof replacement, paint— and the purchase of a food cart to provide training for entrepreneurs. The upgrades will help the nonprofit provide wraparound services, community education/engagement, and business development for about 4,000 BIPOC community members annually.

Award amount: $31,800
Description: Covers the costs of moving into a third location and will help outfit an empty warehouse with storage solutions and tools. With a third location, Community Warehouse will be able to serve an average of 83 households per week. Overall, 67% of clients served are people of color.
Award amount: $500,000
Description: Support purchasing and redeveloping two homes adjacent to their current family shelter site to provide transitional housing, and improvements to the acre of land containing the shelter. The project will include a playground, basketball court, trauma-informed gardens, and parking. Path Home aims to help an additional 75 families per year, as well as provide 12 units of additional transitional housing, and an additional 30 units of affordable housing to the community.

Award amount: $143,200
Description: Upgrade security concerns at the NARA Wellness Center by adding lighting, video surveillance and secured keyless entry. Funding also covers the purchase of a new location to house additional clinical/office space. NARA served more than 11,000 participants in 2022. 

Award amount: $500,000
Description: Support for the nonprofit’s Building United Futures Complex, a 35,000-square-foot, four-story project on the site of its existing headquarters. The project is expected to double the organization’s overall capacity, allowing it to serve 4,000 individuals. 

Award amount: $5,000
Description: Supporting relocation costs and the purchase of  equipment for an African kitchen to train immigrant and refugee women on healthy cooking. De Rose expects to be able to reach 9,000 to 10,000 people annually.

The County will measure the recipients’ progress on the project milestones outlined in their award contracts. Recipients are also expected to maintain and keep all records pertaining to their award accessible for at least six years after their projects are completed.

“Many of our partners, and the communities they serve, are continuing to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mohammad Bader, the director of the Department of County Human Services. “These awards are expected to go a long way in serving our most vulnerable community members.”