Emergency Ordinance

*Approve small grants renewal funding recommendations made by Portland Children's Levy Allocation Committee for January 1, 2024 - June 30, 2026


The City of Portland ordains:

Section 1.  The Council finds:

  1. The City proposed and voters approved a local option property tax levy at the November 5, 2002, general election to fund programs to help children in Portland. The levy created the Portland Children’s Levy to make targeted investments in proven programs. A five-person citizen Allocation Committee was created to make recommendations regarding the expenditure of levy funds.
  2. In May 2018, voters approved a third renewal of the local property tax levy to continue supporting the Portland Children’s Levy to invest in proven programs in the areas of early childhood, child abuse prevention and intervention, foster care, after-school, mentoring and hunger relief from July 2019 through June 2024.
  3. On May 16, 2023, voters approved a fourth renewal from July 2024 through June 2029.
  4. On October 17, 2023, the Allocation Committee voted to renew the small grants set forth in Portland Children’s Levy Small Grants Renewal Recommendations January 1, 2024 – June 30, 2026 (Exhibit A) and the supporting memorandum (Exhibit B). 

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

  1. The funding recommendations made by the Children’s Levy Allocation Committee described in Exhibit A and Exhibit B are approved. The Director is authorized to enter into agreements awarding grants substantially similar to those contemplated in the Allocation Committee funding recommendations to the organizations identified in the funding recommendations listed in Exhibit A.  
  2. In the event that any grantee becomes unwilling or unable to use City grant funds in a manner consistent with a grant agreement that is authorized by this ordinance, the Director is hereby authorized to terminate the grant agreement in accordance with its terms, and execute a new grant agreement with a different grantee provided that (1) the funding allocated for the new grant agreement is equal to the amount of unspent funds allocated by this ordinance for the terminated agreement, and (2) the scope of work stated in the new agreement is substantially the same as the scope of work in the terminated agreement.
  3. The Mayor and City Auditor are hereby authorized to pay for the grant awards from the Portland Children’s Levy.

Section 2.  The Council declares that an emergency exists because a delay in approving the attached agreement would jeopardize the City's ability to fund these vital programs in a timely manner; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.

An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)

Passed by Council

Auditor of the City of Portland
Simone Rede

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

In November 2002, Portland voters approved the Portland Children’s Levy (PCL).  The Levy was recently renewed by voters in May 2023 to run from July 2024 through June 2029.  The Levy generates $20-23 million annually for programs benefitting Portland children in early childhood, after-school, mentoring, child abuse prevention and intervention, foster care, and hunger relief.

An Allocation Committee governs PCL and grants funds to programs serving children and families residing in the City of Portland.  The Allocation Committee is comprised of a member of City Council (Commissioner Dan Ryan), a County Commissioner (Commissioner Julia Brim-Edwards), a representative of the business community appointed by the mayor (currently vacant; new appointment is in process), a citizen member appointed by the County Board (Felicia Tripp Folsom), and a citizen member appointed by the mayor (Traci Rossi). 

The Allocation Committee created the Small Grants Fund in 2019 in response to recommendations emerging from 2018 community engagement and grantmaking improvement processes. The purpose of the Small Grants Fund is to increase equity of access to PCL funds by investing in programs of small organizations that have not had access to PCL funds before, and that arise from marginalized communities including people who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ2SIA+, and people with disabilities. The first portfolio of Small Grants Fund was awarded in November 2020 by the Allocation Committee and approved by City Council in December 2020. The 7 grants totaled $1 million over 3 years and end on December 31, 2023.  

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

The source of funding for these small grant renewals are from the Children's Investment Fund, with revenue generated by the Portland Children's Levy, a special property tax levy.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

Community impacts

Children and families disproportionately impacted by historical inequities gain access to culturally specific and responsive program services funded by the Portland Children’s Levy (PCL).  PCL’s new Small Grants Fund, created in 2019 in response to community input, has the following purpose: To increase equity of access to PCL funds by investing in programs of small organizations (annual revenue of $1 million  or less) that were not  funded by PCL in the past,  and arise from marginalized communities including people who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ2SIA+, and people with disabilities.  Funding these small organizations will increase their capacity to reach children unserved or underserved in the past or improve the quality of services currently offered, particularly for children with disabilities.

All services contribute to achieving Children’s Levy goals listed below and support children, youth and parents to achieve positive outcomes.

  • Prepare children for school.
  • Support children’s success inside and outside of school.
  • Eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in children’s well-being and school success.

Community involvement

PCL’s Allocation Committee created the Small Grants Fund in 2019 in response to recommendations that emerged from an extensive community engagement process conducted by Empress Rules Equity Consulting, and an evaluation of PCL’s grantmaking process conducted by Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services.   Please see the memorandum attached as Exhibit B to the Ordinance for details on the 2019 community engagement process.

Based on these recommendations, staff conducted a participatory 2-step grantmaking process. PCL staff held 8 community conversations in 2020 (1 in-person, 7 virtual), and 31 small organizations provided information how to shape an equity and strengths-based grantmaking process. PCL staff convened an ad-hoc Design Team to shape the funding process based on this input.  The process design was reviewed and approved by the PCL Allocation Committee. Applicants submitted short written applications in Step 1 and longer written applications in Step 2 which included budget materials and an interview. The ad-hoc Design Team members and six other community volunteers reviewed and scored applications and assisted in making funding recommendations to the Allocation Committee.

The Levy provides 3-year initial grants in a competitive process, with the possibility of a 2-year renewal depending on program performance.  We have planned a 2.5-year renewal for the small grants portfolio for several reasons. Due to the start-up time creating and running the first small grants funding process, these grants did not start at the beginning of a fiscal year.  Administratively, it’s preferable to keep all grants on the same fiscal year so that data is reported for the same annual periods and can be aggregated across all PCL grants.  Additional time will be helpful because PCL’s new Community Council (an advisory body of 13 community volunteers) and its Allocation Committee (governing body required with Levy authorization) will also develop and implement its next large grants competitive process during 2024-2025 and will plan and implement the small grants process in 2025-2026. 

The Children’s Levy is not aware of specific groups or individuals who plan to testify before City Council regarding this item.

100% Renewable Goal

This action does not contribute to the City's goal of meeting 100 percent of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2050.

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

This ordinance approves the funding recommendations made by the Children’s Levy Allocation Committee to renew seven small grants, totaling approximately $1.1 million from the Children’s Investment Fund with revenue generated by the Portland Children’s Levy. 

Document History

Item 939 Consent Agenda in November 8, 2023 Council Agenda

City Council


  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Absent
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea

Requested Agenda Type


Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date