Community Partnership Program

Three images: 1) kid running with a tennis racket, 2) group of teens piling on top of each other in grass, 3) teens smiling and wearing "I heart PDX Parks" shirts.
Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) Community Partnership Program expands PP&R’s capacity to reach underserved communities.
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Soccer Grants Overview

Soccer team celebration
2019 Portland World Soccer Tournament, photo by: Ken Rumbaugh

In May 2023, Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) Community Partnership Program awarded three soccer contracts for programming in partnership with PP&R’s Sports Program. The Community Partnership Program is made possible with the support of the Parks Local Option Levy.

Soccer Grants:

PP&R is using funding to support soccer camps, focused on underserved and underrepresented youth in Portland, at no cost to participants.

  • Bridge City Soccer Academy will provide free access to Community Impact 4-session clinics in August and December 2023, and April 2024 for underserved communities to learn soccer fundamentals and build technical skills while allowing participants to learn through the fun of soccer. 
  • North Portland Soccer Club will offer a soccer camp in July 2023. High school camp counselors and coaches, primarily from Roosevelt and Jefferson High Schools, will facilitate fun activities that develop basic soccer skills for youth aged 7-13 from local North Portland schools and the New Columbia Community. 
  • Portland Community Football Club will increase engagement with four schools in East Portland to offer high quality, affordable club soccer to underserved communities. In partnership with SUN schools, free summer clinics and school-year club play will be offered to communities of color and children living with low income. 

Space Use and Service Contract Partnerships

Organizations, individuals, groups and clubs were invited to submit a statement of interest for free or discounted space at indoor community and art centers, and outdoor parks.

The application window closed July 30, 2023, for space use between September 1, 2023 and June 15, 2024. 

This program is made possible through the Parks Local Option Levy

Space Grants at the Community Music Center

Individual musicians, groups, organizations and clubs were invited to apply for free or discounted use of Portland Parks & Recreation’s venerable Community Music Center for rehearsal, practice and/or performance.

The application window closed April 17, 2023, for space use between September 1, 2023 and June 15, 2024. 

This program is made possible through the Parks Local Option Levy

Awardees in the previous cycle include:

  • Pacific Northwest Rainbowbility Choir
  • Tara Hershberger, artist

Community Partnership Program and Teen Collaborative Initiative Grants Overview

Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) Community Partnership Program and Teen Collaborative Initiative (TCI) grants strive to expand PP&R’s capacity to reach underserved communities and center equity.

The shared goals of the Community Partnership Program and TCI grants are to:

  • Increase the capacity of youth/teen service organizations to engage and center underserved youth and teens in a broad range of recreational activities (arts & culture, sports, aquatics) and greening activities (tree planting, environmental education, natural areas stewardship, community gardens).
  • Increase the capacity of organizations that bring knowledge, expertise, resources, and a focused approach to serving culturally specific communities.
  • Expand PP&R’s capacity to reach underserved youth/teens and center equity, particularly working to better serve: Black People, Indigenous People, People of Color, Immigrants and Refugees, families earning low incomes, LGBTQIA+ people, and individuals living with disabilities.
  • Strengthen PP&R’s network of partnerships with youth/teen service organizations that bring knowledge, expertise, resources, and a focused approach to serving culturally specific communities. 
  • Build and strengthen partnerships with youth service organizations that can support the recruitment and sustainment of youth/teens for employment at Portland Park & Recreation. Types of employment available range from recreation services to park maintenance, tree care, and stewardship of natural areas.  Support is needed in:
    • Interviewing skills
    • Resume writing
    • Submitting NEOGov application for City of Portland employment
    • Connecting youth with valuable career-based resources and mentors
    • Promoting job readiness and career growth

Beginning in 2015, as part of an expansion and investment in teen services, PP&R began awarding two-year grants through the Teen Collaborative Initiative to organizations that provide programming and employment support to teens in safe and supportive environments. These organizations lead activities and programming during out of school time, with a focus on youth who are impacted by violence, represent underserved communities and communities of color. In past years, PP&R has provided grant support to seven community partners. 

In November 2020, Portland voters passed the Parks Local Option Levy with a priority of Community Partnerships. Parks Levy funds are making it possible to increase grant support to community partners, and to build from the successful Teen Collaborative Initiative with Community Partnership Program grants.

2022 - 2024 Grantees

On June 29, 2022, City Council authorized grant agreements with community organizations and employment support in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Teen Collaborative Initiative

  • Elevate Oregon will serve primarily students of color in grades 3-12 with culturally specific in-school and out-of-school programming, job skills training, college and career development, and employment support for City of Portland jobs. Programming includes advocating for students, school-based interventions, participation in Student Assistance Teams, and a character-building focus.
  • Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide culturally-specific and responsive recreation and enrichment group activities. Immigrant and refugee youth impacted by community violence and trauma will receive employment and life-skills, employment placement, mentorship, and skill building workshops. 
  • Latino Network will host Teen Nights, providing a variety of programming throughout the year to youth to provide constructive energy outlets and opportunities to develop a positive cultural identity. Teen Nights include activities such as sports, movie nights, dance, arts, outdoor activities, and will now also deliver stand-alone lesson plans from the Cultura Cura series.
  • Native American Youth and Family Center will continue to build and grow programming for Urban Native youth to access safe and culturally specific activities afterschool, on weekends, and on spring and summer break. Activities include sports, fitness Indigenous somatic practices, gardening, and Indigenous knowledge.
  • New Avenues for Youth will provide community education, facilitate access for LGBTQIA2S+ youth to safe spaces, create monthly activities for youth, and connect youth to PP&R opportunities. These culturally specific, inclusive programming opportunities aim to help LGBTQIA2S+ youth feel safe, supported, and affirmed.
  • Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. and Rosemary Anderson High School’s (POIC+RAHS) Afterschool Program will integrate elements of the school-day curriculum and POIC+RAHS’ employment and training services via workshops, clubs, and for-credit courses that are engaging and help broaden youths’ outlook on – and investment in – the community. Programming will also be available to youth receiving services through other POIC+RAHS programs, specifically those between the age of 14 and 20 enrolled in Work Opportunities Training programs and the Community Healing Initiative.  
  • Self Enhancement, Inc. will expand year-round programming for teens and youth, primarily serving underserved African American/black middle and high school students, youth from North and Northeast Portland schools, and youth in outer East Portland areas isolated from traditional cultural support systems and resources. Programming will provide youth with supportive mentors, safe spaces for exploring interests through fun and engaging enrichment and extended-learning activities, job skills training and employment support, and a wide range of opportunities to build meaningful relationships with peers and adults.
  • The Blueprint Foundation will expand on their workforce development program engaging Black youth in culturally specific experiences that introduce them to, and prepare them for, family sustaining careers in the green sector. Students will complete watershed enhancement projects, including environmental monitoring and restoration, stormwater mitigation, and home weatherization.

Community Partnership Program - Arts and Culture Focus

  • Friends of Noise, in partnership with Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington, will host their LiveSET (Live Sound Engineering for Teens) program to provide technical and artistic training in music engineering for underserved youth, including paid on-the-job training as sound engineers. LiveSET will provide 25 hours of hands-on classes taught by real-world professionals, where participants learn about the craft and science of mediating music.
  • Bollywood Dreams Entertainment will provide underserved, immigrant and BIPOC teenagers with the opportunity to explore the intersection of art and sciences by attending Dance Your Science, where teens will learn about the basic concepts of green chemistry and sustainable design and then express these concepts through a dance. This initiative will provide a platform for expressing and integrating science and culture through dance and show that science is fun.
  • BRAVO Youth Orchestras will launch three new introductory music pilot programs at three separate school hubs – Faubion School, Boise-Eliot Elementary School, and Woodlawn Elementary School – in partnership with SUN Community Schools. Classes will teach choir, percussion and drumline, and dance to explore different genres of music, goal-oriented team building, and community-building. 
  • Vanport Mosaic will collaborate with Master Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. to provide “memory activism” programming to underserved teens and youth adults, offering weekend workshops to meet with community elders, activists, artists, and historians. Youth will record memories and create multi-media interpretations and exhibits focused on histories of parks and places in North and Northeast Portland.

Community Partnership Program - Greening Focus

  • Friends of Gateway Green will work with Friends of Tree and Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. to involve youth of color in natural area enhancement cohorts at Gateway Green. Partnerships will provide environmental stewardship capacity, provide pathways to green career opportunities, showcase multi-organizational partnership, and improve the ecological health of Gateway Green.
  • Lents Springwater Habitat Restoration Project will engage underserved students and youth from local elementary schools in restoration activities in the Johnson Creek Watershed. Students will participate in plantings in the fall and spring, receive workshops from the Bureau of Environmental Services, and perform independent water quality monitoring.
  • People of Color Outdoors will expand their Guardians education program by serving more families than before, at a City Park Community Center. BIPOC students and a parent will engage together to learn about the environment and wildlife through daily lessons, an outdoor visit to explore Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands Natural Area, learning activities, and guest speakers during the summer, winter break and spring break.
  • ROSE Community Development will facilitate summer internships as part of the Lents Youth Initiative, through the Youth Empowerment Series, to involve BIPOC and low-income youth and introduce environmental field careers. Youth will be exposed to topics of environmental justice, social justice, leadership skills and get to build community with other youth participants and will apply to paid summer internships with partner organizations. 

Community Partnership Program - Sports Focus

  • Friends of Baseball will strengthen and expand the Full Count RBI program, providing after school and summer enrichment to low-income youth and BIPOC communities. In addition, increase engagement through academic support, socio-emotional skill building, and healthy recreation programs for ages 13-18.
  • Girls on the Run Greater Oregon will host ten teams in eight Portland parks for girls of all abilities to recognize their individual strengths while building a sense of connection in a team setting. Each team will have diverse coaches and junior coaches who will serve as leaders and role models and facilitate lessons that blend physical activity with life skill development.
  • Kids N’ Tennis, Inc. will expand its programming at Irving Park and the Portland Tennis Center and develop new tennis partners in communities throughout the Portland Metropolitan area.

Community Partnership Program - Workforce Development Focus

  • Home Forward will facilitate the K’Ching Youth Program, a work experience initiative combined with leadership development and community engagement for low-income, multi-cultural youth ages 12 to 17. Youth will be placed as stipend volunteers at a collaborative of non-profits and public organizations in the New Columbia community in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood.