PBEM Announces Community Organizations to Receive $300,000 in Grants for Capacity Building and Emergency Resilience

News Article
Sixteen community-based organizations were named as grantees of the 2022 Community Resilience and Capacity Building grants.

Sixteen community-based organizations were named as grantees of the 2022 Community Resilience and Capacity Building grants, funded by the City of Portland and administered by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM). This is the first time PBEM has administered a grant of this kind.

To better serve Portland’s diverse communities, the City of Portland partners with community-based organizations to respond to emergencies, which disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other underserved communities, including immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities. This grant focuses on strengthening partnerships with community-based organizations to address the disparate impacts of disasters.

The purpose of the 2022 Community Resilience and Capacity-Building Grants is to: 

  • Increase disaster resilience in households in Portland that face disparate risks, focusing on resilience in the face of climate change-induced and/or earthquake risks.
  • Strengthen the ability of community-based organizations to serve their community during an emergency.

“The Covid-19 pandemic hit Portland’s diverse communities – immigrants, people with disabilities, and Black, Indigenous and all people of color – the hardest. The effects of climate change and a variety of natural disasters are no different. These grants will help prepare organizations to support communities when they need it the most,” said Regina Ingabire, Community Resilience Outreach Manager for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.  

A total of $300,000 will be distributed between now and Dec. 31, 2023, through three pathways:

  • Four grants ranging from $15,001 to $50,000 will be awarded for projects that build climate resilience, earthquake resilience, or mental health resilience.
  • Seven grants ranging from $5,001 to $15,000 will be awarded for small projects that build climate resilience, earthquake resilience, or mental health resilience.
  • Five grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 will be awarded for disaster resilience educational events or outreach efforts.

The grant program received 73 applications with a total of $2.6 million in asks. Grant recipients were selected by a committee of six  members, including three employees from the City of Portland (Bureau of Emergency Management, Office of Community & Civic Life and the Office of Violence Prevention), and three representatives from community-based organizations.

Hear from the grant recipients and learn about their projects, below:

The Black Parent Initiative was awarded $50,000 to provide mental health support for Portland’s Black families and students. This funding will ensure up to 80 families access to culturally specific mental health support, coupled with wraparound supports, that act as a bridge through crises and/or long waitlists for other external providers.  

HAKI Community Organization was granted $49,000 for climate resilience for East African immigrants and refugees. This will help create a community space at the HAKI office, in the West Portland Park neighborhood, where many East African and Swahili-speaking immigrant and refugee families live. This includes the purchase of computers for students and adults and will provide 75 households with weatherization toolkits and training on how to use these tools.

“Our community members primarily live in unregulated, old, and poorly maintained affordable housing. According to the City of Portland’s data, people who live in the area we serve (near the intersection of Southwest Barbur Boulevard and Capitol Highway, above Interstate 5), have an average life span that is seven years shorter than the average Portland resident due to poor air quality. HAKI will support over 300 low-income East African immigrants and refugees living, working, and attending school in Southwest Portland with the tools and knowledge necessary to improve indoor air quality and temperatures, and to create a community space that is healthy and available during extreme weather events, including very hot and cold temperatures, and bad air quality due to wildfires," said, Terri Preeg Riggsby, General Manager of the HAKI Community Organization.

Familias en Accion was granted $46,670 for disaster resilience for Oregon’s Latino/x/e families. Familias en Acción’s (Familias) goal is to build Latino/x/e community resilience around climate change and help Oregon’s Latino/x/e families to better prepare for climate-related disasters by facilitating culturally specific Climate Disaster Preparedness workshops. Each free workshop will focus on weather and climate-related phenomena increasingly affecting Oregonians: winter storms, extreme heat, and wildfire and air quality. The project will benefit 75 Spanish-speaking Latino/x/e families in Oregon.

“This partnership with PBEM enables Familias en Acción to continue building Latino/x/e community resilience in Oregon around climate change to help families be better prepared for climate-related disasters by providing the funds to deliver three culturally and linguistically specific Climate Disaster Preparedness workshops,” said Familias' Deputy Director Patricia Patrón.

Transition Projects was granted $21,645 for Safe. Water. 4. All. This program will train two full-time staff on the installation and maintenance of water filtration systems and provide training to shelter managers, residential advocates and wellness access specialists. This will fund continuing trainings during earthquake drills in April and October to ensure that all 10 shelter and resource facilities have access to clean and safe water directly after a disaster. Shelters and residential programs serve approximately 500 participants. Their Resource Center serves approximately 150 houseless adults.

Mother and Child Education Center was granted $15,000 for trauma-informed resiliency planning building on programs created during the Covid-19 pandemic. Staff and volunteers will be trained in the Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) model of disaster preparedness, in behavioral health techniques for addressing people in mental health crisis, and trauma-informed care. This will help them better support their clients to create adequate disaster plans.

Project Access NOW was granted $15,000 to provide at least four emergency preparedness outreach events and increased staff readiness. This includes CPR training to at least 25 staff to better prepare them for an emergency and community-facing information sessions on earthquake preparedness.

“This funding will support capacity-building and increased safety, both internally for Project Access NOW staff and externally for community members and clients,” said Rebecca Raab, director of public relations and development for Project Access NOW. “By preparing staff with CPR training and earthquake preparedness, our community becomes both more resilient and more sustainable.”

The St. Johns Neighborhood Association’s Neighborhood Network and Resilience Project (NNRP)

 was granted $16,000 to support St. Johns residents with block parties focusing on emergency preparedness and disaster recovery to strengthen ties with their neighbors.

“St. Johns Neighborhood Association’s Safer Together Project will work closely with St. Johns Neighborhood Emergency Team (St. Johns NET) to mobilize and support neighborhood folks in organizing resilience and inclusion-focused block parties. Knowing neighbors makes all the difference when disasters like earthquakes and fires strike. To prepare, we’ll help people create phone trees and neighborhood maps, plus guide them to information about survival skills and strategies,” stated Paul Rippey, Safer Together manager, and Austen Courpet, Safety and Livability committee chair for the St. Johns Neighborhood Association.

Arise and Shine was granted $15,000 to provide cultural navigation for immigrant communities by building a community-based education program supporting language and academic skills, cultural navigation proficiency, and economic development, incorporating emergency preparedness for immigrant and refugee community members. Classes, held in East Portland and virtually, will demonstrate skills such as first aid, provide information about emergency shelters and caring for family members, and promote other critical capacity building. Preparedness will be added to education curriculum. Resources will include emergency kits.

“I have experienced first-hand challenges that these communities face. Ninety-nine percent of these families have no emergency kits. Many of them don’t even have a fire extinguisher and don’t have an evacuation plan and never talk about it at home,” said Safari Ndondwa of Arise and Shine. This grant will help our organization strengthen our efforts by providing not only emergency preparedness education but also distribute emergency preparedness kits and expand our services to more community members.”

Dharma Rain Zen Center  was awarded $15,000 to establish a dedicated staging area for disasters or extreme weather events. The primary purpose of the project is, in the event of a regional disaster, to provide the local Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) with a highly functional command post and a reliable solar array to power communication and essential equipment. An existing structure is durable, and its roof is linked to a 1,000-gallon emergency water cistern. This project will add a grid-tied solar array, outlets, and the ability to temporarily extend the shelter for shade or rain protection. Dharma Rain will host an event series to increase awareness of and preparation for regional disasters and extreme weather events in partnership with neighborhood associations and NETs.

Torus was granted $15,000 to develop an emergency preparedness curriculum and teach both virtual and in-person classes and use in their app to ensure that immigrants and refugees are prepared for emergencies and disasters. The focus is on emergency preparedness, disaster resilience, and navigating the healthcare system in emergency situations.

"In immigrant and refugee communities, there is a lack of access to linguistically and culturally relevant information related to emergency preparedness and navigating local systems," said Ramin Tokhi, executive director of Torus. “We provide an emergency resilience curriculum in our free English classes to not only prepare immigrants and refugees for emergency situations, but also create connections which they can rely on in such situations."

Lloyd EcoDistrict was granted $11,000 to expand emergency preparedness through a campaign called Lloyd Prepares. They will offer four workshops to increase disaster resilience and mental health resilience in the Lloyd District.

Bradley Angle was granted $5,000 for the Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM) training for domestic violence survivors, focusing on mental health and disaster resilience in survivors of domestic violence, particularly from communities identifying as Black, Indigenous and all People of Color (BIPOC). The program will offer classes and a group-based intervention designed to facilitate trauma recovery among survivors of sexual and physical abuse.

Sunrise Books LLC was granted $5,000 for Reading Labs, which will strengthen resilience in the Black community of Northeast Portland by creating a safe space where children can choose books to read. Parents may then connect with resources and advice on how to support their children through social and emotional issues.

“People from all walks of life can enjoy an inclusive, playful and inspiring space for growing readers,” said Edith Johnson of Sunrise books. “I have hosted over 20 story time and craft events to strengthen community, conversation and increase literacy.”

Rohingya Youth Association of Portland’s (RYAP) Rohingya/Somali Refugee Women’s Mental Health Support Group was granted $5,000 to build mental health resilience among Rohingya and Somali women refugees. This support group will provide an opportunity to learn skills such as sewing, cooking, and parenting strategies.

“Rohingya women are very isolated, staying at home oftentimes with the children. They don't get many opportunities to interact with other women. We established a women's support group to build positive, healthy relationships and learn about things that are important to them as refugee women,” said Anthony Bouhasin of RYAP.

Zomi Bethel Church was granted $5,000 to build stronger community by having a seminar for Zomi communities about the legal rights and responsibilities of new American citizens, and other civic duties, including keeping their neighborhoods and the environment clean.  

Accent Network was granted $5,000 for an interactive earthquake safety video series to the Russian immigrant community on the topics of:  

  • Family emergency preparedness plans
  • Preparing for emergencies and disasters, including emotional preparedness

“This helps us support our Slavic community as we undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks Slavic people face from disasters and natural hazards,” said Marina Drots of Accent Network. “Addressing these risks helps make our community more resilient."