Here for Portland to distribute $50 gift cards to support local businesses

News Article

The City of Portland’s Here for Portland campaign will distribute free Kuto app gift cards at the upcoming Pioneer Square tree lighting ceremony, which kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. The gift cards are each worth $50 at participating businesses in the downtown core, the Northwest business district, and the Central Eastside industrial area. Click here for participating businesses. This incentive has been ongoing with the first $50 Kuto app credit launched in May 2022.

Here for Portland (HFP) is a unique public/private/nonprofit partnership designed to help Portland’s local small businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Central to this initiative is an effort to get Portlanders out of their homes and spending money with local businesses, particularly those owned by women and people from historically underserved communities.

Kuto -- a local, BIPOC-owned business – is a smartphone app that enables shoppers and diners to pay for goods and services without the many fees associated with traditional electronic transactions. Funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the $50 Kuto cards to be distributed at the tree- lighting can be used through Sunday, Dec. 11 at participating downtown small businesses.

In concert with the gift card campaign, HFP is working to place Portland State University students in paying jobs with businesses in the downtown area. Eligible students can register with HFP to work for up to 40 hours per week with participating businesses for a total of 300 hours, after which each business has the option to hire them on an ongoing basis. Upon completing their 300 hours of employment, student workers are eligible for a $1000 bonus, whether they’re hired permanently or not. Interested students can connect with an HFP representative by e-mailing or clicking here.

HFP is supported by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, and is a collaboration between the City of Portland, Kuto, Bricks Need Mortar, Prosper Portland, Portland State University, Portland Community College, and Worksystems.