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Nov 08, 2016

Board of Director Spotlight: Tom Fink Receives 2016 Simon Benson Award

For Janus Board member, Tom Fink, philanthropy is about more than just donating time or money. For him, it is about making a difference in his community. One of Tom’s favorite quotes is by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” This is a concept that Tom has embraced. “I feel like I have been blessed and I want to give back. There could have been so many things that might have derailed my life. But I was lucky enough to have missed those obstacles and want to help others less fortunate,” says Tom. His tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. On November 3, in recognition of his contributions, Portland State University (PSU) and the PSU Foundation presented Tom with a Simon Benson Award at their gala dinner.

The Simon Benson Awards Dinner is an influential forum celebrating philanthropy in Oregon. Since 1999, the gala has raised over $10 million in support of Portland State University. The award was created by PSU in 1999 as a means of recognizing individuals, like Tom, who are dedicated to philanthropy.

The first in his family to attend college, Tom credits his PSU education with enriching his life and opening the world to him. Since his graduation in 1971 and establishing his career, Tom has been giving back to other PSU students. His PSU Telefund Scholarship assists students each year in pursuing their degrees at PSU. The Telefund employs up to 35 students who reach out to alumni and friends each year—to increase annual support for scholarships, program development and research. Tom believes that the Telefund work is fundamental in keeping the wheels of philanthropy turning into the future. The recipient of Tom’s Telefund Scholarship this year is Alexandra Van—a senior studying sociology who overcame significant challenges to realize her dream of finishing high school and earning a college degree.

Tom has been serving Janus for over 30 years. He is a past president and is the Scholarship Chair. He also serves on the St. Mary’s Academy and the PSU Foundation Boards. Through his generosity, Tom has made—and continues to make—a difference in the lives of so many youth.

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Jan 18, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Washington Outreach Specialists

Every day our Outreach Specialists in Washington are busy serving homeless youth who have no one else to turn to. The team of three staff—Keeva Haverkost, Jessica Villasenor, and Jean Withers—work like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other so they can provide high quality service to youth. All of them are passionate about their work. Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor of The Perch and Yellow Brick Road Washington, says of her team, “Each person brings their unique contribution and special reason to work as an Outreach Specialist.” According to Bettina, the team has multifaceted roles— hosting The Perch—our drop-in center for youth—conducting street outreach for Yellow Brick Road, Washington and leading educational presentations that help the community better understand human trafficking and its impact in Clark County.

Jan 09, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Noah Schultz and his” Inspiring Action Tour”

Noah Schultz is a 25-year old graduate of the Hope Partnership program who served 7.5 years in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). While at the MacLaren Correctional Facility, Noah received two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Since his release in October 2016, he has become an outspoken youth advocate, with a passion to drive reform in our justice system, inspiring hope, action and humanizing the stories of the incarcerated. In November 2017, Noah completed a two-month “Inspiring Action Tour” at ten correctional facilities throughout the U.S. where he showed the award-winning documentary film about him, “Perception from Prison to Purpose.” He is co-owner of Forgotten Culture Clothing and co-founder of Verbal Escape. Noah spoke to us about his tour.

Dec 18, 2017
Sixth Grader Organizes Sock Drive For Janus Youth

Eleven-year old Quentin Brown organized a winter sock drive at his school, Cascade Heights Public Charter School, collecting 582 pairs of socks for our youth. This is his second year organizing the sock drive.

 Last year, Janus awarded Quentin the “Stars for Kids Award” for his contributions to our youth. Each year on his birthday, Quentin asks family members to give him gifts that he can donate to Portland’s homeless youth. Rather than getting toys and games, Quentin gets socks, water bottles, hats and scarfs that he packs up in a bin and brings down to the Janus administrative office. Last year, he even brought a little piggy bank with all of his savings and gave it to Janus. He has been doing this for seven years now. By thinking of the needs of others, he sets an example for his peers, family and community, showing the impact kids have on helping other kids. Quentin demonstrates that acts of kindness can be cultivated at a young age. 

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