Nike Inc. last week awarded $300,000 to 27 local nonprofits and schools through the Nike Employee Grant Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation for its summer 2011 program. Nike employees joined Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and grant recipients for an award presentation and celebration Oct. 13 at the Nike Factory Store in Northeast Portland. The fund, which was established in 2010, supports local nonprofits and schools creating positive, sustainable social or environmental change.

'These 27 organizations and their programs embody the kind of community-building efforts that are vital for creating a strong, healthy Oregon,' Brown said.

'Each of these award winners came to us with innovative programs that will have tremendous community impact,' added Kathy Webb, Nike employee marketplace manager who led the Nike employee group overseeing the program's selection process. 'The Nike Employee Grant Fund is our backyard program, connecting Nike employees with their community not only through the grant making but through their continued involvement with the organizations to help them reach their goals.' 

Nike also announced the next cycle of funding, which opened on Oct. 15. The sports apparel giant will award $250,000 to nonprofits in the greater Portland area to support sport and sustainability programs. Applications are due Dec. 1 and are available online at .

The Summer 2011 Nike Employee Grant Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation awardees, who received grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, include:

  • Beaverton School District: To provide multiple opportunities for students with autism spectrum disorder and neurotypical peers to interact during cooperative group sports, social activities and games.

  • Friends of Baseball (Portland): To assess and address the equity issues experienced by underserved Northwest Oregon youth who wish to participate in youth baseball and softball programs.

  • Northeast Community Center (Portland): To develop youth sports leagues with scholarships for foster children.

  • Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (Vancouver, Wash.): To provide opportunities for individuals with visual impairments to participate in sports and physical activity.

  • Girls Inc. of Northwest Oregon (Portland): To create a noncompetitive, exploratory environment for girls by giving them a supportive base from which they can develop skills for lifelong physical fitness and activity.

  • Returning Veterans Project (Portland): To recruit more volunteer practitioners in order to meet the growing need of free services for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families in Oregon.

  • Pendulum Aerial Arts (West Haven): To encourage creativity, personal growth and physical fitness for Portland youth, particularly pre-teen and teenage girls, through training in the aerial arts.

  • Kukatonon Children's African Dance Troupe (Portland): To teach students from disadvantaged populations African dances in their traditional forms to gain a broader understanding of cultural diversity.

  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art:  To give youth access to arts and artists through hands-on, participative arts experiences.

  • Gladstone School District: To educate the community in ways to incorporate play as a means to promote healthy lifestyles.

  • Chess for Success (Portland): To use chess to teach students critical thinking, social skills and sportsmanship.

  • Northwest Children's Outreach (Lake Oswego): To function as a collection and distribution center where individuals and families can contribute directly to the needs of children in their neighborhoods with support to a network of more than 200 local care providers and agencies.

  • Friends of the Children - Portland: To transform FOC's model with specialized adolescent programming that leads to higher engagement at a critical age and organizational capacity to serve more children.

  • Care To Share (Beaverton): To provide coordinated help to families seeking emergency food by taking requests by phone and providing scheduled referral appointments to nearby food distribution partners.

  • Playworks Education Energized (Portland): To create a more safe, inclusive and positive climate during recess through the power of play and physical activity in six schools from two districts and 41 SUN Community Schools.

  • Peninsula Children's Center (Portland): To help preschoolers develop gross motor skills through physical exercise by upgrading the center's play areas.

  • Pathfinders of Oregon (Portland): To implement a physical play and nutrition program where young parents (ages 14-21) and their children (infants to age 5) improve health and develop parent-child bonding.

  • Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (Portland): To support a walking series and challenges to encourage residents and employees to explore walking as a social and active lifestyle choice.

  • Police Activities League of Greater Portland: To offer low-income, at-risk children the opportunity of attending a summer day camp offering sports, educational and anti-gang programs on a university campus.

  • Morrison Child and Family Services (Portland): To build a soccer program for at-risk and indigent adolescent boys to inspire teamwork, cooperation and sportsmanship.

  • P:ear (Portland): To provide outdoor recreational opportunities for homeless youth to experience relaxation, personal growth, confidence and play beyond the limits of their urban setting. 

  • Centro Cultural of Washington County (Cornelius): To develop leadership skills among at-risk middle school students through sports, classroom discussions and community service.

  • Community Cycling Center (Portland): To sponsor three semesters of Bike Club in two North Portland elementary schools, empowering 36 youth with bicycles, helmets and safety education.

  • Neighborhood House (Portland): To support Neighborhood House CASASTART - a proven, school-based program designed to support the success of highly at-risk youth, while keeping them free of drug and criminal involvement.

  • GLSEN Oregon (Portland): To sponsor trainings for K-12 coaches and physical education teachers on making athletics inclusive of all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Circus Project (Portland): To provide circus arts training for 150 homeless and at-risk youth, creating therapeutic environments for youth to develop life skills and personal integrity.

  • Your Community Mediators of Yamhill County (McMinnville): To strengthen and expand its Juvenile Victim Offender Mediation Program throughout Yamhill County, in cooperation with schools, juvenile justice workers and social services.
  • The Nike Employee Grant Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation was established in 2010 and seeks to benefit communities where Nike employees live, work and play. Administered in partnership with The Oregon Community Foundation, it awards up to $600,000 per year to local nonprofit organizations or schools that wish to join Nike in creating positive social and/or sustainable environmental change.

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