Extraordinary Pro Bono Contribution
Wieden & Kennedy

When the creative forces responsible for Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign and the Old Spice viral video hits featuring Isaiah Mustafa turned their collective brain power toward the nonprofit world last spring, the results were, not surprisingly, pretty spectacular—$1.4 million in donations in a single night kind of spectacular. Led by account director Eric Gabrielson and creative directors Danielle Flagg and Tyler Whisnand (who typically work on Nike and Target accounts, among others), the Wieden & Kennedy team turned a dull Harvard Business School of Oregon report about the sevenfold return on investment for Friends of the Children into a clever, animated video about “Friendonomics.” The video was a cornerstone of the annual fundraising event for Friends of the Children, a local group that pairs professional mentors with vulnerable Oregon kids from kindergarten through high school, and is just one of the many projects to which Wieden & Kennedy has given its talent, gratis, over the past decade. “They treat us like a client and give us just as much respect as they would Coca-Cola or Chrysler,” says Megan Lewis, director of development and marketing at Friends of the Children. “When they have a creative idea, they execute it without any limitations.” For the Friendonomics project, the W&K team donated hundreds of hours—most of them after hours and on weekends—and relied on its stable of talented producers and stylists such as animator David Potter, whose credits include the documentary Deep Green and several projects for Coke, Nike, and Dodge. “That’s the spirit of this place,” says Dan Wieden, cofounder and CEO. “You give back whenever you have the opportunity. We feel like citizens who have a responsibility to create good, meaningful communication. It’s a real honor to do work with organizations like this one.”

Purely for the Love
Mission: Citizen

They may not have been old enough to vote, but that didn’t stop six Lincoln High School students from helping others earn their right to pick our political leaders. Inspired by their rigorous study of the US Constitution for a national civics competition, the students formed Mission: Citizen in 2009 to help immigrants pass their naturalization tests and become American citizens. Since then, dozens of Lincoln students have taught free eight-week courses to about 60 immigrants. Some, like Chan Chanthakoun, an immigrant from Laos, passed on the first try. Others, like Beatrice, a recent class attendee from Rwanda, proved teachers themselves. Beatrice struggled with the concept of political free speech, which Mission: Citizen cofounder Louis Wheatley says taught the Lincoln students not to take the rights afforded to Americans for granted. This summer Mission: Citizen garnered grant money from Community 101/PGE Foundation to expand the program and help even more immigrants … and students. “Their stories help push us to help them achieve a better life,” says Wheatley, now a sophomore majoring in history and romance languages at Dartmouth. “We’re thrilled and honored to be part of that journey.”

Extraordinary Board Member
Linda Wright

In 1990, Linda Wright heard about a little-known nonprofit dedicated to the simple proposition that at-risk, urban youth needed helping hands beyond their families and schools. To move beyond summer and after-school programs to 24-7 counseling and support, the organization, Self-Enhancement Inc, needed its own building—and millions to buy it. It took more than six months, but Wright, then vice president of community relations for US Bank, convinced the bank’s board to fill the gap by making what, to date, had been the largest corporate donation in Oregon history: $1 million. Today students who go through SEI programs graduate high school at a rate of nearly 100 percent (by comparison, the average four-year graduation rate in a PPS high school is 55 percent), and 85 percent of SEI students go on to higher education. Such success couldn’t have been possible without Wright’s 20 years of fundraising efforts. She has cajoled corporations; helped with Art+Soul, SEI’s highest-earning annual fundraiser; and last year even served as the group’s interim development director for six months. She calls herself an adviser, supporter, encourager, and confidante to president, founder, and CEO Tony Hopson Sr. “SEI would not be SEI were it not for Linda Wright,” says Hopson. “For every graduate of our program, and every success we have at SEI, Linda’s handprint is there.”

Extraordinary Volunteer
Barbara Rodriguez

Like so many dedicated volunteers, the soft-voiced Barbara Rodriguez would rather talk about the organization she supports than herself. But staff members at Adelante Mujeres (translation: rise up and move forward, women) have no problem gushing about the dependable woman who’s worked as a volunteer since the organization’s inception in 2002. Adelante provides continuing education and professional development help to 350 low-income Latina women and their families. Among other things, the group provides free business and GED courses, free training in organic farming techniques and marketing (including hands-on experience at the Forest Grove Farmers Market, which Adelante founded), and after-school programming for the children of working families. An indefatigable volunteer, Rodriguez donates the equivalent of five workweeks of her free time each year, serving on the board, helping Spanish-speaking preschool children prepare for kindergarten, and introducing the staff to new technologies. “Bobbie’s eternal patience, positive attitude, and resolute dedication to education and our organization are what make her an invaluable asset to this organization,” says Kate Jackson, development director for the Forest Grove nonprofit. A longtime kindergarten teacher in Oregon’s public schools and a former Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, Rodriguez says it’s the children who keep her engaged year after year. “I am never depleted,” she says. “Every day is a learning experience. As much as you want to teach the kids, they’re the ones teaching you.”