Inspiring the Next Generation

Northwest Children’s Theater and School


WHAT THEY DO: On a typical Saturday, singing voices, soft-shoed dance steps and the sounds of a piano float through the halls of the Northwest Children’s Theater and School in Northwest Portland. In addition to staging 90 public performances a year in a 450-seat auditorium, the organization operates the largest theater school in Oregon, offering year-round acting classes (from “Playlabs” for novices that culminate with a full-scale production, to private coaching for those contemplating stage careers).

The nonprofit also runs an outreach program for at-risk kids, while its touring company seasonally stages shows at Portland-area public schools. “It’s an incredible opportunity for kids to work with pros,” says parent Nancy Kurkinen. “They get to be on that big stage, which is a thrill in itself.” —EG
What they need: Volunteer ushers; cash donations to keep class fees low

TO GIVE:; 503-222-4480

Honoring Our Elders

Elders in Action

WHAT THEY DO: Elders in Action helps seniors in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties meet their housing, health care and transportation needs. It also assists seniors who have been victimized by identity theft or fraud; last year, Elders in Action advocates recovered more than $276,500 for 1,566 elderly crime victims. Noting that most volunteers are in their 60s and 70s, executive director Vicki Hersen describes the mission of her organization as “engaging the wisdom of older adults for the betterment of the community.” —EG

WHAT THEY NEED: Cash donations and volunteer advocates
TO GIVE:; 503-235-5474

The Most With the Least

Care to Share

WHAT THEY DO: Beaverton-based Care to Share serves primarily as a nerve center for 21 church-based food banks; its staff of three coordinates food deliveries and appointments for pantry visits, steering families to church food banks that can fulfill their needs. In 2006, Care to Share helped 38,111 people find the assistance they needed, be it emergency food (worth $762,975) or rent and utility payments (worth $71,941). —EG

WHAT THEY NEED: Volunteers to answer phones; cash donations

TO GIVE:; 503-591-9025

Most Extraordinary Executive Director

David Fuks, Cedar Sinai Park

WHY HE’S EXTRAORDINARY: As the chief executive of Cedar Sinai Park, a Southwest Portland retirement community that provides a host of other related services for the area’s elderly, David Fuks leads one of the largest institutions in the Portland Jewish community. Not long after Fuks (a professor in the graduate school of social work at Portland State University) took the job 10 years ago, Cedar Sinai Park recast itself as a teaching organization, collaborating with Portland Community College to create a training curriculum to improve practices in the field of elder care. Fuks still teaches at PSU, grooming the next generation of social workers while providing Cedar Sinai Park with a steady stream of interns. Anticipating an influx of retirees, he’s established a capital campaign to remodel Cedar Sinai’s infirmiry, and he hopes to purchase an apartment building downtown to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors. —EG

WHAT THEY NEED: Cash donations and volunteers to lead social activities
TO GIVE:; 503-535-4303