Purely for the Love

Abby’s Closet

“Cinderella” isn’t just a fairy tale here in Portland, where 24-year-old Abby Egland and her mother, Sally, have been playing fairy godmother to high school girls for the past five years. In 2004, the Eglands established Abby’s Closet, an organization that collects new and gently used prom dresses and then gives them to students who may not be able to afford their own (including providing dresses to students at Salem’s schools for the deaf and blind). In April, 1,800 girls walked away from the Convention Center with their dream dresses (and 10 of last year’s 15 Rose Festival princesses wore Abby’s Closet gowns as well). Better than a glass slipper. —MH

WISH LIST
A 2,000-square-foot space for storing gowns (at low rent or donated)
Pipes and drapes or building supplies to create dressing rooms
Donated transportation services for girls from out of town

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Best-Kept Secret

Community Vision

We all remember our first apartment. Tiny and homely though it surely was, it was ours. We got to decorate it (with bad spring-break memorabilia, no less), and, on the downside, we got to clean it. But unquestionably, our first abode was a place to feel comfortable and safe. That’s an experience Community Vision believes everyone should have—whether you’re an 18-year-old college student or a developmentally disabled adult. Since 1989, the organization has provided in-home support and sometimes even roommates to about 70 developmentally disabled Portlanders every year. Because the organization serves a population many people are unfamiliar with—and some are uncomfortable with—Community Vision has flown largely under the radar, executive director Joe Wykowski says. “We want to break down those barriers,” he adds. They’re doing it one neighbor at a time. —KC

WISH LIST
Furniture for homes
Linens and towels
Volunteers to paint homes and do landscaping

Extraordinary Executive Director

Monica Beemer

“There goes the busy one.” Monica Beemer recalls hearing one café patron say those words, a few months into her job as co-director of Sisters of the Road. It was 2001, and the troubled organization—an advocacy group for the homeless that runs a café serving low-cost nutritional meals—was losing $100,000 each year. To save Sisters, Beemer spent hours in her office fundraising, rarely talking to café patrons—until she heard the remark. Then she started saying hello, while still firmly pressing the fundraising pedal. By 2005, when she became the executive director of Sisters, Beemer had helped double revenue and had tripled the number of donors. But the accomplishment that means the most to her is also her most recent: Sisters’ board of directors gave her the highest grade possible in building a relationship with customers. “I’m really proud of that one,” she says, “because relationships are primary, here and everywhere.” —EB

WISH LIST
Coffee
Brown rice
1,000 square feet of earth-friendly floor covering for office

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