Our Mission

The mission of the Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF-OR) is to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon’s underserved communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups.

As one of the only Black-led foundations in Oregon, as well as one of the few remaining BIPOC-led organizations in historically-Black NE Portland, our presence has power!

The History of Black United Fund of Oregon

Oregon was the only state to ban Black individuals from entering its borders when it joined the Union in 1859 and did not ratify The Equal Protection Clause – the 14th Amendment – until 1973. The effects of over a century of institutionalized racism remain today with implicit bias, disproportionate involvement in the justice system, lack of equitable access to educational and economic opportunities, and more.

Throughout the 20th century, racist laws and discriminatory lending practices meant Black Portland residents were restricted to North and Northeast Portland (an area with few employment opportunities and poor housing stock at the time). In the late 1950s, 73% of Portland’s Black community lived in the Albina neighborhood.

Read more about North and Northeast Portland’s Black history here.

In 1983, a group of community activists came together to preserve this history and to improve life for communities of color across Oregon. Noticing that many philanthropic organizations were providing minimal support to Black and other BIPOC organizations, BUF-OR began to channel charitable funds to underserved communities. Later, this support extended to scholarships for youth and programming focused on education and economic opportunities for communities of color.

The Organization’s Founders Include:

●  Amina Anderson – BUF-OR Oregon Founding President
●  Dr. Dorothy Alexander – First President of the Governor’s Commission on Black Affairs
●  Skip Collier – Entrepreneur
●  Ron Herndon – Executive Director at Albina Head Start
●  Donna Harris – Oregon native and longtime NE Portland resident
●  Rev. John Garlington – Social justice activist and pastor of Maranatha Church in NE Portland

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice remain core tenants of the Black United Fund of Oregon, from its founding to today. The organization prioritizes inclusive standards and practices throughout every aspect of its operations, and works to address systemic and acute inequities. By design, the leadership of BUF-OR is reflective of those BUF-OR serves. 85% of BUF-OR staff members identify as a person of color, as do 80% of the organization’s board.

Additionally, many BUF-OR staff and leadership identify as BIPOC, disabled, queer, and as BUF-OR program alumni and/or Portland natives. This allows for a true understanding of, and connection to, BUF-OR’s mission, values, and objectives. BUF-OR recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are complex, multifaceted issues.

With that knowledge in mind, we consistently evaluate and update our strategies to align with best practices and specific community needs regarding diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

We are always open to suggestions, collaborations, and creative ways to make our programs and organization more inclusive. Please contact us at: info@bufor.org.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the Black United Fund of Oregon, at 2828 NE Alberta St, is located on lands that have been occupied and stewarded since time immemorial by people from the Bands of Cowlitz, Chasta, Rogue River, Umpqua, Molalla and Kalapuya, and Clackamas.

Many other indigenous peoples have their homes in, travel through, harvest and use the plentiful natural resources of the Columbia River, Willamette River, and the land where the City of Portland now sits.

BUF-OR respects the history of the federally recognized sovereign Tribal Nations of the Northwest, whose people were forcibly dispossessed and removed from their homes and lands by the United States government. We are committed to recognizing the ongoing relationship that exists between indigenous peoples and these places and to promoting equity through our work.

Learn more at: https://native-land.ca

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