#PNWOnTheRoad in Oregon

#PNWOnTheRoad in Oregon

Emerald green graphic that reads "PNW on the Road, April 2023, Oregon" and had a cartoon of a woman on a Vespa with a suitcase on the back with Pacific Northwest themed stickers.

Spring in the Pacific Northwest brings longer days (yay sunshine!), new blooms and, for us at Philanthropy Northwest, a return to travel! Our ultimate philanthropy road trip took us to Oregon where we connected with changemakers and members across the state. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to hear firsthand about their work and the space for shared learning to better serve our communities. Take a look at a quick snapshot of our trip below!

Southern Oregon

In early April we spent several days in Medford and Roseburg visiting our members and partners at the Carpenter Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, the Gordon Elwood Foundation, the Oregon Community Foundation and United Way of Jackson County. We learned more about the unique opportunities and considerations for rural communities and top-of-mind issues including affordable housing, early childhood education, mental health and wildfire response.

These conversations are invaluable in helping us strengthen our network by understanding the needs of communities across our region and build connections between similar funders for collective action towards meaningful change. Some of the key takeaways for our network from our conversations in southern Oregon are:

  • Philanthropy has an important role in supporting capacity building for local nonprofits to support access to government funding, as described in The Ford Family Foundation’s recent Pathways to Securing Rural Federal Funding report.
  • Policy advocacy is increasingly becoming a lever for rural funders to create sustainable change.
  • There is a strong need for in-person connection to build trust-based relationships and information sharing to advance collective impact, and desire for our network to continue to come together for in-person convenings.


We’re hearing more and more from our network that funders are struggling to discuss the complexities of the issues facing our communities amidst misinformation and partisanship. In late April we brought our friends and colleagues together in Portland for a discussion about how to have truly curious conversations to find common ground and bridge our cultural, social and political divides. In partnership with Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington and M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust we hosted Monica Guzman, author of “I Never Thought of it That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times,” to share her observations on using curiosity to move through confusion and bridge polarization.

“The power of being in conversation with another if you calibrate enough... you can connect with people and see each other as more than a label” – Monica Guzman

It’s clear that creating connections is critical to our work and our well-being as a community of friends and peers. We will continue to foster a culture of curiosity and relationship building in service of collective learning and action towards creating a more equitable future for our communities.

Thank you to everyone who shared their time and wisdom with us in Oregon and we’re looking forward to the next stops on our #PNWOntheRoad trip!