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Announcing the winner of the first Idealist Grant

1.9.18 By: Kirsten Kippen

We are thrilled to announce that Oregon Humanities has been selected as the winner of our very first Idealist Grant. The Idealist Grant dedicates 10% of our profits from working with the corporate sector back to a progressive nonprofit. We solicited nominations from the staff at Idealist Consulting in December, then all of the nominees were invited to submit an application describing how they are progressive, in their own words.

We received an impressive group of applications from global, national, and local nonprofit organizations. What really set Oregon Humanities apart was their commitment to creating foundational, community-based change on a wide variety of critical topics, particularly for those who have been ignored, generalized, or oppressed. Our selection committee felt that the unique social and political climate of 2017 calls for organizations such as Oregon Humanities, that can combat the growing polarization in this nation.


An excerpt from Oregon Humanities’ Idealist Grant application

"In November, Oregon Humanities held a public-facilitated conversation on forest management in Estacada, Oregon. It was just one of the 250+ Conversation Project programs held around the state in 2017.

Similar to many Oregon towns surrounded by federal forest lands, Estacada’s economy was dominated by logging and timber mills for much of the twentieth century. More recently, though, logging has declined and recreation is on the uptick, along with new residents and visitors. That backdrop made the discussion on forest management potentially contentious. With attendees ranging from a retired Forest Service biologist to an extreme left-wing environmentalist, they could easily have rehashed the same disagreements they’d been having for years.

Oregon Humanities facilitator Mariah Acton gave the group time to share their experiences and beliefs, and then led them through an exercise comparing their opinions. At the end of the conversation, many participants left the library with a broader perspective.

“On social media and the news, it makes it seem like people are all really mean these days and there is no way people can still talk to each other. But you put us all in a room, face-to-face, and people are actually still pretty nice and can still talk from different sides,” one participant said.

The conversation didn’t create new a consensus, craft a new policy, or initiate an action plan, but it forged new connections and new understandings that made the community stronger that night. This is what Oregon Humanities strives to do – create opportunities for Oregonians to come together and lay the foundations for a more positive, cooperative future."


We look forward to supporting Oregon Humanities as well as many more progressive companies in 2018!

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