One of the big secrets to creating cities and communities that thrive is to nurture the human ecosystem that helps drive growth and development. In our work, we are constantly looking for projects and programs that help support this approach. When individuals, families and professional relationships thrive, individual communities flourish.
Along these lines, our team was so pleased to hear about a unique partnership underway in Portland, Oregon. A Murdock Trust grantee, I Have a Dream Oregon is investing in families and local communities through a variety of efforts and partnerships with several local educational organizations like Concordia University, OHSU and Mount Hood Community College.
For example, I Have a Dream Oregon recently shared an incredible story of a family’s journey through the education system. Mayra Gonzalez is the parent of a child at Alder Elementary, the nation’s first Dreamer School, which empowers students from poverty-impacted communities to thrive in school, college and career:
“As a child growing up we didn’t talk about college, and when we did it was always just a dream, a thought, a very unlikely event to happen,” said Gonzalez. “That was until my son Abraham went on a trip to Concordia University and met a Biology professor. Afterwards Abraham told me that he was in fact going to attend Concordia to be a future biologist himself. My heart was full of pride and joy! What did I decide to do next? I enrolled myself at Mt. Hood Community College to pursue my GED. I can proudly say that my children watched me as I walked on stage to receive my GED certificate.”
We love this story because it demonstrates the real life impact of partnerships between amazing nonprofit organizations like I Have a Dream and educational institutions like Concordia University, Linfield College, OHSU, OSU, and Mount Hood Community College. When Abraham had the opportunity to visit a biology lab, he gained a whole new vision for his future – the dream of college to become a biologist became tangible and felt within reach. And Abraham’s new dream changed the trajectory of his mother’s life, too, all thanks to the investment that these partners are making in the lives of their students.
These are the kinds of ripple effects we see every day through our work. We invest in schools like Concordia University and Linfield College through programs like our Partners in Science and Murdock College Research programs, helping strengthen their science and research programs, which in turn strengthen communities in so many more ways than we could predict. We are grateful and humbled to play a small part in helping our communities flourish.