Congratulations: Outstanding Volunteers

February 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment

By Cindy Cooper, Co-founder and Managing Director, Impact Entrepreneurs, Portland State University School of Business

There are those Portland days when the dark sky tricks you into thinking your alarm woke you too early and you daydream of a Stumptown Roasters coffee app. And then there are those days when a crisp blue sky fills your eyes with light, you walk the long way to your meetings, and you charge ahead, alive with possibility and purpose. Yesterday was one of those days.

Thanks to the Hands on Greater Portland and the Portland Trail Blazers, yesterday’s Heart of the Community Awards luncheon was a celebration of inspiring people making a difference. The room was filled with individuals, from big companies and little, from the city and the suburbs, young and young at heart, who believe one person can change the world and then go out prove it through simple hard work and sincerity. I like these people. They make me work harder and complain less.

I was honored to be invited to Central City Concern’s (CCC) table to share their pride and joy in receiving the Volunteer Innovation Award for their Community Volunteer Corps (CVC).


Cindy Cooper, Managing Director of PSU’s Impact Entrepreneurs; Adrienne Karecki, Director of Business and Social Enterprises, CCC; and Chris Bekemeier, Assistant Director of The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages. [photo: Kathy Pape, CCC]

 CVC’s clients were formerly homeless and participate in the program to build their resumes and skills and get back into the workforce. In the process, they have delivered more than 30,000 hours of volunteer services to numerous nonprofits in our community. The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages, one of the organizations that has benefitted from CVC volunteers, nominated the CVC for this award.

Mark Alejos, CVC Program Manager; Andy Nelson, Executive Director of Hands On Greater Portland; Commissioner Nick Fish; CVC Liaison Dan Winters; CCC Director of Social Enterprises Adrienne Karecki; and CVC Liaison Krista Matsell. [photo: Kathy Pape, CCC]

Impact Entrepreneurs’ Social Innovation Incubator has been working with Adrienne Karecki, who heads up the CVC, on developing new social enterprises that will provide CCC clients with jobs, as well as revenues to further CCC’s mission.

It has been an absolute pleasure to witness the growth of the CVC over the past couple of years and to advise them on their social enterprise business plan. We’re also fortunate that a couple dozen PSU MBA students have gotten to participate in this project. Every time Adrienne and her team speak to students, magic happens. It is impossible not to come away truly moved and inspired by CCC and the triumphant stories of people who have been through the worst and come out the other side.

Congratulations to all of the inspiring Heart of the Community awardees:

  • Oregon Health and Science University, Corporate Volunteer Award
  • Terry Clelen, Hands on Greater Portland Volunteer Award
  • Terrance Harris, Individual Volunteer Award
  • Milo Lopez, Nathan Sibell Youth Leadership Award
  • Robert Ingram (deceased), Heart of the Community Award

You can see all of their stories on video here:

Congratulations Adrienne, Mark, Dan, Krista, Ed and all who have made CVC the innovative and effective program it is.

Click here for CVC’s video:

Entry filed under: Events, SII Member News. Tags: , .

Apply to the Social Innovation Program at George Mason University Impact Entrepreneurs Replication School: Business Process Design & Improvement in Cambodia – Introduction

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