CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s website. The correct web address is http://cldc.org.
Oregon Tilth is one of the most senior nonprofits working in the food sustainability world. They were dubbed the “founding fathers of formal organic certification,” by The Huffington Post. Founded in 1974, they are a highly respected organic certification service and have been years ahead of their time in speaking out about ecological sustainability and organic farming practices since their formation.
They introduced what would become the federal standards for organic farming, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), in 1990. Persistent advocacy by the members of Oregon Tilth and careful shepherding by Congressman Peter DeFazio and others inside Congress led to the USDA’s adoption of those standards in 2002.
These days, the Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) label is carried in 47 states in the US and seven countries around the world. As well as their certification service, they do research on transitioning to organic farming and conservation with the Oregon State University Center for Small Farms, and provide their own data analytics and education on these subjects. They also provide opportunities for farmer-to-farmer mentorship programs, giving local farmers the chance to share their knowledge and expertise with one another.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities or how to donate or support Oregon Tilth, please visit https://tilth.org.
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Hailing from Eugene, The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) has an impact that extends to Corvallis and beyond. Founded in 2003 by attorney and Executive Director Lauren Regan in response to the potential dangers posed to civil liberties in the post-9/11 era, their mission statement says they “support movements that seek to dismantle the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction.”
This is a monumental goal, but the CLDC has scored crucial victories. They represented the Valve Turners, a group of climate activists (including Corvallis’ own Leonard Higgins) who manually shutting off oil pipelines in Washington, Montana and North Dakota in 2016.
Their most recent victory is related to a legal strategy known as the “necessity defense,” when otherwise criminal actions are interpreted as civil disobedience in service of a greater public cause. This argument, employed previously in nuclear arms and abortion cases, broke into the news in October 2017 when Minnesota judge Robert Tiffany granted the CLDC use of the necessity defense. Director Lauren Regan has said this decision is so significant that it has drawn a comparison to the famous Scopes Trial which established the basis for evolutionary science in law.
To find out more about the Civil Liberties Defense Center, as well as ways you can support their mission, please visit http://cldc.org.
Greenbelt Land Trust
Leaving a legacy of open spaces, clean water, diverse plant communities, and safe places for both wildlife and humans to roam is the business of any land trust. Greenbelt uniquely serves four counties of the Willamette Valley to see these actions through locally. Within Corvallis, notable areas they’ve helped to protect include the recreational-favorites Bald Hill Farm and Fitton Green Natural Area. You can help ensure these places are protected in perpetuity by donating singularly, or by committing to a recurring donation scheme and joining the base of over 700 existing members: http://greenbeltlandtrust.org/
Corvallis Environmental Center
The Corvallis Environmental Center is a non-profit, grassroots organization that was founded in 1994. They have been, and continue to be a major player regionally in the environmental movement, and do so with programs promoting environmental literacy, food and farming education, local food security, energy conservation, and climate action.
With the federal government in various states of denial and dismissal on the issue of climate change and environmental sustainability, the importance of environmental activism and education at a local level has become more important than ever. The CEC focuses on giving nature education to our young ones so they become responsible stewards of the planet, supporting health and local sustainable agriculture through healthy local food programs, and providing education and resources to increase energy conservation, so we can continue to have a habitable planet.
The work of the CEC is helping Corvallis show the world what a sustainable community looks like at a time when leadership in this field is greatly needed. Become part of the fight to preserve our planet and get involved with the Corvallis Environmental Center!
Corvallis Bicycle Collective
Is there anything more Corvallis than commuting to and from your daily life on a bicycle? The Corvallis Bicycle Collective is first and foremost a workspace, where cyclists can come in and learn the skills necessary to complete repairs on their own for free. You may recognize this group from community events such as Open Streets Corvallis and the Corvallis Spring Roll, where they promote active transportation and communal solidarity. The collective also recycles donated parts and bicycles for people to purchase, and have mechanically inclined staff and volunteers on hand to offer assistance. Volunteers at any skill level are greatly appreciated (even the mechanically unsavvy!) as well as any tool, part, or bicycle donations – just bring them by the shop. The Collective is located at 707 NW 11 st., and operates Monday – Wednesday from 12 – 4 p.m., and Thursday – Sunday from 12 – 6 p.m.
To learn more about volunteering, or to make a donation visit corvallisbikes.org
Casa Latinos Unidos
Casa Latinos Unidos is a Benton County non-profit that provides indispensable services to the Latinx community, helping them adapt to life in the U.S. The organization was founded by retired OSU professor Dr. Erlinda Gonzales-Berry about a decade ago, as she recognized the urgent need for education in the Latinx community to help them negotiate the system. Ever since, CLU has been helping immigrants fill out forms, understand court documents, and navigate the health care system.
Latinx immigrants are among the most vulnerable of communities in the U.S, and the current political climate of fear-mongering and hatred toward them is only exacerbating the issues that this population has always faced on U.S. soil. In our current discussions of what makes America great and what it means to be a patriot, it’s only the most patriotic among us who understand that we are only as great as the size of our hearts. Keep America great by extending a hand in friendship and in help to this vulnerable community, so we can help them achieve the ever more elusive American Dream.
Get involved: https://www.casalatinosunidos.
In the early twentieth century, anti-black violence was running roughshod across the country. A group of concerned Americans, including civil rights trailblazer W.E.B. Du Bois, banded together in an effort to defend the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They had started our counties oldest civil rights organization: the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People, a group that continues to stand strong today.
In the years to come, the NAACP would lead the charge in standing up for the rights of African Americans. Their assistance was integral to an extensive list of legal victories including Brown v. Board of Education, the 1948 integration of the armed forces, and the passage Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964, and 1968, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The mission of the Corvallis branch of the NAACP is the same as the national organization: “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” While the association has made strides in civil rights over the decades, race-based violence and discrimination continue to plague our country. Standing up for the rights of all Americans is the responsibility of all Americans, so please get in the fight, and support the NAACP.
Join or donate: https://www.
Keep Oregon Well
Keep Oregon Well is an anti-stigma campaign and social movement aimed at creating a more trauma-informed community and mental health awareness. The campaign is headed by nonprofit organization Trillium Family Services, which owns and operates the Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis, as well as the Perry Center in Portland. Each provides treatment and residential services to youth experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges, often as a result of exposure to traumatic life experiences.
Keep Oregon Well and Trillium Family Services run a variety of different programs, including inpatient services, extracurricular assistance for children, and group residential homes for young adults. They also explore more non-traditional therapy services; specifically, an equine therapy program. Their website features an extensive list of mental health resources, as well as a calendar of upcoming events, including fundraising and awareness-raising events such as film screenings and potlucks.
To pledge, donate, or learn more, visit https://trilliumfamily.org/
The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence has been a resource for survivors of sexual and domestic violence for decades. Women, children, and men all receive help and healing through psychological services and job counseling, as well as food, clothing, and shelter assistance. CARDV helps survivors gain access to outside resources while providing education and outreach opportunities aimed at disrupting societal conditions which foster or perpetuate sexual and domestic violence.
One way you can help is by providing cell phones which CARDV can reprogram to instantly call 911. They also welcome donations of new and unused adult and child toiletries and underwear (due to space considerations, please do not donate other clothing items), household items like paper towels and light bulbs, comfort items like puzzles and board games, and a number of miscellaneous items detailed on their website.
For more info, visit https://www.cardv.org/
Link Up Vets
Link Up Vets is a non-profit based in Albany, Oregon, dedicated to the future success and wellness of local veterans through recreational therapy and community outreach. The non-profit regularly schedule fishing trips for veterans, as well as annual hikes along the highest peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range. During their annual Barrel to Keg run, five veterans and two veteran advocates team up on a 79-mile relay run from Philomath to Newport.
Vets with PTSD and mobility issues are provided service dogs, while homeless veterans are given wool blankets, cold weather clothing, hygiene kits, and light sources. Link Up Vets continues to connect veterans with vital resources, care, and benefits from all over the country. They are dedicated to helping veterans pursue education, jobs, health care, and counseling services.
BlueSun Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to providing education, technology, accommodation, and advocacy assistance to veterans and individuals with disabilities. Job development services offered by BlueSun include vocational exploration, job search, job application assistance, resume writing assistance, interview training, meeting with employers to advocate for client placement, and job coaching.
BlueSun helps place disabled individuals in temporary jobs to provide income, experience, and references. While individuals with disabilities face numerous challenges while trying to enter the workforce, they bring significant advantages once hired, including a longer stay rate, less scheduled or unscheduled days off, and a decreased likelihood of work-related accidents.
For more information on services as an employer or potential employee please call (541) 207-3212 or stop by 865 NW Reiman Ave. in Corvallis or 222 First Ave. West Suite 240 in Albany. For more information, visit https://www.bluesuninc.com/
You may not have heard of Cornerstone Associates, but you’ve certainly felt their impact. Dedicated to helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities find employment and community involvement, Cornerstone formed in 2001 when two older non-profits -— Open Door Inc. and Bonney Enterprises — fused. Since then they have come to own six local businesses that serve as hubs for on-the-job skill building, including Taylor Street Ovens, Cornerstone Landscape Maintenance, Cornerstone Janitorial, B&J Bookbinding, Cornerstone Wood Products, and their Cornerstone Associates assembly, shredding, and mailing services. Having such incredible diversity in services and access allows them to better match people with satisfying fields of work, which in turn increases the chance that they’ll be able to one day enter the broader Corvallis workforce -— and many of them have.
More than just job creators, Cornerstone Associates provides all sorts of supports and activities, such as arts and exercise classes, community outings, and more. Not only do they do immense good in our community, healing fractures that many of us might not even know are there, but they do so based on a model that truly treats the individual with the respect they deserve. There’s nothing not to admire here.
For more information, check them out online at http://www.
Collaborative Employment Innovations
While you may recognize the CEI name from their highly successful Artworks studio and gallery program — a staple of the Corvallis arts community for the last handful of years — there’s certainly a lot more going on under the hood. CEI performs a vital community function in working with disabled adults in order to match them with jobs that can use their individual skill sets in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Their Facebook page describes what they do as “provid[ing] creative employment solutions for employers and job-seekers in the Corvallis area,” but that’s a serious understatement. While CEI operates on a for-profit model, unlike other entries in this issue it’s an incredibly giving one that has undeniably changed many local lives. Though your donations aren’t tax deductible, giving to CEI is still a great choice that supports proven innovation. Even if you haven’t the dollars to spare, its Artworks projects would gladly accept donations in the form of art supplies.
Arc of Benton County
The Arc of Benton County exists to serve and provide advocacy and resiliency to residents with developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc funds itself partly through thrift stores in Corvallis and Philomath, where a wide range of donations are welcome. They even accept used car donations for resale.
The Arc employs volunteer administrative and thrift store workers as well as program instructors to teach visual, literary, and performing while also providing social opportunities. Such opportunities include art classes and shows, bowling outings, and a drama club. Educational training tools via the online Arc Academy can also be found on their website.
For more info, visit http://www.arcbenton.org/
Vina Moses takes the role of a caring hand in times of need for many low-income families within the Benton County. Their centers provide multiple programs like the Christmas Program, FISH emergency services, and school program. The center also operates as a donation center for clothing and household goods. Vina Moses started a tradition of aiding the community in ways that anyone can help. Be it through time, financial donation, or material donations. Every day they hope to provide aid to families in need and elevate some of the stress that many families deal with on a daily basis.
For more information about volunteer opportunities or alternative ways to donate to Vina Moses, please visit http://www.vinamoses.org/.
Linn Benton Food Share
An important branch of the state-designated Community Services Consortium, with a passion for fighting poverty, the Linn Benton Food Share has been the main food bank in the region since 1981. The motto around here is “Everybody Eats,” and each (totally tax-deductible) dollar can provide up to 15 pounds of food. Hunger is very much a part of our community, with the high cost of housing being the dominant reason behind an increase in local food needs. Not only are they providing food, but the goal is to provide as much healthy, nutritious and fresh food as possible. If you or your company are in the food industry, then food donations can be arranged, but the most effective method for giving is to donate money either online, or by mail. They’re also looking for a refrigerated truck, if you happen to know someone.
To donate or learn more about this vital service, visit http://communityservices.us/
Extreme hunger is a feeling most of us deal with rarely; if you’re hungry, you eat. Right? For some that simple task can be incredibly difficult. Everyday can be a battle, but Stone Soup hopes to aid in the fight, looking to make sure no one has to wonder if they’ll eat that day or not. What began as a small group based out of St. Mary’s Catholic Church has evolved into a cooperative organization that serves more than “37,000 meals” each year between two sites. They host meals everyday of the week, alternating between lunch, dinner, and breakfast on certain days.
For more information about volunteer opportunities or alternative ways to donate to Stone Soup, please visit http://www.stonesoupcorvallis.
Community Outreach Inc.
Helping people help themselves – that’s the slogan for Community Outreach Inc., a local non-profit that houses homeless men, women, and families.
COI provides numerous services, including medical and dental clinics, behavioral health treatment, outpatient alcohol, and drug abuse treatment, outpatient mental health counseling, a community food bank, an emergency family shelter, childcare at Mari’s Place, transformational housing, the Sunflower Family Shelter, and a Transitions Youth Program. They are also able to make intra-agency referrals.
Clients who qualify for services via a telephone screening are encouraged to leave the facility for community engagement and job seeking throughout the day. Clients must check back into the shelter at 9 p.m. and stay from 10:45 p.m. – 7 a.m. Exceptions are made to those who can provide proof of conflicting work or treatment schedules.
To contact Community Outreach Inc. please call (541) 758-3000 or stop by at 865 NW Reiman Avenue. To learn more, visit http://www.
Room at the Inn
Located at the Community Center of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Corvallis, the Room at the Inn is a winter shelter servicing homeless women. During months of operation, staff members prioritize finding clients permanent or semi-permanent housing while providing a safe space where women can focus on future endeavors and security. In addition to daytime and overnight volunteers, the Room at the Inn is seeking food donations and assistance in transporting patrons’ laundry to and from the Laundromat.
To learn more, call (541) 753-6713 or visit https://goodsamchurch-
The mission for Housing First is simply to get a roof over the heads of those in need. Currently, they provide general support, case management, and living facilities for up to eighteen homeless individuals. Their process aims to aid individuals who need help in building the fundamentals of self-sufficiency. Many of the services offered help guide those in need towards valuable resources like medical and mental health services, which many homeless individuals lack access to. The effects of their actions have shown brightly within the community, and Housing First hopes to be able to expand their efforts within the local area.
For more information about volunteer opportunities or alternative ways to donate to Housing First, please visit http://corvallishousingfirst.
Jackson Street Youth Shelter
Jackson Street Youth Services assists children, young adults, and families struggling with housing instability, food insecurity, and domestic abuse in both Linn and Benton counties. One of Jackson Street’s main priorities is to foster feelings of self-worth and appreciation in their clients, while empowering youth to act independently and experience self-efficacy.
In addition to providing shelter services through the Corvallis House and Albany House, Jackson Street offers education and one-on-one mentorship programs. They are always looking for volunteer mentors, academic advisors, and donations to help fund mental health, education, and life skills programs for youth.
Donate or find out more at http://www.jsysi.org/. Checks can also be mailed to Jackson Street Youth Services at PO Box 1984 Albany, OR 97321, or PO Box 285 Corvallis, OR 97339.
Marys Peak Alliance
100 percent volunteer-led, a seven-member steering committee heads this group underneath their umbrella organization, AFRANA — Alliance for Recreation and Natural Areas. Together, with the help of additional trained volunteers, each Spring they run field trips for middle school earth science students on the summit of Marys Peak in order to instill an appreciation for the ecological communities, physical features, and cultural importance of the highest point in the Coast Range. The MPA also puts on talks at the Old World Deli about topics related to Mary’s Peak and is working with the current property owners of Marys Peak, the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to name headwater streams in indigenous languages.
You can help in these efforts by donating money or volunteering your time: https://www.afrana.org/
Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis
A grand organization with the mission to inspire their young members to excel in all facets of their lives, the Boys and Girls Club provides a positive and fun environment. After school clubs and sports programs being their specialty, the Corvallis center alone sees about 1,000 local kids everyday. Young people ranging from elementary to high school ages are able to sign up for whatever they are interested in, or use the clubhouse as a social sanctuary. There are lots of ways to donate, either through material means, like gift giving and financial donations, or by giving your time to coach a sport or run an activity.
To find out more about how you can help the youth, visit http://www.bgccorvallis.org
Chintimini Wildlife Center
Chintimini Wildlife Center is a primarily volunteer-based organization serving the mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon with a wildlife rehabilitation clinic, a raptor conservation program, and a youth education program. In 2018, the wildlife rehabilitation clinic cared for over 1,800 injured and orphaned wildlife patients. 120 educational presentations were given to the community, tripling what was offered just two years ago. Over the summer, children ages 5-12 had the opportunity to attend 8 weeks of day camp. To provide these amazing services, CWC receives no funds from federal, state, county, or city agencies, and relies wholly on donations and grants. As they’ve expanded their services, they have fortunately received a growing volunteer base as well, but currently, consider themselves at capacity in this realm. So, if you’d like to support CWC, donating money and/or specific items used for animal care, rather than your time, would be most appreciated.
To donate online or to see the list of desired items, check out: https://chintiminiwildlife.
Heartland Humane Society
The Heartland Humane Society is the oldest and most reputable animal shelter in the mid-Willamette Valley. Since 1966, it has pursued its mission statement of building a compassionate community through humane teachings and direct care service for homeless animals. Heartland also operates a thrift store in downtown Corvallis, where they regularly seek volunteers and donations of furniture, housing goods, books, toys, collectibles, clothing, and accessories.
If you want to help the animals in their care, consider donating high-quality wet or dry cat, kitten, dog, and puppy food; dog and cat toys; bedding; puppy house training pads; and small animal supplies. They also accept office supply donations, including batteries (AA, D, 9V), window cleaner, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and printer paper. Other volunteer opportunities include special needs, youth, and group volunteering, pet fostering, and court-ordered community service.
For more info, visit https://heartlandhumane.org/
K9 Care A Van
For individuals and families experiencing homelessness, pets can act as a saving and much-needed source of love and companionship. Luckily, Corvallis is home to K9 Care A Van, which offers temporary care and services to pets of the homeless, giving homeless individuals needed time to seek shelter and attend things like appointments and job interviews. Only recently taking root in the fall of last year, K9 Care A Van continues to seek donations to improve their pet services and options for homeless pet owners.
To learn more, visit them on Facebook or here: https://www.