117 Portland Area Women Make First $100,000 Grant

New giving circle harnesses collective action to make transformational gift to Gateway to College National Network’s PDX Bridge Project

Portland, Oregon – December 8, 2016 –The newly-formed ninety-nine girlfriends women’s giving circle is pleased to announce its initial $100,000 Impact Award to Gateway to College National Network’s PDX Bridge Project. In addition, four Finalist Awards of $4250 were presented to Family Forward Oregon, The Circus Project, Friends of Zenger Farm and Street Roots.

Just seven months ago, on April 20, 2016, the ninety-nine girlfriends collective giving circle was , launched in the Portland/SW Washington four-county region. Friends invited friends to join. Each woman contributed $1,100 -$1,000 went into the grant fund pool and $100 was applied to administrative and education expenses. By June 1st, 117 women had joined the Founder’s Circle. Ninety-nine girlfriends strives for impact by making large grants, while empowering its members to become more informed and engaged philanthropists. Deborah Edward, one of the lead members of ninety-nine girlfriends says, “As individuals, we’ve all been actively engaged in issues we care about. By acting collectively, we can make an extraordinary, transformational impact on an issue we feel to be critical to our community. ” Group members initially reviewed 120 bold ideas before selecting the Impact Award winner and the four finalists.

Ninety-nine girlfriends uses a grantmaking model styled after the Impact100 programs across the country, and the circle is a member of the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network, a group of 48 national independent giving circles. The all-volunteer organization receives fiscal sponsorship from GRANTMAKERS of Oregon and SW Washington affording 501(c)(3) status (to accept tax deductible contributions), as well as additional support and educational resources.

 The 2016 Impact Award recipient, PDX Bridge, a project of Gateway to College National Network, establishes and expands a comprehensive network that supports homeless youth, youth aging out of foster care and adjudicated youth in making the transition from their final year of high school to postsecondary school or work. In the first two years of PDX Bridge, 250 youth will be impacted through its work. Marnie Frank, a member of the ninety-nine girlfriends grant review team, enthusiastically endorsed the project saying, “For us, the choice was made easy because the PDX Bridge project and the GtCNN staff who created it are exceptional.”

 “Portland cannot meet its educational and workforce needs while leaving our most vulnerable youth behind,”said Emily Froimson, President of Gateway to College National Network.We are thrilled and honored to be the first recipient of the ninety-nine girlfriends Impact Award. It will ensure that we’re able to successfully implement what we know will be a transformational program.” PDX Bridge is a project of Gateway to College National Network. The flagship Gateway to College program was launched at Portland Community College, and has now been replicated at 39 colleges across the country.