2023 Maps Community Award Winners
Give-back Story: “Oni inspires me because of how much she gives to and loves everyone around her. She runs the nonprofit Equity Splash—providing meals and supplies to the unsheltered, Saturday school for BIPOC youth, and many other events and services. Oni teaches, encourages, and inspires everyone she comes in contact with including me, and she has truly been a blessing in my life.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Equity Splash
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Equity Splash is committed to working towards achieving equitable outcomes for the Black & BIPOC community, with an emphasis on youth, through educational, community, and volunteer experiences. Equity Splash strives to create, increase, and sustain equity practices for future generations.
Give-back Story: “Rosetta has the energy, love, and skill set to truly make a difference in the North Marion County community. In 2022, when leadership changed, Rosetta stepped in as a volunteer to run Love, Inc. Under her leadership, Love Inc. has expanded the Utility Assistance Program to serve two additional cities and opened an infant and household goods closet. I have never seen a person in a volunteer position do so much good for a such a wide service area in such a relatively short period of time.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Love, INC. of North Marion County
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? They help members of our community in need. I have seen God’s miracles happen there day after day and where they have turned the impossible into the possible.
Give-back Story: "Abby served in the United States Navy for over 10 years and now runs her own law firm. In her practice, she consistently provides free services, especially to veterans and survivors of domestic violence in Polk County. Abby is also a board member for the Monmouth-Independence Community Foundation, Oregon Ag Fest, and the Central Panther Club, volunteers as a CASA, and more. She works tirelessly to give back to the community where she grew up and never expects anything in return. She proves that anyone can make a difference in their community—you do not need a particular job or position.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: CASA of Polk County
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I have chosen CASA of Polk County because the work they do directly impacts the lives of children in my community who are at their most vulnerable. Supporting CASA means supporting those who advocate on behalf of the best interest of a child.
Kathleen (Kat) Lee
Give-back Story: “Kat serves as the Day Center Coordinator at HOAP. When guests come in, she welcomes each person with grace, compassion, and empathy to make them feel human. While I was homeless, I was in active addiction and would utilize HOAP frequently. Through all this Kat never judged or treated me differently. I am not homeless anymore and now do case management for the unsheltered population and I credit that to God and Kat. I believe she should be recognized for how many lives she has touched and changed.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Northwest Human Services, Homeless Outreach & Advocacy Project (HOAP)
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Every day I turn people away without meeting their needs because the supply is far less than what is needed. I could help twenty to thirty people a day with clean jeans, if I had them. This gift will go a long way towards giving people who struggle, living in dire conditions, a little taste of the things we take for granted. Clean clothes and a shower can make a huge difference in a life.
Give-back Story: “As the head of Ella Curran Food Bank, Patty gives countless hours to make sure local families and individuals have the food and resources they need to live and thrive. Patty is a quiet, humble leader whose steadfastness and belief in the mission of the food bank and community is accomplishing amazing things. Patty never wants the spotlight to be on her—she’d rather be working behind the scenes, cheering others on from a distance and celebrating their accomplishments. Patty deserves recognition for her selflessness and optimism and to know that all of her important contributions have led to lasting impact.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Ella Curran Food Bank
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? For 45 years, Ella Curran Food Bank has provided food to our neighbors in need. The all-volunteer and all-donated food organization currently sees 240 families or 950 people each week. Each family is able to make their own food choices in an easily accessible, welcoming setting.
Give-back Story: “Wagner is a dedicated member of the community support team which helps first responders on scene. She has organized Easter egg hunts for disadvantaged youth, arranged Christmas and Halloween events, implemented a bike rodeo, and eradicated graffiti in Gervais. Wagner leads the community watch and is always the first to offer help to anyone in need.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Gervais Community Progress Team
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? For the past 30 years, the Gervais Community Progress Team has both brought the community together and assisted people in whatever way they can. Activities include a community Easter egg hunt, small business grants, family movie nights and so much more. It is a small organization, but our hearts are mighty. This grant will fund backpacks for our school supply drive.
Give-back Story: “Antonio attends a citizenship preparation class and volunteers to translate for adult students who can’t understand the instructor in English. He won the 50-50 raffle at a recent MVLC Spotlight on Literacy Event and donated over $550 back to the center to scholarship other students. Antonio’s willingness to help others is an inspiration to me personally and to others in the community. He always goes above and beyond the required and motivates others to do their best.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Mid-Valley Literacy Center
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I have learned about being a citizen there. They help so many people to learn so many things that are important to citizenship. They volunteer this service and are so nice.
Give-back Story: “As Director of the Restorative Justice Initiative, Melissa has spent many years advocating for better experiences and outcomes for those that are/have been incarcerated. She is a person who truly listens and helps strengthen those who often are not heard or do not have the power to be heard on their own. Melissa inspires me because she started as a voice for those that had their voices taken away and then stayed long enough to see some regain their voice and supported them as they find their own strength and redirection toward success.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: The Transformative Justice Community
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I would like the donation to go to The Transformative Justice Community because this is an organization that recognizes the expertise of those who were formerly incarcerated for creating safer, healthier communities. In an age of mass incarceration, we need to understand that healing is a better form of justice than punishment.
Give-back Story: “Since her time as Executive Director of Grace House, Mariah has implemented a bilingual case management program to reach Spanish speaking homeless women and raised enough money to break ground to expand and double the number of women served annually—helping house over 50 women in Salem. Mariah shows compassion, grace, and intentionality in everything she does. She is so passionate about empowering women from all walks of life to achieve goals they never thought they could achieve.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Grace House
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I work at Grace House because we are uniquely successful (92%) at ending the cycle of homelessness by helping women to become self-sufficient. I love that our approach is individualized, builds self-efficacy, and often results in our residents giving back to the community after getting on their feet. That's what exponential success looks like.
Give-back Story: “Kim serves as the Santiam Service Integration Coordinator, facilitating 4 teams; Scio, Santiam Canyon, North Santiam, and Cascade. She has increased community outreach and tripled the number of requests. She is constantly volunteering for events and serves on the Parent Teacher Committee of North Santiam School District, the homeless task force for the City of Stayton and with the Santiam Canyon Long Term Recovery group. Kim inspires me through her dedication and service to the Santiam Region. I am inspired by her kindness and her willingness to give of her time to better the lives of our community.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Santiam Service Integration Neighbor to Neighbor Fund
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund is a fund that each of the four teams has. These funds are direct community donations. The funds are leveraged with team funds when funding requests come in. They can be used to assist with a variety of vetted needs including clothing, food, gas, rental and utility assistance, auto repairs, and animal care.
James Byrkit – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “Dr. James Brykit spends countless hours serving our community by volunteering as the Medical Director at the Salem Free Clinic. Jim is always giving. He doesn’t just give to the local community but has traveled to other countries to provide free medical care. Dr. Byrkit is humble, hardworking, and looking always to serve others. He is a great example to our community!”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Salem Free Clinic
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Salem Free Clinic is an organization that really cares about people. I want to support Salem Free Clinic because they show love and compassion to all our patients and staff. This is an example of Christ and is what I strive to become like.
Raul Marquez Guerrero – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “Raul went to McKay and from his time there he has impacted communities since a very young age, volunteering for organizations like Causa and PCUN. In 2018, he secured funds to form Taylor’s House, a home in Salem for unsheltered youth. In his years at Willamette University, he continued to make an impact through Alianza an on-campus organization which centers on Latinx culture and providing scholarships. Raul is currently a real estate agent—educating and providing services to underrepresented communities. Time and time again he puts his best effort toward impacting our Salem-Keizer communities in positive ways!”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Pineros Y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? PCUN has been fundamental in the advocacy of farmworkers rights for over three decades and continues to expand their impact by serving farm workers and their families in various capacities. Over the years it has been a pleasure to witness, as a beneficiary of their work and as a volunteer, the number of ways PCUN helps create a better tomorrow for so many lives.
Carlee Wright – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “Carlee is a self-described “community instigator.” A former journalist, she’s the publisher of Press Play Salem, which has come to be a reliable source of good information on accessible arts and culture events. When Carlee isn’t publishing Press Play, she’s out in the community organizing TEDx Salem, the Moxie Initiative, Make Music Salem, co-founded Cherry City Roller Derby, serves on boards and is a PR consultant. Carlee is one of Salem’s biggest boosters. She is a tireless ambassador for arts, culture, and creativity across Salem.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Oregon Artists Series Foundation
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Public art enhances our community, creates a more vibrant environment, and engages visitors and residents alike. And one of the most impactful groups in Salem helping to secure, develop and promote art in public spaces is the Oregon Artists Series Foundation.
Emily Jaskoski – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “Emily works as a SANE nurse, helping her patients work through traumatic experiences they have encountered in their life. Emily loves her work because she gets to be the first to show them there are kind and loving people out there and gets to listen, love, and help them tell their story for the first time to someone who only wants what is best for them. She also leads a girl scout troop and is always coming up with new ideas to get the girls in the troop involved with the community. Emily is joyful, she is humble, and she’s fun to be around.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Center for Hope and Safety (Safe Paws Program)
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? My reason for choosing this nonprofit is because my heart is with those suffering abuse and always in the heart of my children is animals. The Safe Paws program allows those suffering abuse who need shelter to bring their animal along with them. Many who experience domestic violence do not leave simply because they have no place for their animal to go.
Greg Locke – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “As a local engineer and business owner, Greg has donated countless hours to non-profits by creating plans and working with organizations such as Dallas High School, Camp Tapawingo, Salt Creek Baptist Church and others. Growing up I have seen the hours my Dad spent at home in the evenings or on the weekends getting these projects done for groups who do not pay him a cent. For decades he has balanced the demands of owning a business and the hard work it takes to sustain such an endeavor alongside the responsibilities of his family. Greg is a no-brainer for me when I consider Maps community members who make a difference.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Liberty House
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I’ve recently become more involved in supporting the Liberty House. The range of services it provides for children in abusive situations is so important to help this most vulnerable group in our communities.
Elinor Maroney – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “As a 91-year-old ceramics artist, Elinor offers her expertise to others and her skills to local organizations, particularly the Monmouth Senior and Community Center. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Senior Center, preparing the newsletter and assisting with the Monmouth-Independence Age-Friendly Community forum. Elinor is an inspiration not only to us, but to many others in the community. In Elinor, we have a generative and caring older adult who is making a difference and showing all of us how to age with grace, curiosity, sensitivity, and engagement.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center, a non-profit which supports the Monmouth Senior Community Center.
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The Senior Center has been valuable to me in getting to know my new neighborhood after moving to the area shortly before the beginning of the pandemic. I have made connections and enjoyed the activities at the Center. It did not take long for me to begin volunteering.
Shawn Gutierrez – Maps Member
Give-back Story: “After spending 20 years in the Army, Shawn saw and felt the lack of mental health services and support for veterans and wanted to give back. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at local universities in record time and is now a clinical mental health counselor. He works with VETcare, a support facility for veterans experiencing homelessness in Salem. His commitment to improving a system that is hard to navigate and has failed many veterans is awe-inspiring.”
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: VETcare
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I chose this organization for many reasons. VETCare is a facility that helps homeless veterans get back on their feet by providing substance free, wrap around services all in one location. The other reason is that I am a retired Army veteran who wanted to give back to the veteran community. I found my calling providing Mental Health Counseling to veterans. As veterans, we face a myriad of challenges that are overlooked by the VA and DoD and my goal is to show them that they possess the tools and ability to work through their challenges.