Jeremy Ebobisse #2, Portlanta, 8.17.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Stand Together adds Social Equity to pillars of focus

What is the mission statement of Stand Together?

The Stand Together mission is to harness the power of sport to improve the lives of children and families through targeted programs, deep partnerships, and philanthropic giving.

What are the pillars of focus?

We have recently restructured our key areas of focus. While our core pillars have always been Education, Health/Wellness and Environmental Awareness, all through a diversity lens, we have elevated social justice from within Education to be a separate, stand-alone pillar called Social Equity. Social Equity is interconnected with all other aspects of Stand Together.  Under Social Equity, we are proud to continue to champion BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) causes and gender equality initiatives.

As a result, our four key pillars of Stand Together are:

  • Youth Education, with an emphasis on literacy and STEM programming
  • Youth Activity & Wellness, with an emphasis on soccer and inclusiveness, embracing all ability levels
  • Environmental Awareness, with an emphasis on local awareness and environmental stewardship
  • Social Equity, with an emphasis on being a champion for BIPOC, LGTBQ+, gender equality, and disability inclusion initiatives.

What is Educate, Elevate and Engage, and the genesis of the platform?

We worked with one of our athletes, Jeremy Ebobisse, this past offseason to develop initiatives for Black History Month, and Educate | Elevate | Engage arose from that collaboration. We wanted to create a platform to celebrate our Black community and tie it into one of our social justice initiatives, PDX x ATL, which Jeremy participated in last fall. Together we made a commitment to sustain the messaging and weave it into our work throughout the year. Black History is more than a month, and it’s imperative that we engage with our local communities of color consistently.

Give us a summary of the work Stand Together has done in the Portland community - and beyond - since its inception?  Our goal has always been to serve our community in an authentic and meaningful way.  Each year, we are fortunate to have athletes from 20+ different countries and to be able to share their experiences, language, and culture with local youth has always been a highlight.  We are proud of the legacy of Stand Together Week, which annually promotes civic engagement and volunteerism, as well as our field build initiative, Fields For All, with Operation Pitch Invasion to provide local youth with safe and sustainable options to play the sport they love.  Creating change and meeting the needs of our community is an ongoing process.  We try to remain flexible and agile, so we can adjust to those needs and restructure our programming as we evolve as a club.

Overall, we help facilitate connection -- to connect our athletes and community in meaningful and thoughtful ways.  To help make a difference and inspire change.  To create an environment that highlights diversity and shines a light on incredible local organizations doing challenging work each and every day.  To connect supporters and athletes to organizations that they are passionate about.  To engage and empower youth to reach their full potential.

What does the addition of the Social Equity pillar bring?

Social Equity is at the intersection of health, education, and sustainability, so it provides us with a renewed focus.  We want to provide equitable access to our programs and philanthropy, so we can best serve our community.  We are committed to making changes, growing our community, and investing both time and resources into organizations that are helping shape and support local youth -- the next generation of leaders.

Which BIPOC focused organizations are we currently working to support?

We typically support 200+ organizations each year through partnerships and in-kind donations.

This year,  we will be donating a portion of annual membership revenue to the following organizations working towards equity and social justice as part of our 2021 renewal campaign: Portland African American Leadership Forum, Self Enhancement Inc., Black United Fund of Oregon and Open School. 

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