Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Save the Date! PCRI Announces 7th Annual Gala

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January 26, 2018 · by admin · 2018 Gala, Featured

Save the Date! PCRI’s 7th Annual Benefit Gala will be held Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Hilton Portland. The 2018 gala will bring the fun and excitement from previous galas, upgraded with a fresh new theme. Tickets to the event will be available soon, and volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are also available.

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Sign up for PCRI’s mailing list to be the first to learn about the 2018 gala’s new theme, noteworthy participants, exciting auction packages and more. We expect the event to once again sell out.

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Kali Thorne-Ladd | 2017 Gala Champion

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March 26, 2017 · by admin · 2017 Gala, Featured, Stars

BritForbesPhotography_03_25_17__DSC2015Kali Thorne-Ladd and partner Alex Aillon’s Viennese Waltz earned them the championship trophy for the 2017 Dancing With the Stars Gala.

Kali is the Executive Director and co-founder of KairosPDX, a non-profit organization focused on access to quality early learning opportunities for historically underserved children. She is also the Chair of Portland Community College’s Board of Directors, having served on the board for the last 5 years.  She previously worked for the City of Portland Mayor’s Office as the education strategies director overseeing policy and direction for the mayor’s key education initiatives.

In addition to her work in the Portland area, Kali spent over two years in South Africa teaching middle school and developing educational curriculum for rural African Children. She currently resides in North Portland with her husband and two children.

2017 Gala | Dancers

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February 15, 2017 · by admin · 2017 Gala, Featured, Stars

2017 DWTS Dancers

PCRI’s sixth annual Dancing with the Stars Gala featured four prominent Portland community members (clockwise from top left): Carlos Banks, Tricia Tillman, Kali Thorne-Ladd and Paul van der Salm, each trained by and dancing with professionals from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Read below for more information about the competing dancers:

Carlos Banks

Carlos Banks joined Portland Parks and Recreation in May 2016 as the Teen Coordinator for the East Portland Community Center. Previously, he worked for Self Enhancement Inc. as a workforce coordinator helping to improve economic development and before that, as a high school coordinator. In 2005, Carlos moved to South America to learn Spanish and Portuguese, and to gain a greater perspective on life. While there, he completed a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language course and studied various courses at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Carlos is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Portuguese and hopes to become fluent in yet another language soon!

Carlos grew up in Portland and graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School as well as attending Portland Community College as a part of the Portland Teachers’ Program. During this time, he began working with youth at Jefferson High School and Grant High School – and continues to do so today.

Carlos loves all sports, cycling, traveling and, now, dancing! Carlos and his wife Alejandra have a beautiful 4-year old daughter named Nandi. Carlos also has a 20-year old son, Antonee, who is studying at Western Oregon University.

Tricia Tillman

Tricia Tillman is the Director for Public Health for the Multnomah County Health Department where she strives to improve the health and well-being of communities of color and the health of the overall community. Previously, she served as a program manager for the department, initiating and managing the county’s Health Equity Initiative and the African American Sexual Health Equity Program, as well as serving as a co-chair for the department’s Diversity and Quality Team. Tricia also previously served as Director of the Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion, and has worked in various capacities in maternal, child and community health, coordinating efforts to improve the health of disadvantaged populations in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Oregon.

Tricia earned a prestigious Women of Achievement Award from the Oregon Women’s Commission, a Martin Luther King Fellowship from Boston University, and a public health fellowship through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.  She is a mother of three teens, board member and co-founder of the African American Outdoor Association, and she occasionally finds time to run, ski, kayak and dance salsa.

Kali Thorne-Ladd

Kali Thorne-Ladd is the Executive Director and co-founder of KairosPDX, a non-profit organization focused on access to quality early learning opportunities for historically underserved children. She is also the Chair of Portland Community College’s Board of Directors, having served on the board for the last 5 years.  She previously worked for the City of Portland Mayor’s Office as the education strategies director overseeing policy and direction for the mayor’s key education initiatives.

In addition to her work in the Portland area, Kali spent over two years in South Africa teaching middle school and developing educational curriculum for rural African Children. She currently resides in North Portland with her husband and two children.

Paul van der Salm

Paul van der Salm is a new star in Portland Banking. He works for Pacific Continental Bank as a Relationship Banking Assistant, providing personalized support for businesses, with a specialty in cash management. Prior to that, he was a Treasury Analyst at Capital Pacific Bank, and he studied business at Clark College.

Son of Dutch immigrants, Paul was given drive for equity at an early age. To serve that purpose, he volunteers as a CASA, providing children in the foster system a voice, as they work together to return the children to a safe, secure home, quickly. He also volunteers his time and energy with Camp Fire Columbia, most recently at digging holes for the rustic new split log benches they have along their camp roads.

In regards to the dancing, Paul admits that while he has done some swing dancing before, he is looking forward to learning new steps as he trains for the Gala. He claims to be “as nervous as a long tailed cat in a rocking chair store.”

When he is not at work or volunteering, Paul can be found playing soccer on one of three teams, cheering on the Timbers, or spending time with his family, as he is the proud uncle to 7 nieces and nephews.

Cupid Alexander | 2016 Gala Champion

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June 7, 2016 · by admin · 2016 Gala, Featured, Video

PCRI’s 2016 Dancing with the Stars Portland gala was a dazzling success, thanks to generous sponsors and guests … and to the stars who performed with Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s professional dancers. Check out champions Cupid Alexander and Jessi Aillon performing a West Coast swing.

May 25, 2016 · by admin · 2016 Gala, Featured

PCRI’s Fifth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet, raising a record $104,500! The dancers delivered an amazing show and the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised 25% more than ever before to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Following a packed reception, Nkenge Harmon-Johnson and Erious Johnson brought the event to life with an epic performance choreographed to “Staying Alive”. Emcee Chabre Vickers brought her personal connections to the work PCRI does.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, was also one for the record books! Trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, each dancing couple put on a spectacular show.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

In the end, only one dance couple could be named champion and while Adrienne Nelson, Frank Taylor and reigning champion Pamela Weatherspoon had a tough decision, they named Cupid Alexander and Jessi Aillon this year’s winners.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

But the evening isn’t just about a dance competition. Chabre Vickers and PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick celebrated the successes achieved by PCRI residents while underscoring the work that is still needed: to ensure all families have access to the benefits of stable, affordable housing in Portland’s opportunity-rich close-in neighborhoods. Led by auctioneer Kelly Russell, the gala’s live auction and special appeal were the most successful yet.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Most notably, former resident and first-time homeowner Altia Wilkins described how the stability of PCRI’s affordable rental housing, support of PCRI’s resident services and her strong dedication enabled her to purchase the home where her grandkids have room to play. In addition, the equity she builds in her home will provide stability for her grandkids and future generations.


We extend a giant thank you to all our sponsors, contributors and guests as well as the fantastic volunteers who made the evening such an amazing success. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala, scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2017.

May 25, 2016 · by admin · 2016 Gala, Featured

Thanks to the generous outpouring of support from gala guests, sponsors, donors, and auction winners, the 5th Annual PCRI Gala raised nearly $105,000!  Special thanks goes to Ball Janik, whose sponsorship funds matched contributions from the first 30 donors during the paddle raise’s $100 level.

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All of the funds raised by the gala go directly to enrich the affordable housing and resident service programs PCRI provides to help lower-income families achieve stability and self sufficiency.  After you check out the photos from Cameron Brown Photography from the evening’s program, be sure to show your love and support the donors of the evening’s live auction.

Donors for the 2015 PCRI gala include: Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Portland, ¿Por Qué No Taqueria?, Portland Hilton & Executive TowersTriMet, and others.

Click on any of the thumbnail images below to view the full-size photo. All photos copyright 2016 by Cameron Browne.

May 25, 2016 · by admin · 2016 Gala, Featured

Just as PCRI residents are working hard to achieve stability and self sufficiency, a dedicated team of professionals and volunteers invested remarkable time and energy to make the gala a success.  Special thanks to Event Cosmetics and Da:Da Hair Salon for their masterful work backstage.  PCRI’s 5th Annual Gala Benefit raised a record $104,500 to enrich the affordable housing and resident service programs that empower residents’ success. Check out these photos by Cameron Browne Photography from behind the scenes at the 2016 gala.

Click on any of the thumbnail images below to view the full-size photo. All photos copyright 2016 by Cameron Browne.

Dancers | 2016

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March 21, 2016 · by admin · 2016 Gala, Featured, Stars

2016 Gala DancersPCRI’s fifth annual Dancing with the Stars Gala will feature four prominent Portland community members (clockwise from top left): Cupid Alexander, Lori Medak, Mayra Arreola and Carla Bunting, each trained by and dancing with professionals from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Read on for more information about the competing dancers:

Cupid Alexander – Housing Program Specialist, Portland Housing Bureau

Cupid Alexander has a deep history in the Portland area’s housing organizations. He is currently a Housing Program Specialist for Portland Housing Bureau and the Vice President of Community Development for National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Cascade Chapter as well as serving as Secretary of the Pacific Northwest Regional Chapter. He serves as the Vice President of the Urban League’s Young Professionals, and is currently a board member of both the Trail Blazers make it better foundation Board of Professionals and the ReBuilding Center.  Prior to working for the Portland Housing Bureau, Cupid worked for the Washington County Department of Housing Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A former model, Cupid has been featured in national ad campaigns for Nike, Reebok, Columbia Sportswear, Nordstrom, Timberland and the publication “Cosmopolitan”. We couldn’t help but share one of his Nike ads, wondering if he’ll have next year’s bragging rights …

Cupid is a strong believer in community and economic empowerment. While we think he’ll be a natural, he nervously admits he may need the most help learning the dance, but says “I’m all in for the community, and PCRI is one of the agencies that houses many and does good work.”

Cupid is a proud graduate of Wilson High School and attended Western Oregon University, Fisk University, and Warner Pacific College were he was a collegiate basketball player and earned a Business degree. He additionally attended Portland State University where he earned both a graduate degree in Real Estate Development, and a Masters in Public Administration.

Lori Medak – Vice President, Manager, Commercial Group, Fidelity National Title, Portland

Lori Medak is the Vice President and Manager of the Commercial Group for Fidelity National Title, Portland. Passionate about closing commercial real estate transactions including many affordable housing developments, Lori has closed all product types with a wide range of complexity in more than 19 years in the title and escrow services profession. With a tremendous amount of experience in multisite, multistate portfolios, tax credit and bond financing structured transactions, she uses this experience in teaching classes for commercial clients to ensure smooth and successful closings.

In addition to her designation as a Certified Escrow Officer through the Oregon Escrow Council, she is proactive in working to provide value to clients with Fidelity’s business development and client service organizations. She believes in the strength of her branch and its team.

She enjoys all athletic activities, watching college football and basketball, wine tasting, walking, and spending time with family including her son. A native Portland resident, she studied finance at Linfield College in McMinnville.

Mayra Arreola – Director of Community Collaborations & Investment, United Way of the Columbia Willamette

Mayra Arreola is the Director of Community Collaborations & Investment for the United Way of the Columbia Willamette. She leads UWCW’s efforts to make community impact a reality by managing investments, building critical relationships, understanding needs and opportunities, fostering collaborations across sectors and giving United Way a visible presence across our four county region.

Previous to her role at UWCW, Mayra worked in rural communities across the state of Oregon focusing in community building through leadership development and small business enterprise primarily with the rural Latino population.

Mayra holds a Master in Public Administration by Portland State University and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, a council member of the Oregon Housing Stability Council with the Oregon Housing & Community Services State Agency, a member of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME) Advisory Board, member of the Strategy Team for Social Venture Partners Portland and a member of the Latina Associates for Collaborative Endeavors (LACE) with the Non Profit Association of Oregon.

Carla Bunting – Teacher, Mill Park Elementary School

Carla Bunting is an elementary school teacher at Mill Park Elementary in the David Douglas School District. She specializes in working with students for whom English is a second language. She was the winning bidder in the live auction during the 2015 gala, earning her a spot in the competition for the 2016 Dancing with the Stars Portland championship. At left, Carla and husband Phil Bunting grace the 2015 event’s red carpet.

Carla and her three sisters were all cheerleaders in high school. While she hasn’t danced since then, her favorite TV shows are So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. Originally from Long Beach California, Carla attended California State University Long Beach and moved to Portland with her husband and two children in 2008. She enjoys snowboarding, theater, traveling and the great outdoors.

We’re thankful for Carla’s help making past gala’s a roaring success and we’re looking forward to seeing her moves on the dance floor at this year’s gala!

Fred Astaire of Portland | Sponsor

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January 2, 2016 · by Events Team · 2012 Gala, 2013 Gala, 2014 Gala, 2015 Gala, Featured, Our Sponsors

PCRI is delighted to partner for a fifth year with Fred Astaire Dance Studio as our dance partner for the Dancing with the Stars Portland gala!  Our dancing stars will train at the Fred Astaire Studio and Fred Astaire Portland’s professional dancers will be the dance partners for our stars at the gala.

Mr. Fred Astaire, an American icon, wanted to establish a chain of studios under his name to make sure that his techniques would be preserved and passed onto the public. Mr. Astaire was instrumental in the choice of dance curriculum and instructional techniques. With the opening of the first Fred Astaire Studio on Park Avenue in New York City, Fred Astaire brought his immense talent out of the glamor of Hollywood and onto the dance floors of America and the world.

If you’re thinking about learning to dance, brushing up your technique, or preparing for a wedding or special event, please come into the Fred Astaire Portland Studio. Fred Astaire of Portland offers dance instruction, exciting parties, and the opportunity to meet new people in a fun-filled setting.

You can purchase tickets here for the gala on May 14 and join the conversation on Twitter using #PCRIgala.

2015 Gala Celebrates Residents’ Success

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March 24, 2015 · by admin · 2015 Gala, Featured

The greatest celebration of PCRI’s Annual Gala lasts long after guests have changed out of their ball gowns and bow ties: the successes achieved by PCRI residents.  Like the success achieved by Jean Paul and his family who have established roots in their new home and are building their education and careers in Portland.

With these benefit of stable, affordable housing, and the support of PCRI’s resident programs and staff, PCRI residents like Jean Paul and his family achieve extraordinary goals: breaking the cycle of poverty, improving their lives and the lives of their entire family.

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