We believe that Salem/Keizer will be the
healthiest community in Oregon - truly the

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Faith-in-Action News


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Churches, SLF provide 'Room in the Inn'

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SLF Partner Goes to the Dogs

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SLF Staff and Partners Honored By City

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Salem Free Clinics - John McConville

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IKE Box, SLF partner with CAREcorps

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Dream Center Building Garden at Nuestra Casa

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Evergreen Church 'CaN Center' is HUB of Transformation

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Church blesses neighbors with 'La Casita'

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Mid-Valley Literacy Center and Churches: 'Read On!'

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Habitat for Humanity has Faith in Our Community

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SLF Speaks Out with other Non-Profit Leaders

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Pastor and 'Lightning Rod' Serves South Salem

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Churches Host Homeless Families Inside Churches

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SLF Co-Sponsors Community Connect

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Former SLF'er Serves Veterans at Home
SLF News Archive

The HUB - Tracey - Evergreen

Amanda and Lindsey's Story

SOMA / Dinner on the Green

Holy Cross / La Casita

Capital Park / SENCC

IKE Box

Calvary Chapel

Our Father's Porch

Church In The Park







SLF RainFest Golf Challenge

 

The fifth-annual RainFest Golf Challenge will benefit Salem Leadership Foundation (SLF) and our mission to help Salem-Keizer become the healthiest community in Oregon; truly the City of Shalom.

This may sound crazy, and you may think we’re nuts, but WE NEED YOU to play 18 holes of golf  with us on Leap Monday, February 29, and raise some serious bucks for SLF during the time of year we need it most.  It may rain, the wind may howl, the mud may muck … bring it on – FORE!

With hardy participation from 40 volunteers, our goal is to raise $100,000 in the next several weeks to support SLF and our work with churches and partners that helps kids, families, schools and neighborhoods.  We need 40 passionate champions willing to help support SLF and our ‘City-as-Neighborhood’ strategy.  More than 10,000 kids, families and adults were impacted last year.

We are inviting you to participate in RainFest.  We promise this will not take a lot of your time.  We need volunteers who will commit to follow the steps of this proven program, which will raise significant dollars for SLF and its neighborhood partners.  You can even win some great prizes like dinners-for -two, free golf, weekend getaways, and cool golf stuff.

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"The Word Became Flesh and Moved Into the Neighborhood."

SLF is an odd duck.  We’re a strong organization, but we don’t own anything.  We don’t have our own programs (we collaborate with churches and myriad partners).  We don’t own a building.  Our strategic plan directs us to promote the success of other non-profits and ministries.  Odd … but cool! SLF’s official mission is to engage people-of-faith and people-of-goodwill to transform Salem-Keizer for good – neighborhood by neighborhood.  But our ‘mission-behind-the-mission’ is to encourage the Body of Christ to rediscover that ‘sacred art of servanthood’ which is outlined in both the Old and New Testaments … and ultimately expressed in the very words, ministry and life of Jesus.  

What a blessing when churches develop person-to-person ministries.  Family-to-family services. 
It all started with Capital Park Church and their neighborhood (‘CaN’) center.  Then Salem Alliance partnered with Grant School in a big way.  Then a dozen churches began hosting homeless families by forming the Interfaith Hospitality Network.  First Methodist served as home base for Congregations Helping People.  More churches became CaN Centers (more than 50 now).  Our Savior’s Lutheran created Foster Parents Night Out.  West Salem Foursquare launched both the Dream Center and the Salem Free Medical Clinic, which is now the cornerstone of Salem Alliance’s ministries at Broadway Commons.  First Baptist opened its building for Upward Basketball and Homeless Connect.  First Nazarene birthed Hope Station (food and clothing co-op for the working poor).  Holy Cross Lutheran turned a little house into La Casita, which has been replicated at two other sites.  Four churches have teamed up to help seven schools through the GRASSP soccer program.  Churches are hosting block parties and joining neighborhood associations.  They’re opening indoor parks and community gardens.  They’re partnering with schools … Do you see the pattern?  Instead of ‘outsourcing’ services to other agencies, local churches are learning how to serve at home.  Instead of sending ‘needy people’ away, congregations are learning how to ‘love their neighbor’ personally.

 

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This Is Why We Help Churches Do Their Thing

You’ve heard us rave about “The HUB,” the amazing bicycle-repair ministry that we featured at last June’s Fancy Dessert.  It’s a wonderful example of what can happen when a church learns about the needs of our community, and then follows God’s call to action.  But I shudder when I consider that The HUB might not have developed …

Evergreen Presbyterian is a CaN Center.  A Church serving as a Neighborhood Center.  There are more than 50 of them now, and SLF has had the privilege of co-funding 21 of them for a three-year period.  They do the work; we help with money, cheerleading, networking and technical support.  From day one, 12 years ago, SLF determined we would always follow the church and their passion for serving the neighborhood.  Yes, we would offer ideas, templates and best practices.  But we would never force a church to do a program that we (or our funders) might prefer.

In recent years, grant funders (foundations, trusts and agencies) have tightened their requirements around outcomes.  They need to know their dollars are going to specific projects with specific outcomes.  At SLF, we’ve been successful with a broad spectrum of funders for the CaN Centers Program and the Community Progress Teams (CPTs).  But sometimes the ‘specific outcomes’ require that all (or many) of the CaN Centers run identical programs.  For example, youth literacy.  There are big dollars out there for helping kindergartners be “school ready” and third-graders to “read at grade level.” These are great outcomes!   But not all CaN Centers have chosen youth literacy as their focus.  And while some have, they don’t run identical curricula or program formats.

 

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Herm's Hike and DJ's Dash Make the Headlines

FALL INTO FITNESS

Raising three busy boys, I’ve become accustomed to the “change ups,” you know when things come at you, forcing a change in plans.  So it wasn’t surprising when earlier this month I found myself running in the inauguration of “Bridging the Gap Salem Leadership Foundation 10K,” rather than resting at the beach.

The event was yet another example of how local nonprofits and partners are working together to better neighborhood health. The event was orchestrated by Salem Leadership Foundation Lightening Rod DJ Vincent who created a route that connected four schools, three churches, two parks and one neighborhood ministry.  Runners earned time off their finish time if they posed for selfies at each connection, which is a huge benefit the older you get, especially if you are racing sixth-grade cross-country runners.

The race brought together 45 sponsors and 55 volunteers to raise $29,000 for the foundation and support their work that includes programs like School Serve.

It followed in the footsteps of SLF Lightening Rod Herm’s Hike last fall where Herm recruited pledges from West Salem community partner and neighbors as he hiked much of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The beauty behind these neighborhood-centric movements is they build collaboration and relationships between churches, schools, business partners and city neighborhood associations, which result in a plethora of connections that support improved health and academic outcomes in the neighborhood.

Kids connect with reading buddies, middle schools recruit mentors and high schools recruit volunteers for their Aspire programs, which help prepare students for the college application process. By building community events that center around activity and healthy eating, it’s a win for everyone.

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A Fond Salute to Julie Hittner Young

Fifteen years ago, in the Fall of 2000, I started writing grants designed to “expand SLF’s capacity.”  Our strategy was simple:  obtain formal office space (SLF was in my basement) and hire our second employee, an office manager.  SLF and I were in desperate need of both space and organizational talent, and we wrote a gaggle of grants that fall with hopes of getting our four-year-old ministry to the next level.

 

By spring 2001, our prayers were answered.  And then some.  Our good friends, the Lottis family (Loren and Marg; John and Tina), had introduced us to their friend Julie Young.  Tina and Julie were North High classmates and BFFs (still are!).  Julie had strong work experience in the business sector and in state government—a good combination for SLF’s sphere of work.  Moreover, Julie had worked for the insurance agent who took over my Dad’s book of business when he retired.  Small world. Meant to be.  God is good!

 

Our office was in the Christian Resource Center in North Salem, where we prospered from sharing space with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Love Inc., Christian Community Placement Center, Dynamic Life, Marion County Parole and Probation, Habitat for Humanity, and other wonderful partners.  Julie was just what SLF needed: an organized, friendly and gracious professional to complement (offset?) my skill set. Our capacity to move SLF to the next level was greatly magnified.

 

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Brothers in More Ways than One

“Not for college days alone.”

This is the motto of my fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, better known as the Fiji House.  I have fond memories and lifelong friends from my college experience at Oregon State University.  I was there from 1977 to 1982, which were ‘the glory years’ for our basketball team and ‘the gory years’ for our football team.   We won exactly 7 games during my undergraduate days, which makes it so sweet when the Beavers reach (or exceed) that victory total in a single season, which they have done 11 times since 1999.  Even though our team wasn’t winning, the Fijis were always out in force on the   50-yard line to cheer the team on.  Our favorite cheer was “Kick it now!” which is a funny story
for another time.

Among the many Fiji brothers who blessed and impacted me, I want to salute Scott Ashdown and Dave Thompson.  As faithful Christians, they were part of a group dubbed ‘The God Squad’ by the brothers in the house.  There was no malice in that name, but Dave, Scott and the group endured more than a little ribbing for refraining from the party atmosphere that prevailed on the weekends.  As a fellow believer I admired them.  But as a newly-independent college student, I was stretching my boundaries.  When I arrived on campus, I checked out the Episcopal parish to see if it was like my home church, St. Paul’s.  Didn’t click.  Based on my great experience with Young Life at South High, I looked for a similar ministry on campus.  AC Green, the legendary OSU basketball player, was involved in Maranatha Ministries, but they proved to be too charismatic for me.  So I partied.

Scott and Dave kept me close.  They knew when to admonish me, and when to lay back.  They engaged my late-night debates and endured my questioning rants.  They were the sturdy dock to which my boat of faith was tethered, and even if the line got long, they never let it unhitch.  Obviously, God was my ultimate anchor; Scott and Dave were the tools He used.  Two friends, one from Ashland and one from Salem.  Two brothers, one from my pledge class and the other from the class I helped recruit.  Two angels, really, with a mission of ministering to me (and many others).  It’s cool to see how many of our brothers today have a strong faith.  Despite the ribbings, the God Squad blessed.

I am mighty proud to be a Fiji.  My experience at Oregon State—and the Fiji House in particular—molded me and equipped me to be ready for life.  As college students are returning to campus here in Salem and across the country, it’s a good time to pray for them.  For their roommates and friends.  
For their professors and coaches.  I also pray that every student will have a Scott and a Dave in their circle of friends.  And/or be that Scott and that Dave to someone else.  It will have eternal impact.
To that I can testify!

Mighty Proud,

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If It Wasn't For Bob Patterson and Habitat ...

August 2015

“We’ll be talking…”  He never used the familiar phrases: goodbye, see ya later, or farewell.  
It was always “We’ll be talking…” 

Bob Patterson, a retired teacher and superintendent, was the board chairman of the East King County chapter of Habitat for Humanity when I met him in the late 1980s.  One of our homebuilder clients, Conner Homes, had asked our team at Arst Public Relations to seek publicity for their $2,500 donation to Habitat.  Inspired by the scriptures, I came up with a ‘loaves-and-fishes’ campaign that helped the Eastside community triple that $2,500 into $7,500, as well as garner some significant media coverage for both Habitat and Conner Homes.  Afterwards, Bob Patterson came to my office to personally thank me for the effort.   And to pop me a question.  “So Sam, what will you do next to help Habitat?” 
It was a fair question, but it caught me off guard. “Um, well,” I stammered, “I’ll have to see whether Mr. Connor is willing to have me do any more work for you guys.” 

Bob gently probed, “So you have to be paid for your time in order to help our ministry?”  I wasn’t offended; we did a lot of free work for non-profits.  But nothing as comprehensive as the Conner campaign.  “Well,” I offered, “I did have a house-painting company in college so I could probably help paint some Habitat houses.”  But Bob didn’t need more painters.  He needed someone who could organize the meetings with prospective neighbors where Habitat wanted to build homes.  On the affluent east side of Lake Washington (Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond) there were pronounced prejudices against low-income people and low-income homes.  Habitat was frequently battled by neighborhoods that didn’t want ‘chicken shacks’ (as one angry neighbor put it) being built next door.  So I became the advance man who worked with neighborhood associations and subdivision developers to help them understand the true facts about Habitat, specifically: 1) the families were gainfully employed, 2) the houses were owner-occupied, not rentals or subsidized housing, and 3) only two percent of Habitat families defaulted on their 20-year mortgages.  Over the next seven years, our chapter of Habitat grew from two homes to 35.  (To date, that chapter has built more than 390 homes!)

I’m so grateful Bob popped that question.  Both my vocational direction and my spiritual direction were molded during the years I volunteered with Habitat.  I began landing more church and ministry clients for our firm, including a huge (paid) job with Overlake Christian Church to help them success-fully site a new campus despite considerable community opposition.  (It’s a long and great story!)  When I started my own firm, my biggest client was World Vision as they moved from California to establish their headquarters in Federal Way.  All of these events leading me into position to be able to say ‘yes’ when the Salem Leadership Foundation came calling in 1996.  None of this would be possible if Bob Patterson hadn’t challenged me in his blunt and yet affable way.  He was a visionary, a mentor, a tenacious advocate for justice, and a friend.  So it was with great sadness that I opened the envelope from his wife Shirley containing the program from Bob’s recent memorial service.  My grief turned into a grin when I pictured Bob with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternity.     

We’ll be talking …

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C.I.T.Y. as NEIGHBORHOOD

July 2015

FANCY DESSERT CELEBRATES ‘CITY AS NEIGHBORHOOD.’ They packed-out the Salem Convention Center last Friday, June 26, to enjoy the 2015 edition of the SLF Fancy Dessert.  More than 750 folks cozied together to hear how SLF and its partners are impacting kids, families and neighborhoods across Salem-Keizer.  Over the course of the evening we were able to demonstrate the power of SLF’s ‘Leverage Value’ through Lightning Rods (our field staff), CaN Centers (Churches serving as Neighborhood Centers), and CPTs (Community Partnership Teams).  A dollar donated to our ministry turns into thousands through SLF leverage.  As always, the highlight of the evening was the ‘Neighbor Stories’ that we captured and conveyed on film.  This year we featured:  1) Hope Station , 2) South Salem Connect CPT, and 3) The Northwest HUB, a ministry of CaN Center Evergreen Presbyterian.  (Contact us for a free DVD of the stories.

Hope Station.  We produced this story for the 2010 Fancy Dessert and brought it back for an update.  After airing the original video story, Pastor Marci Mattoso took us on a virtual tour of the new warehouse (three times larger than before) and the dignified “shopping experience” co-op by which working families can pay $30/month and volunteer their time in exchange for $200 in groceries, clothing and household items.  More than 200 low-income families a year—those who have jobs and make too much to qualify for welfare—are served at Hope Station, which was birthed out of Salem First Church of the Nazarene. 

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ONE FINAL SALUTE TO OUR FANCY SPONSORS

 
The First Fancy Dessert was a Dinner


September 7, 1996.  I had driven down to Salem from Seattle as Jennifer was packing our belongings for the big move a few weeks later.  I pulled into the Pringle Parkade and made my way to the old Alessandro’s Restaurant, heading upstairs to the small banquet room.  Thirty couples were gathered for the very first event hosted by the fledgling Salem Leadership Foundation.

I was greeted by board president Dick Lucco, the pastor at Trinity Covenant Church.  He introduced me to Robert Lupton from the Atlanta Resource Foundation, our featured speaker.  My childhood friends Martin Barrett and Peter Chamberlain—the pair responsible for recruiting me from Seattle—gave me high-fives and hugs.  Among the couples gathered were many that I’d known growing up in Salem, as well as folks who have become treasured friends and partners since then … 60 ‘early adopters’ and  ‘original investors’ in the notion that people-of-faith and people-of-goodwill could bless a city.

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Faith in Neighborhood Transformation, Part II

Last month I wrote about the amazing revitalization taking place in the Grant/Highland district of north Salem, particularly along Broadway.  We’ve come a long way since 1996, when there was a blueprint in place (the North Downtown Plan) but very little faith that its vision would come to pass.  Thanks to a core group of believing people and partners, a street of boarded-up buildings and empty lots has become a sector of cultural and entrepreneurial vitality.

In addition to the neighborhood association, the city, local developers, and the bevy of businesses that I cited last month, there are also several non-profits to thank.  They, too, had faith in our neighborhood and have positioned themselves to serve.  Even though things are improving, the families and residents of our neighborhood continue to face many challenges: poverty, broken relationships, addictions, ill health, homelessness, abuse and abandonment.

So here’s a salute to the Boys & Girls Club, Family Building Blocks, Salem Free Clinics, Jason Lee Food Bank, the Baby Boutique, LifePath recovery ministries, the Center for Community Innovation,  the SKEF Tutoring Center and Enrichment Academy at Grant, Liberty House, HOST Youth Shelter, the Recovery Outreach Center, Marion-Polk Food Share, Salvation Army, ARCHES, Oxford Houses, Adventist Community Services, and Shelly’s Place transitional housing.

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