Portland City Council today approved $68 million in Portland Children’s Levy community investments over the next three years providing opportunities in education, youth development and family support.

In its unanimous vote, Council members said they were pleased that Levy funding for 85 programs would go toward reaching city youth affected by generations of racial, ethnic and economic inequity. Some of the Levy partnering organizations will also use funds to respond to emergency needs during the COVID pandemic, especially in Black, Indigenous and communities of color. 

The approved three-year funding from July 2020 – June 2023 includes 22 grants for new programs, 10 expansions for currently funded programs, and 53 continuing grants to maintain current services:

  • 16 grants in Early Childhood for $21 million
  • 22 grants in After School for $12.6 million
  • 16 grants in Child Abuse Prevention/Intervention for $12.2 million
  • 12 grants in Foster Care for $8.5 million
  • 11 grants in Hunger Relief for $7 million
  • and 8 grants in Mentoring for $6.7 million

Levy funded programs all work toward:

  • Preparing children for school;
  • Supporting their success inside and outside of the classroom; and
  • Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in their well-being and school success.

Created in 2002 and renewed three times by Portland voters, the Levy annually serves more than 10,000 children, 70 percent of whom identify as children of color, and the majority of whom are from homes with family incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. One-third of the children served are from homes where the primary language spoken is not English.

Today’s vote comes after a two-year planning process by the Levy that included community outreach and engagement built around equity, transparency and inclusion in the funding process.

In addition to today’s funding, the Levy has created a Small Grants Fund to reach youth and families through smaller community organizations that have not had access to Levy funds in the past.  Those grants should be making a difference in the community early next year.