SEMpdx Charity of Choice

SEMpdx Charity of Choice

Each year, SEMpdx selects a Charity of Choice to support for a 12 month period. Benefits for our Charity of Choice organization include:

  • Recognition at events and in our collateral materials
  • Opportunity to attend and display collateral materials at our monthly events
  • A complimentary booth at our Engage Conference
  • Pro-bono digital marketing consulting services from SEMpdx board members and volunteers
  • Up to $5,000 donation based on matching donations from SEMpdx members

Your generous support of SEMpdx makes Charity of Choice possible, so be sure to become a member, attend our events or become a sponsor. If you are interested in nominating a Portland-area non-profit organization for Charity of Choice, please contact us.

2019-20 Charity of Choice: Girls, Inc.Girls, Inc.

Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Serving girls from ages 6-18, we provide life-changing after school programs and experiences that help girls grow up to be healthy, educated, and independent. Our research-based programming is delivered by trained staff and volunteer leaders who focus on the development of the whole girl, supporting, mentoring, and guiding girls in an affirming, pro-girl environment.

Here, girls learn to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they face. Girls Inc. girls live healthy and active lifestyles; they are eager to learn, successful in school, and more likely to graduate from post-secondary education; and they display diligence, perseverance and resilience.

To learn more about Girls, Inc. visit

Last Year


2018-19 Charity of Choice: SMART

SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) is a nationally recognized, statewide nonprofit organization with a network of volunteers, educators, donors and advocates across Oregon working together to empower children through books and reading. Since 1992, over 135,000 SMART volunteers have spent 4 million hours reading one-on-one with nearly 212,000 children, and SMART has given away 2.7 million books to kids to keep.

SMART blends early reading support, access to books and community engagement to positively impact literacy outcomes and provide equitable opportunity for all kids. Our volunteers read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade students weekly during the school year, providing a fun, child-guided and culturally affirming experience with books with a goal of increasing reading enjoyment and motivation.

During the 2017-18 school year in the Portland Metro area, SMART served 3,120 students in 89 sites with the help of 1,695 volunteers, and SMART students received 36,513 books to keep.

To learn more about SMART, visit

Previous Years


2017-18 Charity of Choice: Schoolhouse SuppliesSchoolhouse Supplies

Since opening our doors in 1999, the Schoolhouse Supplies mission remains the same: to support public education in the Portland area by providing free school supplies to students in need. We do this because we believe that every child deserves school supplies and has the right to a quality education regardless of their family’s income or racial/ethnic identity. Our ultimate goal is to level the playing field so every child has access to the tools that allow them to achieve academic success and feel confident. The program delivery model achieves additional goals through community engagement and by keeping supplies out of the waste stream. With the community’s support, Schoolhouse Supplies has distributed $30M in free school supplies and benefitted hundreds of thousands of children. We partner with many local businesses to sponsor programs, host supply drives and involve employees as volunteers (100,000 hours and counting.) Thousands of individuals donate time, dollars, and new and gently used products to support local students. Programs include the Free Store for Teachers, the Tools for Schools backpack program, and other initiatives serving students in over 25 school districts. To learn more about ways to engage with Schoolhouse Supplies, visit

Reading Results – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2016-17

Working toward the vision that all children have the right to read and succeed, Reading Results partners with schools serving low-income students to provide a proven reading intervention program.

With a focus on equity, Reading Results identifies first, second, and third graders who are already falling behind in reading and intervenes—providing an intensive reading instructional program.

Tutors spend the school year working with students, delivering both their curriculum as well as an intentional message to each struggling child: ‘You are important. Your community cares about you and your future.

Reading Results has proven to be highly effective at improving outcomes for struggling readers and getting them on track before they reach fourth grade. After one year in our program:

  • Students gain an average of 1.6 years in reading skills;
  • On average, students gain 32 words per minute in reading fluency;
  • 100% of students show improvement on reading assessments.

Our program has been shown to improve reading outcomes that impact graduation. What we are doing works, and we are now expanding our program so that more children can benefit.In 2016/17 Reading Results will provide tutoring for 620 struggling learners who are low-income and students of color, at 26 Portland metro area elementary schools. Learn more at

SEMpdx 2016 President Kevin Getch and Jennifer Samuels on Portland Today

KGW Portland today

2015-16 Charity of Choice:

Brody Borlaug Foundation

Brody Borlaug Foundation
The Brody Borlaug Foundation was established in 2011 by Jeff and Tracy Borlaug in memory of their son, Brody, who died at the tender age of three from complications of a primary immunodeficiency while preparing for a bone marrow transplant. We are a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Pediatric Immunology to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and providing the children of our region the opportunity for a healthy future by removing the barriers that currently exist: proper and early diagnosis and access to close-to-home, state-of-the-art immunological services.

In addition, we strive to raise public awareness and to serve as compassionate advocates on behalf of patients and families to ensure the best possible outcomes and quality of life. We are a 100% volunteer organization with as many as 20 volunteers helping at each of our annual events.

The Brody Borlaug Foundation has partnered with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to establish an on-site Pediatric Immunology Program, which would serve two purposes: (1) support and enhance the already noteworthy Pediatric Blood, Cancer and Bone Marrow Transplant Programs at the hospital and (2) offer on-site expertise to diagnose and care for children with life threatening diseases such as leukemia, metabolic disorders and pediatric immunodeficiency disorders.

To learn more, visit

Harper’s Playground – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2014-15

Harper's PlaygroundAbout the Harper’s Playground

A more inclusive world, one playground at a time! Please visit our first playground at Portland’s Arbor Lodge Park – 2525 N Dekum Street.


We transform communities by increasing personal connections and access to unstructured outdoor play for people of all abilities through the development of inclusive play areas.

Company Overview

Inclusive playgrounds feature ramped access to the highest point, solid rubberized surfacing for wheeled mobility, sensory-rich play elements, and swings and slides that are designed to accommodate all.

Please spend a little time on the Harper’s Playground website to learn more about this project.

There are several ways to get involved:

  • Financial donations
  • Donate goods or services for our auction and/or rummage sale
  • Volunteer to help
  • Spread the Word
  • Send Letters of Support

We are a Non-Profit Corporation. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Follow Harper’s Playground on Facebook

Cat Adoption Team – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2013-14

Cat Adoption TeamAbout the Cat Adoption Team

Founded in May 1998, the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, limited admission/adoption guarantee cat shelter (they are able to take in cats as they find homes for the cats in the shelter).

CAT has its own full-service veterinary Hospital onsite. In fact, CAT was the first animal shelter in Oregon to have an in-shelter veterinary hospital (built in 2002).

In June 2008, CAT opened the first pet food bank in the Portland area. Today, that food bank provides hundreds of struggling cat owners with food to feed their pet cat. About 3,000 pounds of dry cat food is handed out every month.

A leader in the shelter community with its extensive shelter medicine, adoption, and foster care programs, CAT cares for 400 to 600 cats and kittens on a daily basis with the help of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers at CAT’s shelter in Sherwood, foster homes, and various offsite adoption locations throughout the Portland metro area.

Follow Cat Adoption Team on Facebook

Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2012

Portland Police Bureau Sunshine DivisionAbout the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division

Since 1923, the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division has been providing emergency food and clothing relief to Portland families and individuals in need. Whether due to the loss of a job, domestic crime, illness, or victims of fire or disaster, the Sunshine Division has built an 88-year legacy of mobilizing quickly and efficiently to assist distressed Portlanders. They offer emergency food assistance five days a week at our North Portland warehouse as well as 24/7 through our partnership with the Portland Police Bureau who store food boxes at each police precinct that can be dispatched to people in need at any time. In addition to food relief they also offer new and gently used clothing to those in need at our North Portland facility.

Follow the Sunshine Division on Facebook

Children’s Cancer Association – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2011

About the Children’s Cancer Association

Founded 15 years ago by a family who has been there, the Children’s Cancer Association brings JoyRx to seriously ill children and their families, in the hospital and at home. When families need support, CCA is there with award-winning programs and resources, available at no cost to those in need, in Oregon, SW Washington and across the nation.

Follow the CCA on Facebook

Oregon Humane Society – SEMpdx Charity of Choice 2010

About the Oregon Human Society

Celebrating 141 years of service, the Oregon Humane Society is dedicated to helping animals and people. In 2010, over 10,100 animals were adopted through OHS, more than 940 reports of animal abuse and neglect were investigated, and almost 20,000 children were taught humane education.

Follow OHS on Facebook

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