We fund 50 different programs for kids ages birth through high school through a competitive grant process and an additional four programs through our Leverage Fund.

Early Childhood
Children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed

  • Early childhood education and intervention
  • Parenting education
  • Access to immunizations and health screenings

After School & Mentoring
Students stay engaged in school and safe after school

  • Quality programs to promote academic achievement in core subject areas and music, art and athletics
  • Positive and consistent adult and peer role models
  • Tutoring, homework assistance, community service and college prep activities

Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention
Stressed families most at risk receive support and intervention services

  • Intensive case management, counseling and therapy
  • Respite care
  • Parenting education

Foster Care
Ensuring kids in foster care succeed

  • Help to maintain placement stability
  • Move children out of foster care sooner
  • Provide educational support networks, especially during major school transitions, as well as for youth aging out of foster care
  • Promote mentoring and enrichment activities
  • Offer mental health services

Childhood hunger (will begin under new Levy in July 2014)
Providing nutritious meals to children and resources for

  • Increase access/utilization of existing food programs
  • School-based food pantries
  • Food access during summer and out-of-school time

Our investments are felt throughout Portland: in preschools, home-based childcares, elementary, middle and high schools, community centers, nonprofit organizations, soccer fields, basketball courts, music auditoriums and parks. In all parts of the city and scores of neighborhoods, Portland’s children are benefiting from the breadth and depth of the proven programs in which we invest.

A majority of the children we serve come from low income households. The hurdles they must overcome include low expectations, despair and a lack of opportunity that comes with poverty, abuse and neglect, homelessness, exposure to domestic violence and risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Levy programs are making a difference. They make sure children have access to preschool and child care programs and health screenings; they help immigrant families adjust to a new city and new customs; they instill confidence and self esteem in students by helping them stay in school and out of trouble; they assist families splintered by stress, poverty, homelessness and other challenges that contribute to abuse and neglect.

Organizations receive funding through a competitive process and must have a track record of success. They must be cost effective and achieve positive results for children. All funded programs are monitored by staff and are subject to regular site visits and performance assessments. A five-member Allocation Committee meets publicly to make funding decisions.

A Snapshot of Who We Serve: 
Demographic Data From Levy programs 2011-12*


(*A detailed breakdown of Portland Children Levy demographics, including number of children served via city Zip Code, is available by clicking here.)

In developing its investment priorities within each category, the Portland Children's Levy sought input from community stakeholders, including social service providers, policy makers, teachers, foundations business leaders, and parents. The Children's Levy also consulted research on best practices and effective program models for supporting children. Based on these two major sources of input, the following initial investment priorities were established for all investment categories: 

  • Improve access to services for children living in North, Northeast and Outer Southeast Portland-high poverty areas of the city.
  • Ensure access to culturally specific services.
  • Educational support networks, especially during major school transitions.
  • Mental health services.
  • Services for youth aging out of foster care.

Portland voters created the Levy in 2002 and overwhelmingly renewed it for an additional five years in Fall 2008 and again, in Spring 2013, with new funding to begin July 2014. City homeowners support the Levy through a property tax of about $60 a year for a home with an assessed value of $150,000. The Fund generates $10 million a year. The Levy is annually audited and administrative expenses cannot exceed more than 5 percent of revenues, ensuring that 95 cents of every dollar is invested in children’s programs.