What We Do

The Portland Children’s Levy invests in community partners through a competitive application process. Levy supported programs work to:

  • Prepare children for school
  • Support children’s success in and out of the classroom
  • Eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in children’s well-being and school success

Responding to Community Priorities 
In the 2019-20 funding round, the Levy worked with Empress Rules Equity Consulting to engage community members most affected by Levy investments. Empress Rules’ final recommendations focused on equity: culturally relevant and responsive programs provided by staff who reflect the culture and speak the languages of those they serve and who include families and youth in program planning and evaluation. Program area strategies for 2020-2025  and the funding application (Request for Investment) relied heavily on these recommendations, and were also informed by local data on children and families in Portland and relevant research on best practices.

In response to community feedback, the Levy created a Small Grants Fund in 2019 to further improve equity of access to Levy funding. This fund is designed to support smaller community-based organizations that have faced barriers in applying for Levy funding. This fund will reach underserved youth and families including Black, Indigenous and people of color, children with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ youth, and children.

Investing in Community-Based Organizations
A five-member Allocation Committee meets publicly to make funding decisions. Volunteers from the community review and score applications. After reviewers score applications, staff makes funding recommendations to the Allocation Committee. Recommendations are based on criteria listed in the RFI. Applicants can submit written and oral testimony after reviewing application scores and staff recommendations. The scores, staff recommendations, and applicant testimony help the Allocation Committee make decisions about which programs to recommend and how much to invest in each program. Those recommendations are submitted to the Portland City Council for final review and approval.

Monitoring and Reporting Performance
PCL enters into grant agreements with successful applicants which outline each program’s service and performance goals. Staff monitor grants through regular reporting and site visits. The Allocation Committee reviews individual grant performance data annually. Data collected by grantees is also used to report the Levy’s overall performance annually.

Training and Technical Assistance
PCL provides a variety of training and technical assistance to grantees including program quality improvement supports, evaluation technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and access to relevant trainings offered in the community.

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