Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon regularly talks about its combination of upstream and downstream efforts. This sentiment speaks to why I give to EMO, both with my time as a board member and with my money to support the work of our competent, compassionate and committed staff.
When I started attending church in my late 20s, I found there were a lot of compassionate ministries and charitable mission efforts. While feeding the hungry was certainly something Jesus did, charity—or helping “the needy” without challenging the structures of society that reinforce a need for charity—always felt to me like an incomplete understanding of Jesus’ mission.
When I lived in New Hampshire, I served on the board for a grantmaking organization whose tagline was “Change, Not Charity.” It supported grassroots organizing to change the structures, laws and access-to-resources barriers that in the long run keep people (especially People of Color) dependent upon the charity of others.
Thank you to the 1,622 donors and foundations who contributed $1,640,721 during 2020. View a full list of our generous donors.
I love that EMO embraces both direct service and structural change. EMO feeds people who are hungry, creates pathways to housing for people who need it—and it organizes, educates and advocates for policies that will create a more just and equitable society. Most importantly, EMO does this advocacy work in relationship with those the organization serves and advocates on behalf of. That to me reflects a more complete understanding of Jesus’ mission and is why I give to EMO with joy.
The Rev. Catherine "Cat" Allard
Member of the EMO Board of Directors