The General Fund grantmaking committee evaluate proposals for the two General Fund cycles a year, and this committee is responsible for the majority of our grassroots grantmaking, distributing $450,000 this year.
Amanda is currently an organizer at the Rural Organizing Project. She leads ROP's racial justice and immigrants rights work, and supports capacity and organizing skills development in 30 of ROP's human dignity groups throughout the state. She has also worked for trade justice, as a labor organizer, and in her mother's home country of El Salvador with a network of Christian Base Communities. "The MRG grantee groups are on the front lines of building a powerful multicultural movement strong enough to build the new society we're all striving for - it is such a privilege to be part of that process."
Khalil is a Portland native and is currently a Racial Justice and Alliance Building Organizer at Basic Rights Oregon. Khalil’s commitment and passion for education led him to receiving a Master’s Degree from Portland State University’s Graduate Teacher Education Program. After a few years teaching middle school and high school students, Khalil now uses his skills and desire for community empowerment to advocate for equity for all Oregonians and improve the lives of Black LGBTQ people. Khalil also serves as the Coordinator for the Black Chapter of PFLAG Portland, the first Black PFLAG chapter in the country.
"I am excited about the great social justice work happening in Oregon and I feel fortunate to be a part of it all." -Khalil Edwards
Vicky was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and migrated to the United States at the age of seven. Vicky got her start organizing for social justice in high school as a youth leader at Latinos Unidos Siempre, a community-based social change youth group. Now Vicky is the Youth Coordinator for LUS empowering a new generation of youth and developing their leadership skills. She also serves on the Boards of Directors for CAPACES Leadership Institute, Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality, and Mano a Mano Family Center.
"I understand the struggles of my community and I want to contribute my knowledge, experience, and heart to making this world a better place. ¡Sí Se Puede!" –Vicky Falcón-Vázquez
Michelle is the Communications Director for Project REconomy, an economic justice organization focused on reversing the impact of foreclosures on Oregon communities. By working on the frontlines of economic justice organizing, Michelle gets to engage her passion for empowering people and rural communities, and challenging social structures that perpetuate inequality. She has a background in rural organizing, women’s rights, healthcare, green jobs and housing, and holds a degree in sociology from Southern Oregon University.
"As a grantee, I've experienced first had the powerful role that MRG plays in the support and development of social justice groups. I am honored and excited to give back to the social justice community that I love by working with MRG." -Michelle Glass
Alison Guzman is on staff at Beyond Toxics in Eugene. Having grown up in Latin America and Africa, Alison at an early age was exposed to living in communities of different ethnicities, languages, and lifestyles and knows that diversity is essential for social justice. Alison became involved in social change work in 2001 when she volunteered with HIV-infected mothers and children in South Africa. She has also worked on indigenous, LGBTQ, labor and women's rights in Paraguay, Peru, and South Africa. Alison moved to Oregon in 2010 where she continues to fight for what is just and right. She holds an MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rights and Social Justice, from The American University in Washington DC.
Kayse is a founder and executive director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), which builds power in immigrant and refugee communities through education, civic engagement, organizing and intergenerational leadership development. CIO was funded early on by MRG Foundation, so Kayse has firsthand experience of the impact of MRG grants on building the movement. Born into a nomadic family in Somalia, Kayse left when the civil war erupted, and finally found sanctuary in Portland.
Andrea was born in Eugene, raised in Salem, and currently lives in Portland. A longtime MRG supporter and volunteer, she currently works at the Bus Project, a youth-led organization that engages Oregon’s millennial generation in democracy. Andrea is also the co-chair of MRG’s grantmaking committee. Previously, Andrea was Associate Director at Causa, Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization.
Connie Saldaña has been concerned with issues of social and economic justice since first working with homeless Latina immigrants in the late 1980s. With the Rogue Valley chapter of Oregon Action, she worked on Single Payer, Living Wage and Affordable Housing campaigns. As a founder and current board member of the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon, she advocates around issues of discrimination. MCASO’s independent community radio station, KSKQ, takes most of her volunteer hours these days—helping to build and maintain its full-power antenna, working on its financial sustainability and otherwise developing it as a viable tool for local communication and social change.