Three of the most important things to Beth White are: listening; walking her talk; and working together to create a better world.
This is reflected in all Beth does, from her work with Write Around Portland to making a monthly contribution to MRG.
Beth didn’t grow up talking about politics in her family — it just wasn’t done. But when she got to high school in the suburbs of Chicago and saw just how segregated it was, she understood that there were deep racial divides in her community.
So she started asking questions about the things she saw and she set out on a path to do her part to make the world a better place.
Her first public activism was during the 1992 election campaign. She was too young to vote so she made a t-shirt that said: “My Body, My Choice” and was promptly reprimanded by her teachers and the school’s principal.
For the past five years, Beth has been the Development Director at Write Around Portland, a local non-profit that brings people together to write their stories. Participants in Write Around Portland’s programs are among the most socially isolated and financially insecure adults and young people in our community.
“I love the listening aspect of the work at Write Around Portland,” explains Beth. “Helping people get the stories out that aren’t being heard. By listening and valuing other peoples’ stories, peoples’ lives change for the better.”
One of the many reasons Beth gives monthly to MRG is because she is committed to being a strong ally to people facing oppression. This means listening, understanding her privilege and being willing to challenge the status quo.
“All of my other giving is to very specific, local work. I am very particular about my giving. Giving to MRG means giving up the control that I normally exercise — to trust that the activists making the decisions know better than I do.”
Beth also gives because she believes in activist-led grantmaking. “It’s important that people who are doing the work are making the funding decisions. Walking the talk is important.”
Beth also supports MRG because it’s a chance for her to learn about things going on around the state that she otherwise wouldn’t learn about.
“Sometimes the bigger picture can get lost. With MRG, I can see that bigger picture,” says Beth. “I look at MRG and I see that there is a progressive movement in Oregon.”