General Fund Grants Committee
The General Fund Grantmaking Committee evaluate proposals for the two General Fund cycles each year. This committee is responsible for the majority of our grassroots grantmaking, distributing $450,000 each year.
Mercy M’Fon Shammah | Grantmaker
Mercy is the Founder and Executive Director of Wild Diversity, and organization dedicated to elevate Black, Indigenous, all People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQ communities in the outdoors; offer resources and programing to queer youth, youth of color and low income youth; and provide a safe and welcoming space for our community to explore outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Mercy’s drive to form Wild Diversity came from the desire to support a robust community of POC & Queer outdoorists and be an architect of much needed change for diversity in the outdoor industry. She wanted a welcoming as safe place for her underrepresented communities to thrive.
Mercy has over 15 years in community leadership as an educator and facilitator directly serving community. She has also traveled to over a dozen countries training and leading workshops as a roller derby coach to empowering women to realize their potential. She brings that passion to the Wild Diversity community and is proud to be a part of community growth.
Makerusa “Mak” Porotesano | Grantmaker
Makerusa Porotesano (He/Him) is a native of Portland by way of St. Johns, North Portland. Mak has been student organizing since early in his college days. He is the founder of the Pacific Islander Student Alliance (PISA), which started in 2007 when he was an undergraduate student. He is also the founding coordinator of the Men of Color Leadership Program at Portland Community College, and before that, he was the coordinator of the Pacific Islander, Asian and Asian American (PIAAA) Student Center at Portland State University, the Manager of Continuing Education at the University of the South Pacific, Majuro Campus, and the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership at Chaminade University.
Makerusa is a second-generation American Samoan from the village of Fogagogo. Mak started his college education at American Samoa Community College. He later received his BS from Portland State University, and Masters in Education from Chaminade University of Honolulu. Away from his day job, Mak is an organizer with the Pacific Climate Warriors of 350 Pacific, and is Chair of the Samoa Pacific Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3) Organization for Samoans in Oregon.
Ubaldo Hernández | Grantmaker
Ubaldo (He/Him/Ese) works as a community organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper, conducting community outreach on clean water while promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Ubaldo has been an active member in the Latinx community in the Columbia Gorge, participating in projects that promote awareness on issues that are relevant to Latinxs in Oregon and Washington. In the last 15 years, he has launched and participated in multiple projects benefiting the Latinx community, including the local community radio station Radio Tierra. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, fishing, and hiking in the Columbia Gorge.
Davis Esther Rose | Grantmaker
Davis (They/Them) is a 20-year-old queer femme who likes to put noses on their colon smiley faces :-). Interested in art and design for most of their life, Davis is currently a graphic designer with radical youth collective Marrow PDX. They are bringing a solid commitment to social and gender justice, a desire to learn about activist-led grantmaking, and a “strong Jewish voice” to MRG’s grantmaking committee.
Chris Baker | Grantmaker
Chris (She/Her) does community engagement, organizing and advocacy work at Hunger-Free Oregon. She holds two degrees in Gender, Race and Nations with emphasis on Community Health Equity from Portland State University. Chris has 10 years of lived experience with poverty and food insecurity and is dedicated to surrounding herself in work that supports grassroots social change, women’s empowerment and advocacy, and policy changes that reduce racial, social and gendered disparities. Outside of work, Chris lives in the suburbs of Portland with her two boys, a chocolate lab named Lucy and a wacky great dane mix named Luna, all of which are the center of her universe.
Alessandra de la Torre | Grantmaker
Alessandra de la Torre (She/Her) works at Rogue Climate in Southern Oregon. Born and raised in the Bay Area, her goal is to increase diverse representation and education in Southern Oregon, while intersecting social and environmental movements. Alessandra is a proud Xicana from immigrant parents and a first-generation high school and college graduate. She believes our shared liberation is of upmost importance and it can happen through political advocacy, civic engagement, grassroots organizing, and community healing.
Bruce Morris | Grantmaker
Bruce (He/Him) has worked for the Central Oregon community and social justice groups as an organizer, executive, and developer since 2002. He has served as Executive Director for Human Dignity Coalition, coordinator at the Central Oregon Social Justice Center, and currently as Development and Programming Director at KPOV in Central Oregon. He has a law degree and practiced law for many years. After 15 years as a corporate attorney, the injustice he was facilitating became unbearable. He decided to devote his life to working for justice and supporting the inspiring people who have dedicated their careers to furthering community.
Shaun Franks | Grantmaker
Shaun (He/Him) works in solar energy sales and marketing. He graduated from Southern Oregon University where he studied business, environmental studies, and corporate sustainability. In 2011, he studied renewable energy in Germany. In 2012, while Director of Sustainability for Student Government, he led the establishment of the SOU Green Fund to invest student dollars into local energy, water, and campus sustainability projects. The fund has helped establish three new solar installations on campus and launched the SOU Center for Sustainability.
Lisa Arkin | Grantmaker
Lisa (She/Her) is a second generation Jewish Immigrant whose ancestors escaped Russia in fear of prosecution and genocide. Grounded in her roots, Lisa took her first public risk for human rights when, as a university professor, she challenged the unequal treatment of women faculty in the tenure and promotion process. That challenge resulted in significant change to ensure gender fairness. This passion continued over time and is the driver in her current work as the Executive Director at Beyond Toxics, in Eugene. At Beyond Toxics, Lisa is working to grow the environmental justice movement in Oregon and embed human rights and social justice in all environmental laws.