Image source: Here For Portland
Here For Portland is a nonprofit organization led by the city that strives to help its residents stand on their feet.
The nonprofit brings people together for a green initiative.
In addition, Here For Portland helps local businesses thrive after enduring a problematic pandemic.
Last Friday night, Here For Portland distributed three thousand $50 gift cards at the Pioneer Square tree lighting ceremony.
The gift cards were distributed via the free app, Kuto.
People can also use it at participating businesses in the city.
Abe Proctor, the director of communications for Worksystems, the workforce development board for Multnomah and Washington Counties, hyped the app, saying:
“The Kuto app is a local, BIPOC-owned company that helps people make electronic transactions while avoiding the fees that are charged by major financial institutions.”
“Everybody likes $50, right? And we’re giving away three thousand of these, so that’s $150,000,” he added.
The campaign is part of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s efforts to improve support for local businesses downtown.
It helps business owners bounce back following the serious pandemic.
In addition, Here for Portland strives to encourage Portland residents to go out and spend the holiday season with local businesses.
The nonprofit wants to highlight the importance of helping businesses owned by women and people from underserved communities.
On Friday night, dozens of people lined up to get the free gift card.
Residents widely appreciated the nonprofit’s efforts.
“We’ve gotten Kuto gift cards before,” said Caty Jimenez.
“It’s given us a lot of opportunities to find new local businesses that we haven’t heard of before, or maybe we wanted to go to but didn’t have the money ourselves to spend on it.”
Meanwhile, other Portlanders believe Here For Portland’s effort will help the city move forward from some of the recent challenges, propelling others to shop local for the holidays.
“It’s a start,” acknowledged Bernard Lewis.
“I think it’s a great way to improvise and to jump over that hurdle, tear down that wall, and get Portland the recognition it really deserves.”
Here For Portland is also collaborating with Portland State University.
The nonprofit is helping students find paying jobs with businesses downtown.
In addition, students who sign up can work a total of 300 hours.
Upon completing the hours, businesses have the option to hire them on an ongoing basis.