Prosper Portland Awards Grants to Support Business Diversity and Inclusion

Fourteen local businesses representing Portland’s targeted industries – green cities, athletic and outdoor, technology and media, and manufacturing – will receive grants to support their work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The Inspiring Diversity Grant, now in its second year, is a Prosper Portland program intended to encourage private employers to incorporate creative, equity-related best practices around workforce, marketing and communications. 

Prosper Portland’s business and industry strategy is focused on helping leading traded sector companies become more inclusive, recognizing that the fundamental equity challenge in Portland’s traded sectors is lack of access to good jobs. The city’s four targeted clusters pay wages well above the average for the City of Portland and are among the best employment opportunities in the region. Yet people of color, who represent 30% of Portland’s populationhold only 12-18% of cluster jobs.   

The agency received more than 40 applications for the grant, which targeted traded sector companies that sell many of their products and services to people and businesses outside the Portland region, nationally and globally. 

Selection of the recipients prioritized growth potential, leadership commitment and interest in peer learning, with preference given to companies that could match the requested funds. The selected companies have committed matches totaling $67,700 in cash and in-kind staff time, more than double the grant fund of $63,400 

The matching grants range from $2,000 to $10,000 and support companies ranging from technology to manufacturing to landscape architecture and engineering which provide high-paying and middle-wage jobs and opportunities for Portlanders. 

Recipients and projects are: 

Carleton Hart Architecture – staff workshops, Fair Housing Council of Oregon bus tour, and use of a platform that helps companies optimize policies that improve social equity and enhance employee engagement.   

GladRags – development of a diversity and equity market assessment and DEI training with other businesses 

Glory Facial – digital marketing campaign with a Mercatus partner to increase awareness of skin cancer among women of color 

GreenWorks   Landscape architecture/environmental design firm starting its equity journey, hiring a facilitator to help its newly formed equity committee formalize a plan.   

Hopworks Urban Brewery – DEI workshops, enhance on-boarding process to be more inclusive and provide a more comprehensive focus for continuing education and speakers for team and customers.  

Intuitive Digital  Digital marketing firm will conduct team training, update hiring and interviewing practices to eliminate unconscious bias  

Like Dat Apparel – community and school outreach  

Opsis Architecture – equity-based staff workshop, design case study and creation of a road map for change 

PAE Consulting –  internal training on equity and diversity; creation of resource page for the PAE community 

Pollinate  digital branding agency will create a network of Portland agencies and technology companies with the goal of sponsoring women, people of color, and other minority groups who have interest in the tech and media industries but lack the financial means to do so

Portland Fashion Inst. – outreach to African American community to build awareness/ acceptance and applications for PFI’s diversity program.  

Rose City Games – online game jam event, sharing the professional aspects of game planning and production with diversity applicants as both parties develop game pitches alongside community members and professional mentors 

Sseko Designs – establish an equity & inclusion council; create training curriculum; coach and train HQ and top leaders on how they can build more diverse and inclusive cultures. 

Treehouse – launch a monthly event series to discuss topics related to equity, diversity, and inclusion