Community, Here to Help

Oct. 26 Here to Help – Shining a bright light on nonprofits in Lane County

Connected Lane County awarded $1.4M to help fund wages for unserved youth

Connected Lane County agency members Kyler Johnson (left) and Parker Vracy said they have enjoyed their time with CLC.

Connected Lane County last week received a $1.4 million Future Ready Oregon Round Two Workforce Ready Grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. 

Connected Lane County is a nonprofit organization with locations in Eugene and Springfield with the mission to support underserved youth ages 14-24 across Lane County. Connected Lane County offers career support, educational guidance, paid learning opportunities, and life skills support services. 

The grant received will support the growth of Connected Lane County’s Excelerators; the Manufacturing Excelerator, Technology Excelerator, and Health Excelerator. 

Each Excelerator is a 250-hour experience that includes paid training at Connected Lane County’s Spark locations, followed by a paid internship within the youth’s Excelerator pathway. Over $620,000 of the grant will go directly toward youth wages and payroll taxes and $66,500 for youth support services (transportation, clothing, shoes, food, etc). 

“The majority of this grant will go directly into our community, funding youth wages,” said Heidi Larwick, Executive Director of Connected Lane County. “Having paid opportunities for youth to learn and garner educational experience within Lane County is immensely valuable. We don’t want youth to have to choose between a paid job and an educational experience, so it was essential to us that these experiences are paid.”

Future Ready Oregon’s Workforce Ready Grants are aimed toward organizations strategically collaborating with employers, education providers, and underserved and underrepresented communities. Future Ready Oregon aims to remove education and employment barriers and strengthen Oregon’s economic competitiveness. 

Connected Lane County youth are paid $17 an hour for both Excelerator experiences. In 2022-23, youth wages were over $730,000, and more than 3,000 youth were served. Connected Lane County’s growth has been exponential, and expenses are expected to rise. More info:

Funding available to support arrivals from Afghanistan

Since August 2021, over 1,400 individuals from Afghanistan have resettled in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Refugee Program invites community agencies to apply for a portion of $3.6 million in funding that is available to provide services and support to eligible individuals from Afghanistan.

Interested organizations should complete the application and budget summary. The deadline to apply is Nov. 10. A virtual information session regarding this funding will take place on Nov. 3. The session will provide information on the funding and an opportunity for attendees to have questions answered by the ODHS Refugee Program. 

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is operated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) through contracts with national non-profit organizations called Resettlement Agencies. These organizations have local affiliate offices throughout the nation.

The ODHS Refugee Program is responsible for some of the services that are outside of initial resettlement provided by Resettlement Agencies. The ODHS Refugee Program administers refugee cash and refugee medical benefits. 

Additionally, the ODHS Refugee Program contracts with Community-Based Organizations and Resettlement Agencies to provide culturally responsive services for populations deemed eligible by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). 

The purpose of this request is to ask for applications from culturally and linguistically responsive organizations who provide services to immigrants or refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) to increase services and support.

Funding is available to support housing assistance, health and wellness services, senior services, youth mentoring services, employment services, food assistance, case management, and legal services. Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one service area. The application for this funding, and additional information regarding the ODHS Refugee Program can be found on the website:

Cj Mann appointed to Willamalane Board


SPRINGFIELD – Willamalane Park and Recreation District last month appointed Cj Mann to its board of directors. She was selected through a formal application and an interview, and will fill the vacancy created by the departure of former director Renee Jones. During this selection process, the district received a total of three applications.

Director Mann brings experience in civic engagement and serving on governing boards. Director Mann’s volunteer experience includes serving in leadership roles with the Lane County Central Labor Council, NAACP, Lane Community College Budget Committee, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME) Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County (now Homes for Good), and more. 

Director Mann will serve until the end of the term, June 30, 2025. 

‘Grow Our Garden’ fundraiser slated Nov. 16

School Garden Project of Lane County on Thursday, Nov. 16 is hosting a  Grow Our Garden live virtual raffle. All proceeds help support garden education for all students in Lane County.  Live drawing starts at 10 a.m. at   Participants do not need to be present to win. 

Tickets are $50. Sign up at There will be 199 tickets available for purchase. 

First prize includes a $500 gift certificate to Jerry’s Home Improvement Center, second prize is a $250 Amazon gift card, and third prize is a $100 Fred Meyer gift card. 

The School Garden Project helps Lane County schools develop onsite vegetable gardens where they teach children standards-based science and the basics of growing food, using the garden as an outdoor laboratory. SGP also provides material and curriculum resources; professional development for educators; volunteer recruiting and training; and maintenance support to sustain and expand educational gardens throughout the region. More info: [email protected]

Help for Breya

Breya Middleton is a 5-year-old Cottage Grove resident who has a rare bone cancer that has spread from her leg to her lungs. She is receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatment at OHSU in Portland. Breya’s parents, Scott and Amanda, and her big sister, Kylee, welcome community support. An account has been set up at US Bank for Breya Rose Middleton for those who want to financially support this family with  medical and living expenses.

Thanksgiving pie fundraiser underway

Handmade by Blue Raeven, the treats will come frozen and unbaked. Preorder by Nov. 6. Prices: 9″ pies $20 & 5” Pies $10. Available types include apple, marionberry, peach, raspberry, and oregonberry, which is a combination of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Call Sherry at 541-525-4638  or Jean at 541-953-9361. Proceeds benefit the Cottage Grove Community Medical Center Auxiliary. 

EPUD Employees’ Coat Drive on now through Nov. 7

EPUD employees are conducting a winter coat drive to support the Community Sharing Program. Bring new or gently used coats to EPUD at 33733 Seavey Loop Road in Eugene. Its public access window is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  



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