Portland students support The Freshwater Trust with donation

May 14, 2018

Students at Catlin Gabel, a private school in Portland, presented The Freshwater Trust with a check for $2,500 to purchase much-needed equipment to monitor restoration projects.

The funds were provided by the school’s CommuniCare Club, a campus group with a mission to “challenge student leaders to create change through philanthropic giving” and introduce students to the multitude of nonprofits working on issues throughout the state of Oregon.

The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation started the program by partnering with several high schools to challenge students to raise $1,000, which the CARE Foundation matches 10:1 up to $10,000. Since 1998, more than $1 million has been awarded to 230 local nonprofits.

“This program is such a unique one and really showcases the support that’s deeply ingrained in this community for nonprofit organizations,” said Marley Gaddis, grants director with The Freshwater Trust. “We feel pretty lucky that there are opportunities for young people in Portland to understand the importance of philanthropy.”

TFT was chosen after an application process and presentation to students. Monique Leslie, TFT’s habitat restoration project manager, spoke with Catlin Gabel’s CommuniCare Club members about the organization’s mission, principles behind river restoration and how the award would benefit local rivers.

“It’s really encouraging to see how engaged these young people are in the future of the environment and their communities,” said Leslie. “It’s powerful – and comforting – to know there’s a new generation of Portlanders interested in supporting local causes.”

The $2,500 award will enable TFT to purchase monitoring equipment to document project impacts, such as underwater data loggers that monitor temperature and flow around restoration projects and iPads with waterproof cases for collecting data in the field with TFT’s Streambank Monitoring App.


“Diligent monitoring of our projects is crucial to understanding exactly how our efforts are impacting the rivers we all know and love here in Oregon,” said Leslie. “Our monitoring process is how we know we’re making a difference.”

TFT has part-time and full-time staff throughout the state collecting critical data on its projects. The busiest monitoring season runs between April and September. Over the next several months, staff will be traveling often to the Sandy, the Rogue and the John Day.

“Having the right tools to make sure we get quality, valuable results is essential to our mission,” said Leslie. “This is not just about guessing. We exist to fix rivers and we have a lot of people supporting us in that. We want to show them exactly what their money has accomplished for local freshwater resources.”

Participating schools choose from a variety of mission statements, developed by the CommuniCare program, ranging from access to arts, to at risk families, to homeless youth and immigrant rights.

Other organizations receiving awards this year from local CommuniCare Clubs include Willamette Riverkeeper, New Avenues for Youth and Meals on Wheels.

The Freshwater Trust will share photos and updates about its monitoring work with the students this summer through social media.

“As we are out in the field with our new equipment, the students that made it all possible will be on our minds,” said Leslie. “­­­We plan to make sure they know just how valuable their contribution has been to us.”