RNW was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1985 by a small group of community members who valued the vision of a restorative juvenile justice system. Today, RNW provides services and trainings in mediation & conflict resolution, facilitation, restorative justice, and racial equity.
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Originally, our restorative justice pilot program was designed to reduce violence, juvenile crime, and address needs of victims. Our restorative justice services quickly proved an effective and extremely efficient alternative to the traditional justice model.
In 1994 the organization started training students to be conflict managers and peer mediators in their schools and founded the Oregon Peacemakers Conference for middle and high school students.
In 1998, the Family Mediation Program (FMP) of the Youth Services Consortium merged with Resolutions Northwest giving us the opportunity to expand our work with youth by incorporating teen mediators into our volunteer mediator pool.
In 2002, RNW was selected by the City of Portland to be the sole provider of Portland’s neighborhood mediation services and soon thereafter to facilitate the residential siting of community social services.
In 2007, RNW officially created a Youth Program and Facilitation Program to fulfill the need for more youth oriented programming and growing demand for a variety of facilitation services. In addition, a collaborative effort between our Youth and Restorative Justice Programs resulted in an opportunity to pilot a school program which focused on using restorative justice principles and practices to help reduce the number of disproportionate minority disciplinary referrals within the school and to the Juvenile Justice Department.
We piloted our first restorative justice in schools program in the Parkrose School District. Our goal was to reduce disproportionate discipline for youth of color and use restorative justice to create supportive & inclusive school communities.
In 2014, Uniting to Understand Racism merged with RNW. With the merger, RNW realigned its mission and strategy to incorporate an intentional racial and social justice lens into all its services to further our desire for a more equitable and just community.
UNITING TO UNDERSTAND RACISM
Before merging with RNW, UUR was a widely recognized organization in the State of Oregon. UUR originated from the merger of two organizations: Understanding Racism Foundation (URF) and Oregon Uniting (OU) in 2004. Many UUR Board members’ prior work with the Oregon Supreme Court Task force on racism and equal access to justice inspired the formation of URF and its dialogue curriculum on race and racism. During the same period, OU worked with the community, developed a dialogue curriculum on race and racism as well as the Beyond the Oregon Trail curriculum for 8th graders. After the URF and OU merger, UUR continued the work of both organizations. Now, as a new program of RNW, we offer interracial dialogue services to local businesses, schools and universities, organizations, and the Portland community in general. The dialogue program focuses on helping participants raise their level of awareness concerning unexamined biases to encourage proactive change.
Resolutions Northwest is a growing organization with a budget of over $1,000,000, comprised primarily of three large grants from government agencies. Of these revenues, 87% of the resources go directly to program services. Over the past five years, we have successfully expanded our training and consulting services to help subsidize our other programming. We are now looking to build partnerships with individuals, community foundations, and local businesses who want to join us in promoting inclusive and just communities in which people connect across differences and equitably share opportunities to thrive.
Multnomah County who supports both our restorative justice school prevention and juvenile justice intervention programs. This funding allows us to offer youth pathways to success as an alternative to a pathway leading them through the juvenile justice system or school-to-prison pipeline.
The City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement supports our free mediation services for neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts. This funding also supports our group facilitation work which often addresses complex community issues. With this support, we also provide education and training for community members and groups. The neighborhood program’s volunteer mediator training and mentoring program is a model within the State of Oregon.
The Oregon Office for Community Dispute Resolution program, administered through the University of Oregon, supports all of our programs as well assists Resolutions Northwest in managing its general operating costs.