Resolutions Northwest (RNW) was incorporated as a non-profit in 1985 by a small group of community members who valued the vision of a restorative juvenile justice system. Originally a pilot program 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 has resulted in an opportunity to pilot a school program which focuses on using restorative justice principles and practices to help reduce the number of disproportionate minority disciplinary referral within the school and to the Juvenile Justice Department.
- In 2014, Uniting to Understand Racism merged with RNW merged. With the merger RNW realigned its mission and strategy to incorporate an intentional racial and social justice lens to 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 law firms, local businesses, schools and universities, faith and community-based organizations and the Portland community in general. The dialogue program focuses on helping participants raise their level of awareness concerning unexamined biases in order to encourage proactive change.See the history here.
Resolutions Northwest is a growing organization with a budget goal 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. Our Board of Directors provides oversight to our budget on a monthly basis and our overall financial practices are subject to independent review.
Over the last several years, funding from our primary grants has remained either level or been incrementally reduced. This year we were able to build capacity in both our facilitation and training programs. This additional capacity should not only cover the additional costs but also should produce enough increased revenues to allow the agency to invest in developing new programs to address unmet needs in the community, to empower youth with conflict resolution skills and equip the agency to work collaboratively on peace-making programs with other community groups serving Portland’s diverse communities. This increase in budget revenues will also allow for Resolutions Northwest to continue offering its employees competitive wages and a modest benefit package.
Our foundation funding and donations goals are ambitious for an agency without paid development staff. However, we are dedicated to pursuing a fundraising strategy that engages new partners who want to have a positive impact for peace, conflict resolution and social justice in Portland. We are seeking to build partnerships with community foundations and local businesses (including those providing matching gifts). Equally important, we are looking to build partnerships with individuals in the community who want to join us in promoting a positive and livable community through our conflict resolution programs and services.
Our long term primary program supporters include:
- 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 year long 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.
Resolutions Northwest is always looking for innovative partnerships that support and extend our mission. If you have any ideas that you want to discuss with us please feel free to contact us!