Skidmore Prize Winners

Every year Willamette Week awards the Skidmore Prize to four young Portlanders who work every day to make Portland a better place and to preserve the community-oriented nature of the city we all know and love.

This year we were so impressed that there's five winners!

This year's finalists included: Joy Alise Davis (Imagine Black Futures), Gustavo Martinez (Bienstar), Charelle Stanley (Wild Diversity), and Elona Wilson (Next Up). If you’ve ever wondered who’s really making a difference in our community, scroll down.

Winners of the Skidmore Prize must be under the age of 36 and work full-time for a local nonprofit. Winners received their awards, including prizes of $4,000, at the beginning of the Give!Guide campaign. Photos by Cameron Munn.

2022 Prize Winners
Itzel Chávez Gómez Itzel Chávez Gómez

28, College and Career Coordinator at Adelante Mujeres

Itzel Chávez Gómez is the college and career coordinator at the Forest Grove-based nonprofit Adelante Mujeres (“Women Rise Up”). She mentors more than 30 Latina seniors at seven high schools in Washington County, helping them choose a college, fill out applications, and apply for financial aid.

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Kat Salas Kat Salas

27, New Day Program Manger at New Avenues for Youth

Kat Salas is program manager for New Day, an arm of the nonprofit New Avenues for Youth. Since its founding in 2018, New Day has served about 450 youth ages 12 to 25 who are being sex trafficked or are at risk for sexual exploitation.

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Babak Zolfaghari-Azar Babak Zolfaghari-Azar

34, Senior Policy Manager at Partnership for Safety and Justice

Babak Zolfaghari-Azar’s criminal justice reform career began in the back of a Beaverton Police car when he was 17 years old. After being illegally pulled over and then booked into an adult jail for furnishing alcohol to minors (a charge that was thrown out in court), Zolfaghari-Azar—a straight-A student who had just graduated from Beaverton High School and was headed to Portland State University—spent 12 hours in an orange jumpsuit that would change the rest of his life.

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Cecilia Estraviz Cecilia Estraviz

32, Operations Manager at Lift Urban Portland (Lift UP)

Cecilia Estraviz oversees the on-site food programs at 50 low-income buildings in downtown and Northwest Portland, serving over 3,000 food-insecure people each year. Twenty-seven of the buildings have on-site food pantries where Lift UP saw a 57% increase in food distribution in the past year.

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Qiddist Ashé Qiddist Ashé

28, Executive Director of Black Oregon Land Trust

On a fall morning on a farm in the Columbia River Gorge, Qiddist Ashé has already fed the goats, harvested herbs for medicine-making, and tended to the farm cat Sheba, who just gave birth to a litter of five kittens. Ashé is weeks away from purchasing a nearby 10-acre farm as the co-founder and executive director of the Black Oregon Land Trust.

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