Skidmore Prize Winners

Skidmore Prize collage
Collage of past winners

Every year Willamette Week honors 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. They are awarded the coveted Skidmore Prize and publicly recognized for their good works. Winners are selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their peers and coworkers.


Nominees must be younger than 36 during 2022 and work at least 20 hours a week for a local nonprofit (not as a volunteer). The nonprofit must be based in Multnomah, Clackamas or Washington counties. They must also be a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the IRS or fiscally sponsored by one.


Here are a few things to keep in mind for nominations — You may not nominate yourself. Nonprofits may nominate more than one employee for the Skidmore Prize, but the nonprofit may have only one winner. An individual needs only one nomination in order to be invited to apply for the award.


Each Skidmore Prize winner receives a cash prize of $4,000 and is celebrated throughout the campaign. In addition, the Skidmore Prize winner’s nonprofit employer will also be recognized with a Golden Ticket to the Give!Guide campaign with participation fees waived. Finalists will be given a Silver Ticket to the 2022 Give!Guide campaign, but their nonprofit will be subject to the participation fee.


The Skidmore Prize Selection Committee consists of active Portlanders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. They will choose nine finalists to interview and select four of those finalists as winners.


July 20, Nomination period opens
Aug. 12, midnight Nomination deadline
Aug. 15, Applications sent to all nominees
Aug. 26,
midnight Application deadline
Aug. 27 - Sept. 2, Committee review
Sept. 7,
Committee interviews and selection
Sept. 9,
All Skidmore Prize applicants notified of their status


Email us with “Skidmore Prize 2022” in the subject line.

2021 Prize Winners
cameron whitten cameron whitten

Age 30, Founder and CEO of Brown Hope

If the Portland nonprofit world has a true superstar, it’s cameron whitten. They’ve spent the last decade on the front lines in the fight for social justice—holding hunger strikes on the steps of City Hall, campaigning for LGBTQ rights and even running for elected office, including the mayorship. But they’ve made their greatest impact as the founder of Brown Hope, an organization dedicated to supporting Oregon’s communities of color through a variety of programs and initiatives, most notably the Black Resilience Fund, which last year managed to distribute $2 million in financial assistance for Black Portlanders in need.

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Lou Lé Lou Lé

Age 32, Founder and Executive Director of The Kindness Farm

In October 2020, Lou Lé had the idea to start a small-scale farm to distribute free, fresh produce to Portland’s increasing number of food justice organizations. By January, she had secured 1.25 acres of land in Pleasant Valley and all the material needed to start growing radishes, kale, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Since then, Kindness Farm has provided over 5,000 free meals and produce boxes for houseless Portlanders and low-income neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

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Gerard Rodriguez Gerard Rodriguez

Age 25, Associate Director of Tribal Affairs at Willamette Falls Trust

As the director of tribal affairs for Willamette Falls Trust, Gerard Rodriguez is engaging with Oregon’s Indigenous population on how best to integrate Native perspectives and traditions into the development of the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon—the first of several projects aimed at honoring tribal history and traditions across the state.

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Kendra Johnson Kendra Johnson

Age 35, Deputy Director of Impact NW

It’s said that everyone is one unforeseen disaster away from ending up on the street. Kendra Johnson has spent the past 13 years laying out safety nets across Portland. As the deputy director of Impact NW, Johnson helps connect 20,000 households annually with the services that prevent the city’s most vulnerable populations from falling into homelessness, whether its food assistance, addiction recovery, parenting support or job training.

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