Skidmore Prize

The inspiration for the name of this prize: The Skidmore Fountain in Portland’s Old Town, which bears this inscription: “Good citizens are the riches of a city.”

This fall, we celebrate four remarkable individuals doing exceptional work for Portland-area nonprofits. Each Skidmore Prize winner is the embodiment of community dedication, a testament to the power of passion and purpose.

Their stories of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to social causes leave us awestruck and motivated to do more. In recognizing their outstanding accomplishments, we honor not just their achievements but the potential in all of us to make meaningful differences.

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 a special luncheon held October 13.

Sponsored by Comcast

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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