PORTLAND, Ore. — Twenty-five participants in the Black Resilience Fund's 3-year guaranteed income program met for orientation Tuesday night, after being selected from more than 11,000 original applicants.
Through the program, families will get up to $2,000 a month for the next three years. Cameron Whitten, CEO of Brown Hope, the nonprofit running the program, called it a first-of-its-kind effort and investment in Black families living in Multnomah County.
"Black Resilience Fund is so grateful to have been community funded since Day 1," he said. "We are both raising money from the community and giving money back into the community, and so that is why we care so much about direct-cash assistance. No bureaucracy, no red tape, full trust that Black families know what they need to do to accomplish their wildest dreams."
Octavia Johnson and Enoch McCoy are part of the first cohort.
"Somebody's giving you a chance," Johnson said. "About four years ago, I was homeless, came from a dark place. I am a recovering addict. So coming from that place to the place that I am now means a lot. I am actually on my way to owning my own home with this program."
"It's not often that I get a chance to see Black people just come together to do something positive, and I'm actually really excited about where this program is going," McCoy said. "It feels absolutely amazing. I was in a place where I didn't really know where I was going to get to be able to be to the next level, and this just actually propelled me to where I believe I'm going to do great things."
Between December 2022 and December 2025, the Black Resilience Fund will be providing the monthly income guarantee to 25 families, with a total of 68 individuals being served through the program. Recipients will be eligible for up to $2,000 a month, depending on household income and size.
According to the nonprofit, over $350,000 has been raised this year for Black Resilience Fund’s inaugural cohort and they continue to actively seek donations with hopes to add new program participants in December 2023. Since its launch on June 1, 2020, BRF has raised more than $2.6 million for Black Portlanders.