Know Your City engages the public in art and social justice through creative placemaking projects. Our programs and publications aim to educate people to better know their communities, and to empower them to take action.
Founded in 2009, KYC cultivates the creative capacity of communities through multidisciplinary projects, such as tours, forums, publications, and youth arts education. From our inception, KYC has championed the vital role of artistic and creative expression in helping diverse audiences develop a strong sense of place through art, history, and culture.
Know Your City exists to make a significant impact on people’s lives and improve the long-term cultural health of the community. In just 6 years, we’ve collaborated with 90+ organizations on programs such as the Hidden History of Albina, a walking tour of North Portland’s African American history, the Jade Journal, a student led multilingual newspaper about the SE 82nd and Division community, "30 Flags" a prison placemaking program at CRCI led by former Board Secretary Reiko Hillyer and local artist Emily Squires, and Oregon History Comics, ten illustrated stories about some of Oregon’s least known histories. Since celebrating new leadership in November, KYC has expanded programming to reach over 1,000 individuals, including: 3 awareness events (300 attendance), 7 forums (556 attendance), 19 tours (435 attendance), and tabled at 6 community events (500 conversations). Next year, KYC is expanding our Youth Print PDX program to Boise-Eliot Humboldt and Harrison Park schools, and is also working to expand into Roosevelt High and David Douglas School District in the 2016-2017 school year.
KYC plays a unique role in the Portland region’s arts and civic environment. We strengthen the Portland region’s community fabric and inspire social change by treating critical and relevant local issues as priority subject matter. The region is and will continue to undergo changes that dramatically shift the nature of our local community and the Oregon definition of citizenship. Historically, the perspective of diverse groups of Oregonians, such as communities of color, LGBTQ Oregonians, and low income Oregonians, has often not been prioritized. The state’s population is growing rapidly and displacement from neighborhoods and cultural centers is becoming a bigger concern for many Oregonians. The history of place is in danger of being lost, creating a renewed need for cultural and historic preservation that helps generations of communities thrive. Positive social inclusion helps individuals develop skills, confidence, and habits that make individuals employable and strengthen the networks that help them find jobs. The cultural activities of KYC increases interest and investment in diverse communities as well as enhances the participation of local Oregonians to help them pursue new economic and social opportunities and ensure regional prosperity.
As an organization with a majority of staff who identify with a historically marginalized community, we intimately understand the importance of building social, economic, and political equity for all people. KYC strives for treasured community experiences that nourish a freer and empowered citizenry, encouraging everyday people to ask critical questions about public policies and our collective cultural experiences.
Who We Are
Executive Director: Cameron Whitten
Development and Communications Manager: Elizabeth Rudrud
Programs Coordinators: Melissa Lang, Lydia Grijalva
Board Members: Thomas Mosher, Molly Alloy, Christopher Coryell, Simon Tam, and Luis Torres
Serving on the Board
The Board of Directors is the breath of Know Your City. Board members support Know Your City’s mission through values-based leadership, strategic governance, and resource development. The Board is responsible of ensuring the integrity of the organization’s activities. Board involvement with Know Your City is both critical and expected.
- One year term, with eligibility for reappointment for additional terms
- Board meetings on at least a monthly basis
- Expected time commitment is at least 10 hours per month
Board Members should consider Know Your City as a philanthropic priority and make annual gifts that reflect that priority. We encourage Board Members to contribute or independently fundraise $1,000 a year.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Planning and implementation of Know Your City’s strategic plan.
- Attend board meetings and actively participate in the committee's activities.
- Participate in adopting the annual budget and monitoring financial statements.
- Being informed of, and meeting all, legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
- Contribute to an annual performance evaluation of the organization and staff.
- Ensure Know Your City’s commitment to a diverse board and staff that reflects the communities Know Your City serves.
- Participate in fundraising activities.
- Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a passion for improving the communities Know Your City aims to serve.
- Professional expertise in either law, finance, nonprofit, education, history, the arts, or
advertising/marketing is highly encouraged.
- Skills in cultivating relationships, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals.
- Motivated team builder, willingness to learn and receive trainings on board leadership.
- Excellent organizational skills, such as convening meetings, scheduling, and internal communications.
- Comfort with fundraising and resource development.
Service on Know Your City's Board of Directors is without remuneration or compensation.
For more information, respond here or contact: Lydia Grijalva, Interim Executive Director
- Problem Solving
- Strategic Planning
- Community Outreach
- Relationship Building
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 18
- 10 hours / month