10 Portland Children’s Charities You Can Support

Portland is a compassionate city and Portlanders care about all of the members of the community. It’s one of the things that makes living here so rewarding. We’ve put together a list of ten charities in the area that directly benefit the children of our community and around the world. These organizations do great work to help kids deal with cancer, economic hardship, and limited opportunities.

If you are interested in supporting these charities that help children in Portland, contact any organization through their website and learn more. Many of them gratefully accept financial donations and may have volunteer programs so you can really feel like you’re making a difference. 

1. Self Enhancement, Inc.

Since 1981, Self Enhancement, Inc. has been dedicated to guiding underserved youth in Portland towards realizing their full potential. This is done through academic support and a series of services geared towards African American students and their families, as well as other individuals and families living in poverty or seeking culturally responsive services. Self Enhancement Inc. believes every child has a gift, gives hope to young people, enhances the quality of community life, teaches them that “Life has Options,” and helps people overcome cultural, educational, and economic barriers. 

Self Enhancement, Inc.

2. Ukandu

Ukandu is a unique and rewarding experience that brings camping and outdoor activities to children and families impacted by childhood and adolescent cancer. Through donations, children and families enjoy campfires, camaraderie, horseback riding, rock walls, hiking, swimming, and more. Ukandu believes that despite their illnesses all children deserve a childhood full of fun, hope, joy, community, laughter, and excitement. Ukandu offers great programs like Family Camp, Ukandu Teen Retreat, Ukandu Family Reunion, Ukandu Virtual Camp, and more!  


3. Friends of the Children – Portland

Friends of the Children is more than just a youth mentoring program although they do offer the only long-term professional mentoring program in the United States. By providing youth with a consistent and caring adult the organization helps nurture long-lasting relationships with youth who have experienced adversity and hardships. Friends of the Children helps youth realize their potential to become successful students and citizens and hires and trains full-time paid professional mentors called Friends that work with eight to ten youth for twelve-plus years in school, home, and the community. The result is empowered youth with strong life skills, healthy relationships, and tools to succeed.

Friends of the Children Portland

4. Sail2Change

Sail2Change is a unique organization that believes in empowering Portland area high-school youth through alternative outdoor activities. It also helps them build strong relationships within the community and explore opportunities for future success. The goal of Sail2Change is for each child to have a post-high school plan, learn new skills, build self-confidence, and create goals and plans for life-long success. By teaching the youth the skill of sailing, they learn to overcome obstacles, chart their own courses in life, accept challenges, work as a community, and build relationships. Sail2Change also offers mentorship, tutoring, job readiness, college preparation, and career opportunities in the maritime and marine science fields. 


5. Child Centered Solutions

Child Centered Solutions is an organization that works tirelessly to protect the rights of children in high-conflict family disputes. The goal of Child Centered Solutions is to give a voice to children through community and outreach. CCS focuses on issues of divorce, absent parents, step-families, same-sex partners, and at-home conflicts that have negative, long-lasting effects on the child. This includes a higher rate of juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy and drug use, and lower rates of educational success. Child Centered Solutions provides professional training seminars for lawyers and judges and provides community education for parents, psychologists, and counselors who work with children in high-conflict family situations.   

Child Centered Solutions

6. Child Foundation

The Child Foundation helps children stay in school in spite of economic hardship at home. This international organization sponsors children who are in great financial need, who are orphaned or living in emergency situations where access to education is limited or non-existent. Child Foundation works to help children and families in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, and Tajikistan. Learn more about how to support Child Foundation by shopping at AmazonSmile, donating to Afghanistan Crisis Fund or Weaving a Future program, attending Child Foundation’s back-to-school fundraiser, sponsoring a child, or helping bring digital education to Afghan youth.  

Child Foundation

7. Children’s Cancer Association

Children’s Cancer Association provides programs for young cancer patients to find joy through song, friendship, or nature. Children faced with lengthy treatments and hospitalizations often feel isolated, anxious, or sad, and Children’s Cancer Association helps make their healthcare experience more positive. The JoyRx Music program allows young patients to experience the power of healing through music with trained music specialists in person, virtually, or online. Patients can watch a live music session, play an instrument of their choice, take music lessons, request a song, or sing along. 

The JoyRx Mentorship program inspires laughter and distraction with the help of a trained, adult volunteer who provides emotional support to young patients. They use toys, games, and activities, and provide support to parents who endure the hardship of long hospital stays with their children. JoyRx Nature connects young patients and their families with an amazing experience at the Caring Cabin on the Oregon coast surrounded by 24 acres of woods, wildlife, and a breathtaking lake. The no-cost, five-day retreat is a great way to spend precious time together, relax and rejuvenate, and build memories.

Children’s Cancer Association

8. The Dreaming Zebra Foundation

The Dreaming Zebra Foundation encourages children to embrace their own uniqueness and express themselves in artistic ways. It encourages young people to follow their dreams through art and music. The Dreaming Zebra Foundation provides art and music free of charge to schools and community organizations so all children, regardless of financial situations, can be involved in art education.   

The Dreaming Zebra Foundation

9. Imagine Scholar

Imagine Scholar brings personalized education to motivated youth from disadvantaged communities in South Africa’s rural Nkomazi region. The organization empowers the next generation of African leaders through creative, multilayered development. Imagine Scholar equips youth with the power to shape their world through integrity, skills, and impactful mindsets.

Imagine Scholar

10. No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry has a single goal and that is to put an end to childhood hunger. It is well understood that children need access to nutritious food if they are to grow, be healthy, and thrive. Poor nutrition and lack of food in the homes of children make learning more difficult and lead to future health issues. No Kid Hungry partners with organizations so children have access to nutritious meals. This includes a school breakfast, summer meals, afterschool meals, food skills education, research and policy, and advocacy. Learn more about donating, starting a fundraising campaign, or attending an event to help No Kid Hungry today.

No Kid Hungry

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