A bittersweet thank you for 25 years of Mercy Corps Northwest

A final letter from our executive director, Lynn Renken.

A photo of the burnside bridge in Portland, Oregon
Mercy Corps Northwest's office is pictured behind the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon.
December 27, 2023

To our community,

I am writing to you at a bittersweet moment as we mark our final month of programs at Mercy Corps Northwest. As we announced in March of this year, Mercy Corps Northwest has made a tough decision to review our program model in the Pacific Northwest and close our programs effective January 1, 2024*, to align with Mercy Corps’ 10-year Pathway to Possibility strategy.

In 1998, Mercy Corps took a stand to extend its global programs into the Pacific Northwest to support entrepreneurs with funding and small business education. In the 25 years between 1998 and 2023 – our team has worked with thousands of individuals and families across Oregon and Washington with the belief that we are stronger with a thriving small business economy. This foundation allowed us to explore new models for working in our community, from acting as home to a local AmeriCorps VISTA program to offering entrepreneurial education for women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility under our LIFE program.

We reflect on this time with gratitude to each of you.

You have taught us how small businesses such as Lami Autobody give us hope and purpose by building businesses that serve those beyond ourselves. You have motivated us by dreaming up businesses that challenge the status quo – creating inclusive training programs at Flexible Fitness, spaces of belonging at Paz Hair Lounge, and offering a voice to justice-involved individuals across the nation. For this, and the contributions made by each of you, our community will forever be stronger.

It is undeniable to look out at the landscape of providers today and see one that is more robust than it was 25 years ago. We end our programs with a remaining network of outstanding organizations in the area committed to supporting each of you into the future. We are confident that our partners will provide the education, financing, and entrepreneurial support that you once found with us.

Wishing you peace and joy through the entirety of the holiday season.

Lynn Renken, Executive Director, Mercy Corps Northwest 

*If you are a current loan client, your service and automatic payments will continue uninterrupted, and we will reach out with details of any future changes. 

Looking for services? 
Explore a current directory of active organizations in Oregon and Washington that provide services similar to Mercy Corps Northwest here. As of January 1, 2024, all Mercy Corps Northwest client programs will come to completion and no new services will be offered. For questions regarding past client services, remaining programs, or the current and active Clackamas County CBRA program, please find contacts here.

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