Since 1998, Mercy Corps Northwest had the privilege of serving communities across the Pacific Northwest with entrepreneurial support. We proudly served as home to Oregon Women’s Business Center and microloan lender in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), and an Oregon IDA grant provider. We also hosted one of Oregon’s most impactful prison entrepreneurship programs that reduced participant recidivism rates by nearly 50 percent, and built capacity at nonprofits across Oregon and Washington as host of a regional AmeriCorps VISTA program.
The impact of this work has accumulated to $16.5 million dollars in grants and loans disbursed to entrepreneurs, more than 130,000 hours of small business education, and over twelve-thousand clients receiving services from Mercy Corps Northwest.
In tandem with the launch of our new 10-year Pathway to Possibility strategy, we have taken time to reflect on our impact as an organization. As part of this, we are announcing that we will be reviewing our approach to programming in the Pacific Northwest and are beginning to wind down direct-to-client programs. In June 2024 any remaining Mercy Corps Northwest initiatives will move under the greater Mercy Corps organization and name.
We aim to be intentional in this process by ensuring that our participants and partners receive clear communication regarding our next steps. As we move to the end of 2023, we will transition our core business development services programs to other agencies. We will continue all current projects through their completion date as we explore future opportunities.
To start, we will hand off the following programs on the following dates…
- The Oregon Women’s Business Center hosted at Mercy Corps Northwest will transition to a new home in the fall of 2023. We are currently partnering with the Small Business Administration which will be leading the recruitment process.
- The Oregon IDA Initiative program proctored from our organization will be transitioned to new providers under Neighborhood Partnerships’ leadership. We will continue to service IDA clients enrolled before 2023.
- Our small business microloan program will accept its last open applications for funding up to $10,000 in October of 2023. We will service all loans we disburse through their lifespan and refer new clients past our end date to other local providers.
We will continue to provide small business services in Southern Washington through 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I no longer be able to access Mercy Corps Northwest services?
Due to the nature of our funding, we have defined final service dates by program below. All educational offerings, loans, and Oregon IDAs will be serviced throughout their offering period.
In June of 2024, Mercy Corps Northwest will merge under the Mercy Corps name. At this time, any remaining services will be completed as part of the larger organization.
Clients will not be able to access new services past the following dates:
January 1, 2023 - Final Oregon IDA Grant Enrollment
October 1, 2023 - Final Oregon Women’s Business Center education offerings at Mercy Corps Northwest (new partner TBA)
October 31, 2023 - Final loan application date
Can I still access Oregon Women’s Business Center and business education at Mercy Corps Northwest?
Yes. The Oregon Women’s Business Center hosted at Mercy Corps Northwest will offer services through September 2023. The center will transition to a new home in the fall of 2023. We are currently partnering with the Small Business Administration which will be leading the recruitment process.
Can I enroll in the Oregon IDA initiative with Mercy Corps Northwest?
We completed our final IDA application process in January 2023. We are not accepting new savers at this time and will not re-open the program in the future. You can find a list of current Oregon IDA Initiative new providers at oregonidainitiative.org.
We will continue to service IDA clients enrolled before 2023 without interruption.
Can I apply for a small business loan at Mercy Corps Northwest?
Our small business microloan program will accept its last open applications for funding up to $10,000 through October 31, 2023. After this date, all interested applicants should visit the Small Business Administration’s loan finder to apply for loans at sba.gov/funding-programs/loans
We will continue to service all loans we disburse through October 31, 2023, for the duration of their lifespan.
I am located in Southern Washington, when will my programs close?
Southern Washington residents will have access to small business services through December 2023, with tentative access extending into June 2024. For more information, email email@example.com
I am located outside of Oregon and Southern Washington, can I access services?
Mercy Corps Northwest does not currently offer any programs outside of Oregon and Southern Washington.
What is the status of the LIFE prison and re-entry program?
Our LIFE program was put on pause at the onset of COVID-19 when visitor access was limited in regional prisons. We have since pivoted our model and are exploring new ways to share our LIFE curriculum with correctional institutions across the country. If you are interested in learning more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the status of the AmeriCorps VISTA program?
Our AmeriCorps VISTA program celebrated its final cohort of volunteers in February 2023. To learn more about the current AmeriCorps opportunities, please visit americorps.gov
What programming are you offering in Clackamas County?
We plan to partner with Clackamas County in early 2023 to offer COVID-19 relief grants and technical assistance to community-based organizations in the region. The program is not yet started and will begin between March and April of 2023. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Why have you made this decision to no longer offer these services?
Mercy Corps has a new 10-year strategy, and as a part of that, we are reviewing all of our programs to ensure they align with our strategy. We are taking the time needed to reflect and reimagine how Mercy Corps supports communities – and the most marginalized among them – in the United States, and how we can best provide meaningful, impactful support to historically marginalized communities across the country.