CENTER FOR INTERCULTURAL ORGANIZING

Rating: 4.89 stars   70 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Race

Location: 700 N Killingsworth Street Portland OR 97217 USA

Mission: The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) is a diverse, grassroots membership organization working to build a multi-racial, multicultural movement for immigrant and refugee rights.
Results: Over nearly a decade, CIO has engaged thousands of individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, trained new immigrant and refugee community leaders, produced hundreds of educational events and mobilized countless immigrant and refugee community members to participate in civic life, and continually responded to individual incidents of discrimination and harassment in our community as they arise.
Target demographics: immigrants and refugees from over 70 countries of origin.
Direct beneficiaries per year: hundreds of immigrants and refugees, who together advocate for just policies that will improve the lives of thousands
Geographic areas served: Oregon and Southwest Washington
Programs: Community Education: CIO educates immigrants, refugees and U.S.-born allies on pressing community issues and strengthens and supports existing efforts to bring visibility to immigrant and refugee struggles. Civic Engagement and Policy Advocacy: Our civic engagement program provides a pathway for immigrants and refugees to participate in democratic processes through training programs, hands-on projects and collective action that produce concrete improvements in their lives. Organizing and Mobilization: CIO assists immigrant and refugee community members in building the organizing skills necessary to impact policies that affect them and to work collaboratively, mobilizing diverse constituencies. Intergenerational Leadership Development: CIO develops new leaders through a signature yearlong leadership development program, through strategic trainings, and through on-the-ground leadership positions within our campaigns.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

The Center for Intercultural Organizing is the only group I know that is consciously working for the integration of all ethnic diversity in the community. It provides a model of what an inclusive society looks like when diversity takes the lead. There are many organizations that seek to "help" various groups assimilate and integrate on the terms of the mainstream society - and there are organizations who help newcomers, whatever their background, to get settled in their new home. But CIO is the one that's trying to actually break down the civic barriers that exist so we can all be in the same room together - without diluting our identities.

I've been trying to work with CIO since the director and his wife founded the Community Language and Culture Bank in the early part of this century. Their multicultural festival in the park to reframe the dialogue after Sept 11 was a major achievement.

Over the years, we have had cause to come together, and I anticipate, with my organization People-Places-Things to work with them by doing direct service organizing.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the effectiveness of their legislative campaigns, their workshops, and the personal interactions with their staff and and the graduates of their pilot program. They've also let us use their office for events I've held with other groups.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Improve internal/external communication!

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Rating: 5 stars  

This nonprofit started with an idea after 9/11. How do immigrants integrate into our community for the positive. I have watched CIO mature into a wonderful organization for immigrants, helping them to become confident, needed, and understood. It gives them a place where they can feel welcomed, helped, and gives them the confidence and training to go out into their communities to serve others. It is quite a unique organization. It is one that I can totally support.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have attended many events at CIO. Their last fund raising/celebration event was truly wonderful. There were some 450+ people in attendance from many countries, ethnicities, faiths, and educational backgrounds. I said to myself, "This is the way the world should be". Everyone was sharing in conversation, eating together, being entertained, and giving to an organization in which we all believe deeply.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't know what changes I would make. From what I have seen, it functions pretty well as an organization. I am sure like with any organization, there are times folks bump heads, but they all seem to work it out. I don't live close enough to see their day-to-day dealings.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I came here as a refugee and wanted to make a difference for my community that was suffering from poverty, isolation and war trauma. In the CIO, I found the training that has helped me not only help my community but connect to leaders of other immigrant and refugee communities and also people of color in the United States. The skills I learned are so valuable, but the relationships are even more. Thank you, CIO!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Graduate of the Pan Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training (PILOT) Program

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the donors and supporters

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As a person who believes in a multicultural society that benefits and includes all, I have found the Center for Intercultural Organizing to be a place where I can act on that belief. As a US-born American, I feel it is my job to help welcome the newcomers to the United States by ensuring our laws, policies and community are fair and just. The CIO gives allies like me ways in which we can be effective in advocating for justice. Through trainings like Refugee and Immigrant Solidarity Education (RISE), I learned the issues and challenges immigrants face and was able to put this information into change through activites at CIO. I recommend everyone in Oregon who cares about racial equity and immigrant rights to join this organization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Being part of a cadre of allies trained through workshops to make a difference in the lives of our newest neighbors.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Endow it with funds to sustain CIO for the long haul.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I love this place , the CIO. We need more people and groups who actually care about the little guy or gal no matter what they do or where they're from. People who volunteer for CIO are sincerely trying to make the world a better place.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the Somali Youth Organization flower is rewarding because of their newfound involvement and empowerment.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them get higher visibility on local TV and encourage more resources for acquiring jobs.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been looking for a place like CIO for a long time. Having grown up in Portland, and attending a predominantly White, Middle Class college in Portland, as a person of color, I began to feel a bit isolated. This is the first time that I have felt comfortable with my ethnicity in my work environment. CIO does a great job at including and appreciating all of its volunteers, I truly feel like this is a second home. CIO works hard to represent and advocate for immigrant and refugees, who are often taken advantage of marginalized in our society. Each and every member of CIO is welcomed as extended family!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a volunteer and meeting other members and employees.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would fund it more! We need more basic supplies such as office phones, desks, and more space! Also, being able to higher more of our interns would be great too!

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Center for Intercultural Organizing is one of the most progressive immigrant rights organization that I personally know of.
The determination to create unity with immigrant groups and other local organization for a larger movement of equity is uncanny.
I have been involved as a volunteer, staff and now support from another city as a donor. I greatly believe in the work that CIO does and I know how hard the staff and volunteers work to ensure community progress.
CIO empowers people and creates future leaders.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have gain leadership skills, insight on the workings of city government. Eventually this helped me make the decision t persuade my MA in Public Administration

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Admin staff. The work occuring at CIO is extremely valuable. It would be great if more staff could be hired to focus on admin stuff so that the program managers can focus on campaigns/programs and services

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Anna, and I have been involved with the Center for Intercultural Organizing for 10 year. I arrived to Portland, OR over 10 years ago from Poland to participate in an exchange program. I always had a strong desire to help immigrants and refugees. I was very fortunate to meet two community organizers Kayse Jama and Stephanie Stephens. At that time, I offered to help them at the small office in Portland. I was amazed to find a circle of new friends who became my new family. I was glad to help them to organize the 1st Global Portland Festival, which happened on the first anniversary of September 11th. Our mission was to bring people together and support each other in this hard time. After the first few years of their work, CIO changed their focus towards building power in immigrant and refugee communities through many different fields: education, civic engagement, leadership, and so on. It was a pleasure to see them grow. I attended Portland State University and received a degree in International Studies. Then I participated in the short faculty led program to Cyprus where I learned about the history of Cyprus. That experience allowed me to realize that I should pursue my master's degree in International Conflict Resolution and help others. Even though, I had a lot of going on, I always new that CIO advocates for the rights of innocent people, and I always found my way back to CIO. If you are an immigrant or refugee, you need to have a place like CIO that always has it's door open for people, for an advise, for comfort. They represent all people no matter what their socio-economical status is. They build bridges between communities by educating young community leaders through the program called Portland Immigrant and Refugee Leadership Program (PILOT). I never had an experience such as this. I met a lot of wonderful young people with a lot of potential who are, in the future, going to make a difference. We went through the leadership training that allowed us to learn about basics of city government, introduction of community organizing, politics of oppression, issue and campaign planning, cross-cultural community movement building, conflict resolution, and media strategy. The trainers encouraged us to go back to our respected communities and become engaged, to have an impact, to make a difference. This leadership program gave us "wings." It allows us to connect and learn about other communities. CIO organizes a lot of wonderful events that empower men and women from difference cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. They provide many workshops. They have a Media Project that trains community members on how to use media to serve the community. There are many goals that CIO has that focus on supporting people by educating them, providing civic engagement, community organizing, mobilization, leadership, and help with immigration issues. At this moment, I am on the board of directors, and I am really proud to be part of their mission. I am amazed by their ability to stand for ALL. It is the only non profit that serves in such a huge capacity. And, we all have to work together to build one safe community for our children and for the future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I became an inspired, empowered community leader.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

bring it more funding, so it can function at it's full capacity. They operate without an office assistant. Structure is very important, and that would help them to stay more organized.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As an Ethiopian immigrant who has migrated to the US in the 70's, I found CIO to be an organization uniquely poised to hold a much needed safe space for all immigrants and refugees to have the ability to express their needs in their own voices.
Personally, as a new board member, I have felt that I have found "home" among people with similar lived experiences and the forum to voice them.
I am honoured to be part of CIO.
Assefash

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Finding "home" with others with similar lived experiences and hold safe space for all the voices.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Participate in on going fund- raising process to ensure viability and amazing growth of CIO.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

I came to united state of america in Jan. 2010, and I was afraid from what I will facing here when I decide to start my new life as an immigrant.
And too many people scary me about the life here, especially with different traditions between my old life and my new one.
But when I met some people here, belong to CIO organization, they told me to come down and everything will be fine, as much as I would like.
They prepared everything to me to start my new life here and guide me to the right way to living here in peace and with lovely people who belong to CIO organization.
And later on I get from them training to have experience to help the new immigrants and refugees just like what I got from the CIO members when I arrived here.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

do much they can to help people and new immigrants

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

to give more time to help the new immigrants even with little things

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Review from Guidestar