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: 5 stars  

The breadth of their work, from legislative action to leadership training to education to building social movements to fun community events, illustrates the organization's stragegic, cooperative approach to creating change. I don't know of another group that is able to organize a variety of communities so effectively on a range of fronts, both local and far-reaching. While many immigrant and refugee organizations focus on advocacy and serve primarily one population, C.I.O.'s diversity speaks to its focus on real unity and empowerment.

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

I'm glad to have engaged in defeating anti-immigrant ballot measures in the 2008 and 2010 elections. I've learned much from workshops and talks at C.I.O., and maybe most importantly, I have met some great friends there.

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

Obtain and allocate more resources to STRIDE and Immigration Services in order to increase civic engagement and continue to build a strong, diverse organizing base.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As the first person born in my family to immigrants from India, my experience in the United States has always had the feel of being an outsider. Watching my parents and all of my relatives navigate a new culture, political system, educational system - a place where our skin color, accent, religion was not always welcome and where our voices did not count as much as the rest. CIO has been a homecoming - a place where we reclaim our dignity by having our voices heard, by working for our rights, and by coming together as a community of people from all over the world, yet with similar challenges, we find that we are stronger together.

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

the strength of our multicultural movement, the diversity of folks that come out to support and participate in our work.

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

Build more capacity for our work. We have big ideas that would affect many lives and would improve our community for everyone.

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

THROGHOUT THE PAST TWO YEARS ME ,BAHER AND SOMEOTHER IRAQIS TRIED OUR BEST TO SERVE AND HELP THE SO MANY NEW IRAQI COMERS TO THE USA AS A REFUGEES .WITH THE HELP OF THE CIO IT WAS ROUGHLY POSSIBLE TO TO GIVE HELP AND PRESENT ASSISSTENCES TO THOSE PEOPLE . WE WORKED HARD AND EXERTED ALL AVAILABLE EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH OUR IRAQI SOCIETY IN OREGON WHICH DEALS WITH SO MANY ISSUES RELATED TO OUR COMMUNITY
WE BOTH KNOW THAT LIFE IN AMERICA GENERALLY IS NOT AN EASY GOING ONE ESPECIALLY TO IRAQIS WITH ALOT OF PTSD'S AND TRUMAS AND THE PROCESS OF RESETTLMENT IS NOT AN EASY PROCESS.LIFE HERE IS COMPLETLY DIFFERENT AND EVERY ONE IS SUFFERING IN ONE WAY OR IN ANOTHER
THE IRAQI SOCIETY OF OREGON AND WITH THE HELP OF CIO WAS ABLE TO GIVE HELP TO THOSE IRAQIS IN SOLVING THEIR PROBLEMS GIVING THEM THE NEEDED ADVICES GUIDING THEM EXPLAINING THEM THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO CULTURES AND THE SYSTEMS
GETTING MORE AND MORE DONATIONS IN RESPECT OF CLOTHES FURNATURES ETC.WE STILL LOOKING FORWARD TO GIVE MORE HELP TO ALL IRAQI TILL THEY WILL THAT THEY BELONG AND ABLE TO GO ON

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

THE SORT OF HELP THAT THE CIO GIVE TO ALL REFUGEES

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

DO NOTHING MORE THAN THEY ARE ALREADY DO

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

If one came to America as a refugee in 2007, when, how, and why can he become a member of Board of Directors in the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO)? The minimum time, I guess, would take 3 years as it happened with me, and for how, it is as simple as one is invited to apply for the Board membership, and he is there in the Board.
But it is all about the (why). Why one would become a member of CIO in three months after his arrival to America? Why three years to join the Board? Why is it CIO in the first place? The answers are simple, once you get to meet Kayse who will come instantly to meet you when Lisa tells him about the active newcomer, you will be embraced with warm hearted welcoming, unconditional acceptance and recognition, and your heart and mind will recognize this sincerity. Then Kayse, Stephanie, and Lisa (leaders of CIO) will show you the way to community activism, and as a new comer to America (AKA refugees and immigrants) who wants to be equal to other citizens of America and did his own research, you will choose to join the organization that has a holistic vision and approach, sincere to its mission to defend the rights of all newcomers.
CIO will teach you the lesson of American Democracy (People can decide their future) through involvement with allies, community activists and organizations, and that is year one. Then CIO will give you the training of (PILOT) to be a community leader and how to engage in the Democratic system. In Pilot you will meet other CIO leaders, CIO staff, and community activists who share with you your values and enthusiasm, and you all become one family, so you get the warm human relations, share the experiences with each other, and that is year two. And once you are in the community, doing your homework with all the seriousness that reflect how serious you were trained, and practicing what you learn, receiving the continued unconditional support and backup of CIO leaders and staff, I guess the time comes when you are invited in year three to join the Board.
In CIO I restored the status that I lost when I left my country, I was recognized again and I restarted my new life as a member in my new home. Immigration is an American experience, America now is moving to a multicultural community in the global world of the 21st century, and this is exactly what we do at CIO, bridging between old and new immigrants, and building the new multicultural America.

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

Supporting grassroots organizing of the newcomers (Refugees and Immigrants).

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

Support it with more time and money.

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Rating: 5 stars  

As I near graduation from CIO's Pan-Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training , I can see how much work the Center of Intercultural Organizing is putting in its effort to better our multicultural community by spreading the awareness of cultural diversity and different obstacles that the immigrants and refugees face in this country, but, more importantly, in educating and empowering immigrants to be active community leaders and understanding their roles as equally valued community members.
The PILOT program is one example of CIO's long-term vision of identifying and developing future immigrant leaders who can organize and increase community participation on the issues that affect them.
I would highly recommend the CIO to anyone who wants to be support and build a better community for everyone.

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

participating in the PILOT training. The training provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective community leader. Also, I was able to meet people from all over the world who are passionate about the same issues.

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

I would try to increase public's awareness of CIO's existence in Oregon.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As an immigrant myself, I have always thought when you come from another country, it is ok to be "othered" since this is not your land of birth. Through the Leadership training provided to me by CIO, I have learned that not only is not ok to accept this, but I also have to speak out against it. For every time I accept it, there's many, many immigrants out there who experience it and won't ever be able to speak out.
Although CIO is made up of being who come from different parts of the world, we have a common thread of having experienced social injustice ourselves or through family and friends. CIO has helped me realize that I need to be the change I wish to see around me. I may be just a tiny spark, but it takes a spark to get a fire going and pretty soon, all those around us can warm up in its glowing as we used to sing in Africa!!

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

How I speak about myself as an immigrant at work, at my community of faith, everywhere!

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

Make CIO more visible. Before I became involved with CIO in 2010, I had never heard of it!!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

in the years I worked as a policy director and education strategy coordinator for then Portland City Commissioner and now Mayor, our work with CIO not only helped inform us on an array of concerns, we worked together to solve community problems. We turned to CIO to bring together representatives from many communities too often not "at the table" to make decisions and develop policies to ensure we all work together. They are a very effective organization with strong and wise leadership. I greatly respect the work of CIO. They are continuing to build relationships which ensure that including underrepresented communities becomes the norm. The issues I worked most directly with CIO on regarded public safety and planning issues. Their participation and contributions were invaluable.

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

Together we designed the public involvement process for the Portland Plan, our longterm planning effort. We worked hard to ensure a broad representation of our communities have genuine and accessible involvement in that planning process and outcomes.

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

Provide them the time and resources to continue developing. I believe they are doing it well; they have a broad base of communities represented, work to build their leaders from within as well as reaching out to new individuals or organizations. They are strong without being strident, which I found very important in working with our City leadership. They understand well the importance of when to listen and when to make sure their points are understood, when to compromise and when to stand firm.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

As a CIO volunteer, I participated to help bring the people of refugee's together because when I was there I felt that no one had a sense of working together and to be leaders..., there was a question given to everyone individually and everyone seem to have a desire to help their own ethnic background or for their own needs and I was the only one that thought that everyone needs to work as a team and help each other because that is what I learn during my childhood days and in school!!! Also my brother (SV) and I also worked with people from a diverse background to using the camera production equipment for CIO members to learn from the studio time. I had a fun time working with people from all types; in-order to do a project it takes a lot of time and a group of people to get things done!!! I also enjoy what other cultures had to share whether it was food or stories from their cultures to jokes!!! I would encourage people from all walks of life to join or participate because they will have the tools ready to help you especially if you are a refugee or immigrant that just arrived here in the United States. This is a place where you can learn about other ethnic backgrounds and get information for any question one might have or needs help with in life and support. CIO can be a place to help make dreams or visions to come alive!

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

Listening to others on what they have to say and their concerns in life, also how to go about solving one's problem!...and to respecting others, treat others as how you would want to be treated!

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

I would try to get more young adults to participate so they can have a relation to helping the adults and vice versa, plus, I think its more fun that way...the adults could be more of a mentor and vice versa!!!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As a member of a minority CIO has taught how to be a global citizen within my diverse local community. Having participated in other immigrant organizations before, CIO engaged me in community work in a different way. Most organizations I had participated with before have a reactive approach to meet their goals; CIO,in turn, has a proactive approach to making systemic change in favor of a more just and equitable society from the bottom up...

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

The way it made me feel integrated into society as well as the way it empowered me to participate in the community creating positive change

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

Find ways to get a stable income stream to sustain all the programs, working on this at this very moment

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

This organization literally changed my life. Before my involvement with The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), I had been in the United States for almost 50 years and never felt like I belonged here. My previous attempts to get involved in civic life were met with being shut down, feeling isolated and ignored; no matter what I tried, I essentially came away with either no influence, or feeling invisible. So I stopped trying and continued to feel like I had no voice in this city or state, let alone America.

But then I was fortunate in being chosen to participate in the leadership program for first generation immigrants & refugees (Pan-Immigrant Leadership & Organizing Training or PILOT). Through this program, I learned the basics of how our city government worked, skills for effective public speaking and organizing, and so, so much more! Through this program, I found my voice and learned how to affect change. Before my year of PILOT training ended, I finally started growing roots in this country and was empowered to create change for the better in my community.

Now I am board member for this incredible organization that has touched so many lives in a very positive way.

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

the difference of my before and after CIO's PILOT program. I went from being a very uninvolved member of my community to a very active and proactive community member. Since graduating from PILOT, I had joined a few city committees (Vision Into Action, Portland Plan, ONI Budget Advisory Committee), and I am currently board president of CIO.

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

find more diverse funding streams for a solid and sustainable future. The board is currently embarking on this now.

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Review from Guidestar