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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Oregon Rural Action Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Coronavirus Relief Food Banks, Energy Resources Conservation & Development, Environment, Food

Mission: We are working to promote social justice, agricultural and economic sustainability, and stewardship of the regions land, air and water.

Programs: Oregon rural action is a member-led organization. Its work is defined and carried out by ora members and concerned rural citizens. The organization is made up of farmers and ranchers, working people and families, acting to make the switch from an unsustainable, distant wall street economy to homegrown prosperity for and by local people by creating environmentally, socially and economically, sustainable food and energy systems. Ora members work at all levelsfrom local to nationalto impact policy and implement on-the-ground projects and programs towards our common mission and priorities.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Bill

Board Member

Rating: 5

ORA is the go to it community organizing force in eastern Oregon. There are chapters in Ontario (Malheur County) an d La Grande (Union County). There are also four active action teams--health care reform, renewable energy, food and ag policy and social justice. ORA completed a five county organizing assessment in 2017 in which 134 one-on-one conversations were held with a cross-section of residents in Malheur, Baker, Union, Umatilla and Morrow counties. Based on findings of the assessment, the ORA board adopted a five-year organizing/expansion plan in January 2018. Plans include hiring a staff director, an office assistant, four organizers , a communications specialist and a half time development officer by 2021. For information see oregonrural.org

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action is one of the most effective organizations I have seen in 40 years of organizing and social justice advocacy. It is effectively building alliances between farmers, ranchers, and residents of eastern Oregon. ORA has strengthened community, affected social policy most recently helping secure amendments designed to protect small farmers and producers in federal food safety legislation, introduced school children in several eastern Oregon communities to school gardens and the benefits of locally grown food, been a voice for reason, developed an exceptional web presence. It has truly sowed seeds of change that are sprouting and prospering throughout multiple eastern Oregon counties.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action is a vital member of Eastern Oregon, the State of Oregon and as a member of Western Organization of Resource Councils to the whole of the west. The members and staff work for a more sustainable situation in rural Oregon. The experiences that touch my heart and soul the most are the campaigns for Justice for All and local food awareness. This organization has shown incredible courage and strength to go where others have feared to tread. Also very inspired by the younger generations that are giving their lives and expertise to the causes of Oregon Rural Action. Proud to be associated with this organization and definitely ranks as a GREAT NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A truly indispensable organization for life east of the
Cascades. Working tirelessly for sustainability in regards to food systems, renewable energy, social justices and accountability of elected officials. Also working with local, state and federal legislation that will make a difference far into the future. I am most grateful for the model of organizers supporting members to become active instead of the usual top down models. This is a big shift for most people to understand and Oregon Rural Action is staying with the mission and vision. As a member, I am grateful.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Oregon Rural Action is the best grass roots organization in eastern
Oregon to encourage the essence of community.... working together through educating everyone about sustainable living for the benefit of all.
I look forward to being involved in many projects in the future and support
all of their efforts wholeheartedly.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORA is great. We are filling a big niche here in EO. It make me proud to be a member/volunteer. Peter

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to northeast Oregon roughly six months ago, and quickly became acquainted with Oregon Rural Action and their work. After attending a focus session I realized how necessary this organization is in the community based on the large turnout and enthusiasm of all the members. I immediately felt part of something larger than myself and was impressed with how organized, coordinated and focused the staff and volunteers are. I look forward to doing my part in helping this organization grow and prosper.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORA has a way of bringing folks to together on a wide range of issues relevant to our community. I appreciate the educational aspects of elements such as gardening, emphasis on local products and alternative energy. Thanks ORA for being there for NE Oregon!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action provides the citizens of Eastern Oregon with the tools needed to create a community that actively works towards economic health. Through community organizing this organization has begun discussions on food security, local economics and social justice issues. These discussions have led to on-the-ground changes: greater access to local foods, enhancement of local food pantries and greater collaboration among the organizations that are working on similar issues.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I came to the rural northeastern corner of Oregon at the start of 2008 to work for Oregon Rural Action as a community organizer. Having grown up in a town of 250 people in the northeastern corner of Washington, the communities where Oregon Rural Action works as well as the issues we work on seemed very familiar. Despite the can-do individualist streak that is fairly common in more remote areas like this, these issues are bigger than any one person. They require people to come together and work together to solve them. And that's just what Oregon Rural Action does...

ORA empowers everyday people to have a voice in their community, in their state, and in their nation. It helps them learn the key skills to be effective spokespeople and leaders in their communities. In its nonpartisan stance, ORA strikes a crucial balance between traditionally polarized camps of liberals and conservatives, giving people a place to come together, to discuss the deeper root causes of these issues. Moreover, there is no other group like ORA in Eastern Oregon, so ORA fills a vital niche in civic engagement and the pursuit of strong and thriving rural communities.

After thousands of miles driving through rural Oregon as an organizer, countless meetings, long days and nights, participation in inspiring actions and activities, and the chance to speak with a wide array of people, I am proud to work for Oregon Rural Action - first as a community organizer and now as Communications Director. Moreover, I also pay dues as a Sustainers Circle member and give over a hundred dollars a year to the organization so that our wonderful membership can better achieve its mission.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action is a driving force in bringing alternative energy, farmer's markets, community garden's and general organizing of under-served/under-recognized groups throughout northeast Oregon. They have a diverse staff that can tackle the greatest of problems; taking things on the road to a better world.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of ORA since it was organized. When I was a practicing attorney I provided pro bono legal services to the organization, Now that I am a full-time farmer I participate as a local producer. The organization actively promotes social justice, local economy and sustainable living. I applaud the organization for managing to focus on issues that are inclusive, rather than issues that would divide us into opposing camps.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a member and volunteer for Oregon Rural Action (ORA) for nearly 10 years. I have participated in and watched how ORA has made a difference in our local community. From several successes in land-use issues, to helping with veterans, to starting up the La Grande Farmers Market, ORA has made a huge difference in the lives of many citizens of the La Grande area. Certainly, ORA has made a difference for me, and I am proud to be a member, a donor, and a volunteer.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ORA is a positive presence in the community. They serve to organize and educate people about important issues regarding justice, agriculture, the environment and the economy. Hats off to an energetic and dedicated staff - many thanks for all they do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I am new to the program having joined one year ago. I wanted to try my hand at gardening, and signed up for a garden plot. I was able to help only a little, but managed to help with getting the garden plots set up, and helped with spreading wood chips for walking paths. Sadly enough, I could not make most meetings as I work for law enforcement and work many evenings. Even worse, I missed the potluck and the cider making event! A chance to participate in making apple cider was disappointing to me, but perhaps next year I can be there if the opportunity comes up.
I want to tell you about my gardening experience. I learned that I needed more room!!! Beggers cannot be choosers however, so I made do with my little plot. I had some mishaps, and I had some good results. I also had some volunteer sunflowers grow in my lttle plot that I did not want, but since they were so persistant I didnt have the heart to kill them. They grew, and grew, and grew. HUGE! Jack in the Beanstalk could have used them on his mission. Well, I figured the birds could enjoy the seeds. This coming Summer I have other plans however. I want pumpkins, and Hubbard squash. No Sunflowers!
I was able to attend a class on composting which was informative. I met some wonderful people. I watched the progression of everyones garden and enjoyed walking around their plots and seeing what was growing. I learned what worked and didnt work for me, and had good results with my tomatoes which I shared with people. My squash did not have quite enough time to really ripen, but hopefully this year the weather will cooperate. Just want to say that this was a great experience for me.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I love ORA and ORA loves me. (Or at least keeps my heart in its heart.)

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 3

ORA keeps me informed and gives me information that I care about, which is to be connected to grassroots activities and promote sustainability in eastern Oregon.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action does its best to promote sustainability in northeastern Oregon. I have benefited from their support of the farmers market and learned from their support of alternative energy.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action (ORA) is the go-to organization when a community in Eastern Oregon finds itself with an issue that isn't being resolved through the usual local government channels. ORA also collaborates with other like-minded organizations in the Northwest to get state level actions and legislation that have a positive effect for rural communities. ORA also partners with it's sister organizations under the Western Organization of Resource Councils umbrella to effect national actions and legislation that have impacts on the rural communities of Western United States.The ORA staff is probably the most effective group of people working for a non-profit that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They have increased the membership by relativly large numbers in this sparsley populated region and increased the local funding well beyond the goals set by the board.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have watched our local ORA office evolve into a respected and influential positive force within the community mainly due to the drive and enthusiasm of young volunteers and staff members like Nella Parks, and 'retired' volunteers like Margaret Mead and Bill Whitaker.
I count on our local ORA staff and volunteers to act positively in our community without personal political agendas, social bias, or economic discrimination, supporting positive lifestyle changes for all local residents.
As a Master Gardener, mentor small business owner and school district employee I turn to ORA as a resource for reference and educational information, as a supportive source to assist myself and other area residents attain a healthier, more self-sufficient lifestyle, and also as a vehicle to create and promote worthy causes and educational programs within the community to improve the health and well-being of children and families.
ORA is a socially and environmentally responsible regional non-profit which networks and partners with a variety of area organizations and agencies to create, promote, and/or physically support a number of diverse area projects and programs such as (my favorites): the Community Garden, Farmer's Market and school lunch nutritional programs.
I am confident that when ORA is involved in a program or project, effective and efficient policies and procedures will be incorporated to successfully complete objectives and goals.
I approve of the way ORA staff and volunteers 'walk the walk' and, through modeling, set a higher standard for us all to follow.
Generally speaking, ORA improves the quality of life for local communities, and I am proud to be a member.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORA is a great way to build our community in a way that is positive and makes a real difference in the quality of life locally. Great staff, worthwhile projects and so much possibility for building a sustainable future for all. Support ORA and please volunteer and share your expertise and energy to benefit your local community. Join the energy committee right now because we need your help in fulfilling the many excellent projects we are currently working on. Also we need to double our membership in the next year. Share and recruit all your friends and lets build a better future together. Kudos to Nella for her excellent leadership on setting goals and actions for the Energy Committee. Keep up the great work Nella.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While I'm merely a supportive member, rather than an actively participatory one, I have been hugely impressed by the quality of the staff ORA has attracted and maintained. These young and not-so-young people continue to amaze with the programs they design and implement and the level of commitment shown not only by the staff but by the committed volunteers making them happen. The Farmer's Market, the Community Garden, the Farm-to-School program are but a few.

The depth and breadth of the issues addressed can be noted in their regular e-newsletter.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 4

I enjoy being a part of ORA because it's an easy way to get involved with community in ways that matter to me.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have never seen such an active and inspired group in this community. ORA is an asset.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

From farmers market to solar education, ORA is a great local community organization. While not always taking on controversial issues, they provide a grounded perspective and balance to a community that needs it.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action is a refreshing breath of air in La Grande. It is an exciting group of people dedicated to community and all the things I care about - community garden, good food in schools, farmer's market, and much more.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Great website...lotsa good information and ways to get active, meet people, do some great stuff!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action developed from the Western Organization of Resource Councils in 2001. Our La Grande group is known as the Blue Mountain Chapter. Sometimes we network with the other ORA chapters in Pendleton, Ontario and Baker City and it’s a great way to meet others that are actively working on rural issues. ORA gives these great volunteers and staff a way to increase effectiveness and to feel that wonderful spirit of community and diversity. Each chapter is member organized and goals are set to meet the needs of each area so all of us are heard and can find a way to be in service. Staff and members work together, networking with local groups to make changes that help areas be more productive in a holistic sense.


Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2001 I joined ORA and have watched this small group grow larger and more effective. We have tackled many local issues, some in conjunction with the Western Organization of Resource Councils or other groups and some on our own. Many projects have worked, such as community gardens, Food to School, Farmers Market, the Solar Fair. A few haven't been successful, like getting the city to allow chickens and rabbits in town and a solar ordinance, but we will try again. We have a dynamic staff, good leadership and have grown in numbers.

Those good vibes we all get from participating in our communities are palpable at our gatherings, like gardening or potlucks. Designing and putting in a sprinkler system at the gardens was hot, hard work, but fun to watch all levels of expertise work together, the young learning with the elders.

We have some issues, like local fund raising has been weak. So its good to see reviews showing up here, and I think the reviews will be great for the most part. We will continue to move towards more local support financially, the rest I think we've got down pretty well.

Thanks for putting this project together.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

ORA has kept the public informed on a number of programs to help us out here in the rural area of east Oregon. From community events to what's going on at our local farmers markets, their website has quite a bit of information.
One thing that would be good to see is more work on community outreach to the hungry. In living in an agriculture area plus and economically depress area, there can be ways to help each other.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is great volunteering for Oregon Rural Action and feeling like I am part of a community. I also appreciate the interesting discussions and focus on addressing root causes of issues.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've watched ORA accomplish great things for local communities in eastern Oregon - starting and supporting farmer's markets, developing a renewable energy grant program with Union County, running the community garden, the list of successes is long.

Even more important is ORA provides a voice for progressive change from our thinly populated corner of the state, heard in Salem, across the West and in Washington D.C.

Review from Guidestar

Jeffrey C.

Donor

Rating: 5

ORA is a indispensable organization for our small rural community. They are constantly advocating on our behalf, strengthening the county through sustainable projects such as farm to school and community gardens, and furthering environmental awareness in our area. Thanks so much for all you do!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORA inspires the young and old in our community to work together to help make our town/world a better place. In the 9 years that I have been a member, they have worked hard to find the common connection we all have to help us to realize that we can work together for the common good. Whether that is for a thriving Farmers Market, a community garden, coordinating a solar fair, working through the legislature on agribusiness issues to assure that small local farmers wouldn't be driven out out of business, launching the first Farm to School program and/or fostering the vision to help develop a plan for a sustainable economy, especially in our small rural community. The meetings are buzzing with idea's and energy and the ORA directors and volunteers are helping to make them happen. As a group, instead of watching the future speed towards us out-of-control, we have made positive changes for our community and know with confidence that we can make more!

Review from Guidestar

Mike S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ORA has given countless hours to our community in the areas of sustainable foods, healthy eating in schools, and support for farming and ranching. I live in La Grande, Oregon and out Farmers Market (facilitated by Oregon Rural Action) is one of the greatest gifts we have as a community.

Liz A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action has been a driving force in establishing the local community garden and keeping ongoing communication and activity between the garden, the community and the local food bank.
The staff are all very involved in assisting the local chapters and also with locating resources to assist in educating the community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If every region in the country had an organization like Oregon Rural Action the nation would be a much better off. Oregon Rural Action is saying no to the civil cold war being played out in the media. We are creating venues for people from all backgrounds to interact, learn, and create real, workable solutions that promote sustainability.

Oregon Rural Action will be strengthened by increasing local fundraising so that it is not so dependent on foundations.

Review from Guidestar

Christopher J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Oregon Rural Action has played a vital role in our local community. From projects like the community gardens to its involvement in farmers' market and sustainable food efforts. Staffed by some of the most engaging, bright, and passionate individuals - they are helping our community ascend into perspectives, practices, and ways of life. Thanks ORA.

Review from Guidestar