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The mission of the Black United Fund of Oregon is to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon's underserved communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups. 



In 1983, leaders in North and Northeast Portland, Oregon noticed that many philanthropic organizations were providing minimal support to communities of color. To combat this inequality those same leaders started the Black United Fund of Oregon to channel charitable funds to low-income areas. 



Amina Anderson, BUF Oregon Founding President

Dr. Dorothy Alexander, First President of the Governor's Commission on Black Affairs (Oregon)

Skip Collier, Entrepreneur

Ron Herndon, Executive Director- Albina Head Start

Donna Harris, Oregon Native and long time NE Portland Resident

Rev. John Garlington



LM Alaiyo "Dr. A" Foster, Ed.D., NCC, QMHP, CCHW


Philanthropic Alignment | Asset Management | Education Programs Advocacy | Strategic Direction | Community Relations

Why she loves the Black United Fund:

A result of our efforts, interactions, and experiences, for me, learning is life. I believe learning is a life-long endeavor and experience. Learning occurs as prior knowledge merges with new information. While this happens in multiple ways, and in multiple life areas, academic learning is the the intersection of curiosity and preparation – on behalf of students, educators, and community alike. Academic learning then, is the willful effort to expand the use of one’s intellect and knowledge base; it is an active step in the journey of becoming greater, both individually and collectively. I love that we know not only that we must feed our curiosities - but we are well-positioned to help that process for others.

I love the mission and vision of the Black United Fund of Oregon. At BUF, we believe education is a catalyst of change; with resources, support, and opportunity, together we can break cycles and instead introduce and reinforce generational resiliency. At BUF, we believe we (our collective community) are the change we’ve been waiting for. At BUF, we’re here to serve. #staytuned represents all that we can conceive and bring forth in our community.

How she advances the mission of the Black United Fund: 

Strategically feeding my personal curiosities has afforded me an in-depth familiarity and broad perspective on subjects such as leadership, cultural proficiency, equity & inclusion, public health including HIV education, prevention & outreach, school and family counseling, youth social development as of course, organizational development and management. Public service has always been personally fulfilling, holding rewards of its own; I believe real-world experience allows for relationship building and furthering of my community. I encourage students’ hands-on involvement in voluntary and paid capacities to contribute to the advancement of their fields of interest as well as to understand and further their own professional and personal development. My life's work as an advocate and community leader, while in pursuit of my on academic achievements, allows me to serve the community with passion and intention. This work is a calling, not just a job. This is passion-work.

What you won't find on her resume:

I am a Portland native & I’m a serious goofball! I adore laughing and like to make others laugh as well. As serious as I am about my profession, I’m equally silly with my friends. I believe in working hard, and playing harder.

Email Dr. A at


PRogram Manager

Mentor4Success | Program Development and Evaluation | Community Relations

Why she loves the Black United Fund: Education can be used as a tool to improve economic disparities for entire communities. Supporting the educational goals of students throughout Oregon and SW Washington provides students with the tools and support they need to succeed. Tools include a general knowledge of the college acceptance and attendance process, trustworthy mentorship, and accountability. I love that BUF strives to not only help students achieve their educational goals, but also to become well-rounded students and more importantly contributing community members.  

How she advances the mission of the Black United Fund: I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Oregon. Using my background in fundraising, marketing and public outreach I assist in building relationships with key community partners and education advocates so BUF can continue to provide resources to students advancing to college. 

What you won't find on her resume: I am a fourth generation Portland native. My family has resided in the Boise-Elliot neighborhood in North Portland since the VanPort Flood in 1948. Most of my family attended and graduated from Jefferson High School…GO DEMOS!

Email Symone at



Michael Alexander | Board President

Port of Portland Commissioner, Former CEO and President of Urban League of Portland

Cobi Lewis | Board Vice President & program committee Chair

Umpqua Bank, Vice President | Director, Corporate CRA & Community Development Corporate Communications

Tamara Kennedy-Hill | Board Recording Secretary & evaluation Committee Chair

Travel Portland, Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations

Patti Miles | Property Development Committee Chair

Inici Group Inc., Senior Project Manager: Project/Construction Management

Carla Kelley | governance committee chair

Attorney, Retired Senior Counsel

Damian Crowder | Treasurer

Prosper Portland, Project Manager


Cambia Health, Oregon Government Affairs Director


Port of Portland, Director, Strategic Business Partner - Human Resources 

Tamara Brown

Heritage Bank, Vice President, Relationship Banking Officer


Laundry Service, Director of People Operations


For over 30 years, Black United Fund of Oregon has been committed to providing financial support and life-changing programs for low-income communities and communities of color in Oregon. The ultimate goal of the Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF) is to increase opportunities for growth by encouraging philanthropic activity in our state and putting funds in the hands of organizations providing resources for underserved communities. 


By offering funding support for both students looking to pursue higher education and other nonprofit organizations, Black United Fund of Oregon helps to increase opportunities for underserved communities within Portland and SW Washington. Outside of offering funding support BUF provides programing that helps support both students and nonprofit organizations in navigating the challenges that are often associated with scholarship and grant applications. BUF operates under the belief that providing these programs and resources not only equips and encourages growth in our community, but also empowers and engages our target demographic. To learn more about our education and nonprofit programs and services, visit our EQUIP (Education Programs) and ENCOURAGE (Nonprofit Programs) pages.