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The List: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon

Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For project attracted more than 150 nonprofits from around the state from a variety of sectors, including social services and environmental advocacy.  More than 5,000 employees and volunteers filled out the survey, rating their satisfaction with work environment, mission and goals, career development and learning, benefits and compensation, and management and communications.
Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For project attracted more than 150 nonprofits from around the state from a variety of sectors, including social services and environmental advocacy.  More than 5,000 employees and volunteers filled out the survey, rating their satisfaction with work environment, mission and goals, career development and learning, benefits and compensation, and management and communications. Here is the list of the 2015 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon, including short profiles of new entrants to the list this year. 

JUMP TO: Medium, small organizations; Working for equality, inside and out

LARGE ORGANIZATIONS

50 OR MORE OREGON EMPLOYEES

1. Rogue Credit Union | Medford

Oregon employees/volunteers: 324

Overall score: 527.99 

2. Bridgeway Recovery Services | Salem

Tim Murphy, executive director of Bridgeway Recovery Services, set the tone for the culture he wanted to create on the very first day this Salem-based drug rehab and addiction recovery center opened in 2009. Customer service and care are the center of this organization’s culture and mission. Every employee is conscious of how they are presenting themselves and interacting with others, says Renee Hancock, director of human resources. “We want this to be a place of refuge. Employees need to be conscious of how they are interacting,” says Hancock.

The culture stresses transparency. All staffers take part in monthly meetings. When they first start at Bridgeway, employees go through an orientation on workplace culture and ethics boundaries. The organization took part in the survey for the first time this year because it wanted to recognize the good work and dedication employees have to its culture and mission.

Oregon employees/volunteers: 97

Overall score: 508.79 

3. The Nature Conservancy | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 85

Overall score: 498.63 

4. Self Enhancement | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 101

Overall score: 496.02 

5. Maps Credit Union | Salem

Oregon employees/volunteers: 200

Overall score: 494.26 

6. Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst | Lake Oswego

Oregon employees/volunteers: 315

Overall score: 493.66 

7. Energy Trust of Oregon | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 99

Overall score: 493.60 

8. Childpeace Montessori | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 60

Overall score: 488.16

9. Nursingale | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 73

Overall score: 488.03 

10. Life Flight Network | Aurora

Oregon employees/volunteers: 300

Overall score: 486.34 

11. Community Vision | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 225

Overall score: 485.71 

12. Pathway Enterprises | Medford

Oregon employees/volunteers: 135

Overall score: 485.59 

13. DePaul Industries | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 58

Overall score: 483.09 

14. Willamette Family | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 200

Overall score: 479.73 

15. Transition Projects | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 87

Overall score: 479.09 

16. OCHIN | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 187

Overall score: 475.60 

17. Cascade Health Solutions | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 164

Overall score: 473.59 

18. Capital Manor Retirement Community | Salem

Oregon employees/volunteers: 175

Overall score: 470.62 

19. B’nai B’rith Camp | Beaverton

Oregon employees/volunteers: 68

Overall score: 468.98 

20. Emerald People’s Utility District | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 70

Overall score: 467.63 

21. Wauna Credit Union | Clatskanie

Oregon employees/volunteers: 92

Overall score: 466.23 

22. Alvord-Taylor | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 260

Overall score: 463.81 

23. Dallas Retirement Village | Dallas

Oregon employees/volunteers: 280

Overall score: 461.93 

24. South Coast Business Employment Corporation | Coos Bay

Oregon employees/volunteers: 60

Overall score: 461.08

25. ColumbiaCare Services | Medford

Oregon employees/volunteers: 380

Overall score: 458.42 

26. Living Opportunities | Medford

Oregon employees/volunteers: 160

Overall score: 457.11 

27. Metropolitan Family Service | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 85

Overall score: 456.99 

28. Health Republic Insurance | Lake Oswego

Oregon employees/volunteers: 52

Overall score: 456.02 

29. United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon & SW Washington | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 178

Overall score: 455.32 

30. Outside In | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 150

Overall score: 453.25 

31. Northwest Family Services | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 67

Overall score: 452.98 

32. BestCare Treatment Services | Redmond

Oregon employees/volunteers: 150

Overall score: 450.92 

33. Abilitree | Bend

Oregon employees/volunteers: 60

Overall score: 449.79 

34. Ride Connection | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 84

Overall score: 447.21

Click through for medium organizations

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MEDIUM ORGANIZATIONS

20 TO 49 OREGON EMPLOYEES

JUMP TO: Largesmall organizations

1. Our House | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 38

Overall score: 518.52 

2. College Possible | Gresham

Oregon employees/volunteers: 20

Overall score: 501.66 

3. Willamette University MBA | Salem

Oregon employees/volunteers: 40

Overall score: 498.40 

4. Saving Grace | Bend

Oregon employees/volunteers: 24

Overall score: 496.31 

5. CASA for Children of Multnomah, Washington & Columbia Counties | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 23

Overall score: 496.19 

6. Community and Shelter Assistance | Sherwood

Oregon employees/volunteers: 24

Overall score: 495.97 

7. Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 28

Overall score: 489.22 

8. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 29

Overall score: 488.15 

9. Portland YouthBuilders | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 24

Overall score: 486.96 

10. Rural Development Initiatives | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 29

Overall score: 485.69 

11. Trailhead Credit Union | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 26

Overall score: 482.07 

12. Raphael House of Portland | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 29

Overall score: 479.68 

13. SMART | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 35

Overall score: 479.61 

14. American Cancer Society | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 45

Overall score: 477.73 

15. Travel Oregon | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 35

Overall score: 475.69 

16. The Freshwater Trust | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 45

Overall score: 474.79 

17. Adelante Mujeres | Forest Grove

Oregon employees/volunteers: 25

Overall score: 473.28 

18. Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 21

Overall score: 470.79 

19. Lines for Life | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 29

Overall score: 470.12 

20. Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 20

Overall score: 463.68 

21. Inclusion | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 22

Overall score: 458.90 

22. Friends of Trees | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 21

Overall score: 457.30

23. HIV Alliance | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 36

Overall score: 457.28 

24. College Housing Northwest | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 42

Overall score: 455.30 

25. Youth Music Project | West Linn

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A collaborative and staff-oriented culture is what Rachael Bany, executive director of Youth Music Project, strives for at this recently established nonprofit providing rock, pop and country music education. Founded in 2012, the organization offers music and art lessons, instrument use and sound -recording opportunities to young people.

Many of the organization’s staff members are in bands or orchestras and work part-time at the nonprofit, based in West Linn. Two staffers are with the Portland Opera. Employees support each other by going to see each other perform at music venues. “We are really supportive,” says Bany. “A lot of people are super busy. If somebody is playing at the Doug Fir, we try to see them.”

The organization keeps staff engaged by fostering a culture where everyone is willing to step in and help. “All our teachers and equipment are in one central location. It is easy to check in [with staff] and say ‘hi,’” says Bany. The nonprofit also holds social events outside of work, such as Christmas parties or pool parties.

Youth Music Project took part in the survey for the first time this year because it felt it was a good way to get transparent and honest responses from its staff about its workplace, says Bany.

Oregon employees/volunteers: 36

Overall score: 451.90 

26. NW Preferred Federal Credit Union | Tigard

Oregon employees/volunteers: 35

Overall score: 444.82 

27. Humane Society of Central Oregon | Bend

Oregon employees/volunteers: 40

Overall score: 438.17 

28. Tucker Maxon School | Portland

1015-nonprofits06

Glen Gilbert, executive director of the Tucker Maxon School, a program for deaf and hearing kids, says the school registered for the survey this year because it is “a great motivator for management and the board.” The survey scores let the team identify workplace strengths and weaknesses “so we know we’re doing everything we can to retain employees.”

At Tucker Maxon, the overarching workplace theme is family. “But there are a lot of dysfunctional families out there,” says Gilbert. “The question became: ‘How do you create a functional family, especially an extended family?’” Staff bonding initiatives were part of the solution. This year, for example, school employees attended an off-site retreat in wine country, where they spent the day wine tasting and participating in team-building activities.

Oregon employees/volunteers: 32

Overall score: 436.58 

29. Oregon’s Health CO-OP | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 25

Overall score: 434.19 

30. Cat Adoption Team | Sherwood

Oregon employees/volunteers: 25

Overall score: 433.30 

31. Community Warehouse | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 21

Overall score: 432.48 

32. Cascades Academy | Bend

Oregon employees/volunteers: 37

Overall score: 432.17 

33. Joy Central | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 47

Overall score: 431.25

Click through for small organizations

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SMALL ORGANIZATIONS

FEWER THAN 20 OREGON EMPLOYEES

JUMP TO: Largemedium organizations

1. Sustainable Northwest | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 11

Overall score: 541.23 

2. Oregon Environmental Council | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 19

Overall score: 531.17 

3. The Northwest Catholic Counseling Center | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 15

Overall score: 509.05 

4. Western Rivers Conservancy | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 12

Overall score: 506.73 

5. Bonneville Environmental Foundation | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 14

Overall score: 506.30 

6. NTEN | Portland

1015-nonprofits02

 

The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network launched in 2000 to help nonprofits with their basic technology needs. Since then it has broadened its mission as technology has spread across all aspects of nonprofit organizations, impacting marketing, program, fundraising and other functions. NTEN has grown into a membership organization of nonprofit professionals who share the goal of helping nonprofits use all aspects of technology more effectively.

NTEN’s workplace culture is influenced by the ever-changing nature of technology, which requires it to be responsive to new ideas, innovations and market changes. “We aren’t beholden to a tool, process or program simply because we’ve done it before, but always look for opportunities to evaluate what is needed now, how best to serve the community and how to be as effective as we can in creating value,” says CEO Amy Sample Ward.

This flexibility toward workplace culture is reflected in how the organization engages its employees. Ward says her real challenge comes with recognizing that participation in workplace culture means and looks different for each staff person. “It is important to recognize and respect that staff culture isn’t something to decide on and then implement. Keeping that in mind allows us to be realistic and purposeful in our continued efforts to improve.”

Oregon employees/volunteers: 11

Overall score: 504.39 

7. Family Relief Nursery | Cottage Grove

Oregon employees/volunteers: 16

Overall score: 502.29 

8. Coyote Trails School of Nature & Nature Center | Medford

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 501.52 

9. Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 13

Overall score: 501.18 

10. HAVEN from Domestic and Sexual Violence | The Dalles

Oregon employees/volunteers: 12

Overall score: 500.90 

11. BRING Recycling | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 15

Overall score: 496.51 

12. Bend Area Habitat for Humanity | Bend

Oregon employees/volunteers: 18

Overall score: 495.31 

13. The Climate Trust | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 11

Overall score: 494.61 

14. Growing Gardens | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 15

Overall score: 494.17 

15. Galt Foundation | Salem

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 493.68 

16. Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 13

Overall score: 493.34 

17. Greater Portland Inc. | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 11

Overall score: 493.05 

18. Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 15

Overall score: 492.65 

19. Centro Latino Americano | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 17

Overall score: 492.11 

20. Willamette West Habitat for Humanity | Hillsboro

Oregon employees/volunteers: 8

Overall score: 489.00 

21. Friends of the Columbia Gorge | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 17

Overall score: 488.35 

22. Western Energy Institute | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 16

Overall score: 486.50 

23. Innovative Housing | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 12

Overall score: 486.31 

24. Oregon Humanities | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 485.79 

25. Travel Salem | Salem

Oregon employees/volunteers: 12

Overall score: 484.92 

26. Community Energy Project | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 482.76 

27. Christians As Family Advocates | Eugene

Oregon employees/volunteers: 18

Overall score: 481.02 

28. Caldera | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 19

Overall score: 480.26 

29. Saturday Academy | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 19

Overall score: 479.91 

30. ROSE Community Development | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 479.64 

31. Oregon Public Health Institute | Portland

1015-nonprofits05

OPHI has a small staff and a big mission: to promote a sustainable public health agenda through advocacy and research support. The nonprofit works with schools, employers and public agencies to bring about a range of policy changes, from improved student lunches to creation of farmers markets and more pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods.

OPHI employs only eight full time workers, and each one wears many hats, says communications coordinator Karli Thorstenson. “We have our nose to the grindstone, but you have to be flexible, easygoing.” To promote work-life balance, OPHI offers perks like in house yoga and happy hours, subsidized by a team-building stipend from the board of directors.

OPHI decided to participate in the 100 Best survey for the first time this year after reading through the 2014 list. “We thought: ‘Oh, we’re a great place to work!’” Thorstenson says. Landing a spot on the 100 Best list helps recruit and retain employees, she adds. “We are trying to grow. We are very proud of what we do, and we want people to know about it.”

Oregon employees/volunteers: 10

Overall score: 471.07 

32. Portland Women’s Crisis Line | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 13

Overall score: 469.04 

33. Portland Homeless Family Solutions | Portland

Oregon employees/volunteers: 15

Overall score: 467.40

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Kim Moore

Kim Moore is the editor for Oregon Business magazine.

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