For the first time in 17 months we held an in-person Partnership event, our 20th Anniversary Summer Social! A thirst for human contact — and fabulous wines from Stoller Wine Group! — was apparent with more than 40 attendees representing all facets of the SVP Portland community.
The event was also an opportunity to present our first Sarah Cohen-Doherty Community Impact Award. The annual award recognizes a person within the SVP Portland community who epitomizes the characteristics that enabled Sarah to have such a positive impact at SVP: warmth, compassion, and genuine care for others; a focus on developing strong, meaningful relationships; a personal commitment to equity & supporting SVP’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion commitments; and being a changemaker to ensure that all children thrive.
The selection process began with a call for nominations in June and an initial review by Sarah’s parents, SVP Partners Ruth and Jerry Cohen. Ruth reflected on the amazing nominees, “The candidates were all just amazing people, for what they do for SVP and for what they do for the organizations for which they work.”
The finalists were then reviewed by a committee composed of staff and Partners, who chose this year’s winner: Sadie Feibel, Deputy Director of Programs for long-time Community Partner Latino Network. Jerry presented the award to Sadie: “We want to thank you for representing the ideals of this award, along with all the nominees, but in particular you stood out as someone who carries forward that spirit. Somewhere up there, and around us, is that energy of Sarah, and you’re carrying it forth. We so appreciate what you’re doing, how you continue to carry that spirit.”
Sadie shared her thoughts on being selected: “Ruth and Jerry, thank you for this tremendous honor. Thank you most of all for sharing Sarah with all of us. Her light and her example can continue to inspire us to be kind to one another while we fight this long fight for a better world for all of our children, where all of our children can feel that same joy that we know lived in Sarah, and that we felt in every interaction with her. So thank you for this and thank you to SVP… The work of loving and teaching and preparing our youngest children for success is so close to my heart and I stand here in gratitude with all of you.”
Tony DeFalco, Executive Director of Latino Network, ended the ceremony, “We at Latino Network want to make sure you all know just how very special Sadie is in our community. She’s someone who has been here for so many years, for our children, for our families, for our Latino community — someone who has been there when it’s been hard, and has never given up, who has always had that fire to create and implement high-quality early childhood education.”
Thank you to all who attended and made this event so special — to recognize our Partnership, to celebrate togetherness, and to honor Sarah and Sadie. Our next in-person event will be in September, with details coming shortly. In the meantime, we do have some upcoming virtual opportunities, including 20th Anniversary Series events featuring the Native American Youth and Family Center (August 25th) and CASH Oregon (October 13th). You can find all of our events on our website. If you are inspired to join our Partnership, please contact Matt Little.
Please consider a contribution to the The Sarah Cohen-Doherty Memorial Fund, dedicated to SVP Portland’s goal that all children have access to high-quality, culturally-relevant early learning experiences. Donations to this fund will support early childhood literacy, quality preschool, and advocacy. We cannot think of a better way to celebrate Sarah’s life than to continue the work to which she was so committed.