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The Community Impact of Sarah’s Legacy

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

Sarah Cohen-Doherty was more than just SVP Portland’s Community Impact Manager from 2017-2020. She was a dedicated advocate for high-quality, culturally-relevant early childhood education and literacy opportunities for all children. Sarah’s legacy continues through the Sarah Cohen-Doherty Memorial Fund, and we are honored to serve the important role of helping Sarah’s family invest in the work that she loved.

The memorial fund, which specifically supports early childhood literacy, quality preschool, and advocacy, has already had an impact in our community. Last year we bestowed the inaugural Sarah Cohen-Doherty Community Impact Award to Sadie Feibel, Deputy Director of Programs for long-time Community Partner Latino Network. This award recognizes a person within the SVP Portland network who epitomizes the positive characteristics that Sarah embodied in her work with SVP: warmth, compassion, a focus on developing meaningful relationships, a personal commitment to equity, and being a changemaker to ensure that all children thrive. For almost 14 years, Sadie has worked to connect children, parents, and schools to create positive change on both an individual and systemic level. In her role, Sadie leads school-based programs for underserved children and families of color in Portland.

Sarah was closely involved with Threads of Justice Collective and Latino Network, two Community Partners in which we recently reinvested, thanks in part to her memorial fund. The Threads of Justice Collective reinvestment in October 2021 includes Partner time and a $20,000 grant to support capacity building to develop and deliver early childhood anti-bias education. At the June 2021 meeting, our Portfolio Management Team voted to approve a reinvestment in Latino Network, including Partner time and a $25,000 grant. Latino Network is growing and making their vision of expanding into a reality. In January 2021, they launched their first capital campaign and have already raised more than 75% of the $12M goal needed to build La Plaza Esperanza. This community space has enormous potential to enhance the lives of thousands of Latinx youth and families, and to exemplify the values of equity and inclusion in our region. La Plaza Esperanza will offer some of Latino Network’s 44 programs for youth and family, including a preschool with a classroom, indoor play space, and outdoor playground. Sarah would have been a champion of this effort, and to honor that passion the playground will be named after her and dedicated to her memory.

Sarah would have turned 40 this year, on January 26, and her parents, Jerry and Ruth, invite all of you to please consider donating to her memorial fund – to celebrate her birthday, her life and accomplishments, and to continue to support the goals she dedicated her career to achieve.

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