PCC Foundation receives $1 million gift from Anne Naito-Campbell
Photos and Story by Elia Unverzagt. | 3 comments
In response to the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, Portland civic leader and philanthropist Anne Naito-Campbell has donated $1 million to support job training and education at Portland Community College.
The gift marks the first-ever million-dollar cash charitable donation received by the PCC Foundation and will be used to establish the “Naito Family Fund for Opportunity.” This fund will support PCC’s Pathways to Opportunity initiative, which helps low-income individuals and displaced workers connect with community resources while training in high-demand fields. The result is short-term certificates leading to family-wage jobs and economic mobility.
“Education and training play a vital role in the American Dream,” said Naito-Campbell, whose grandfather Hide Naito moved from a tiny village in Japan to Portland to seek out the same dream. “When the pandemic hit last spring, I thought of all the people affected who were just like members of my own family – people who had worked hard and struggled to build something, to achieve a dream and watched it slip away as a health crisis became an economic crisis. I thought of the small business owners, and workers in industries that seemed to evaporate overnight. I thought to myself, ‘What will they do?’ I dedicated myself in that moment to being part of a solution.”
The daughter of noted late Portland businessman, civic leader and philanthropist Bill Naito, Naito-Campbell is a principal of the Bill Naito Company, which owns and manages commercial and residential real estate in Oregon, Washington and Arizona. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Bill Naito Company, Ronald W. Naito MD Foundation, Vintage Trolley, Inc., and Lines for Life, which aims to end substance abuse and suicide.
Her gift will create a flexible endowment with earnings supporting any student who is in a Career Pathways certificate and the Pathways to Opportunity initiative, with the remaining funds being used to meet urgent needs or opportunities. Pathways is a coalition of community colleges, human service agencies, and community-based organizations that closes opportunity gaps and increases economic mobility. It does this by connecting low-income individuals to the resources they need to complete college and move into careers. This statewide coalition has become even more important as the state tries to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus.
“Her contribution helps capstone the Foundation’s ‘Campaign for Opportunity’ and will help students, their families and our region to rise for generations to come,” said Ann Prater, PCC Foundation’s executive director.
In honor of the impact of the gift, PCC’s Board of Directors voted to rename the Southeast Campus Library as The Naito Family Library. The campus is in the heart of Portland’s Asian-American district, which is one of the largest communities in the state of immigrant and first-generation Americans. Her father was a Nisei, or a second-generation Japanese who was born outside of Japan. Naito was a lifelong lover of libraries and being raised in a non-English speaking household, he valued the many hours spent in libraries as a child. His visits to them nurtured a sense of belonging and love of learning.
“In this moment of uncertainty and unprecedented challenge as we begin the long, hard work of rebuilding our state in the wake of the global pandemic, an economic implosion, and historic wildfires, PCC’s mission of supporting student success is more important than ever,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.
PCC President Mark Mitsui said Naito-Campbell’s gift fits perfectly with the college’s mission to create pathways to completion for the under-served and will be a boost to Oregon’s economy.
“The collective action of PCC students, faculty and staff, with partners like the Department of Human Services, community leaders and philanthropists like Anne Naito-Campbell, and leaders like Senator Merkley, allows us to create a more equitable and economically vibrant Oregon,” Mitsui said.
The Portland Community College Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which mobilizes private support for student scholarships and educational programs. For more information, call (971) 722-4382, or visit pcc.edu/foundation.