Impact Investing Initiative
Inspired by Port Townshend’s Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION), the Center has created an impact investing task force to map opportunities for citizens in the greater Portland area to invest in (1) locally owned business and (2) businesses with a social purpose, not necessarily local. In 2014, the task force will publish a report about impact investing options open to everyday citizens.
Psychology for a Sustainable Future
In 2007 the Center organized an initiative to heighten awareness and activity in Portland around the critical intersection between psychology, ecology, and sustainability. The first step was to recruit a planning group of professionals to organize a national Psychology-Ecology-Sustainability Conference at Lewis and Clark College. Conference goals were twofold: (1) to help increase awareness within psychology-related professions about environmental issues, such as ecological degradation and consumer culture, and their impact on clients and the larger society, and (2) to encourage teaching and research about the importance of mental health in the societal movement to create a sustainable future [PDF of brochure]. About 200 mental health professionals and interested individuals spent three days exploring these topics.
A number of ongoing initiatives flowed from the conference, coordinated by a steering committee. For example, a group of mental health professionals formed to educate the public on the adverse effects of child-targeted advertising. Led by Pat Chandler, the Center’s Committee for a Commercial-Free Childhood developed and field tested an educational PowerPoint presentation for high school and college students, parent groups, and conferences such as the Oregon Association for Education of Young Children. The presentation covers the impact of commercialization on children, from the use of schools to promote consumption and brand loyalty for products like Coke and Pepsi to TV ads targeting toddlers. The Committee also published a Commercialization Toolkit, which includes a Citizen Walkthrough Guide to raise awareness about commercialization in schools.