Birch Community Services

Food. Education. Freedom. Legacy.

Portland, OR   |  www.birchcommunityservices.org

Mission

The mission of Birch Community Services is to provide a community where people can be responsible and accountable for meeting their basic needs, and to equip them with tools to overcome financial difficulty.

Ruling year info

1997

Executive Director

Mrs. Suzanne Birch

Main address

17780 NE San Rafael

Portland, OR 97230 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

93-1186020

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Thousands of families in the Portland metro area are chronically teetering on the edge of financial crisis, even though one or more of the family members has a job. In East Portland, where most BCS participants live, there are almost 20,000 families with incomes between $30,680 (the poverty level) and $77,000 (the median household income in Portland). This $77,000 is almost the exact amount that an MIT study has established as a “livable” household income in Portland. (Glasmeier, Amy K. Living Wage Calculator. 2020. MIT. livingwage.mit.edu.) The gap between what these working families earn and what they would need in order to reasonably “get by” is an additional 25% of their current income. Adding debt and minimum payments to the equation only makes the gap more difficult. For these families, every penny counts.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sustainable Families Program

The Sustainable Families Program addresses the root causes of hunger and economic hardship through four pillars: Food. Education. Freedom. Legacy. Families:
-Receive groceries weekly at a value of approximately $1,000/month.
-Take our Re$tart class and meet one-on-one with our Financial Literacy Manager to establish financial goals and how to achieve them.
-Volunteer monthly to become an integral part of our community.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Rated 4 out of 4 stars 2019

Charity Navigator

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of food donation partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Sustainable Families Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2020, BCS received a record-breaking number of donations (13.7 million lbs) and thoughtfully reduced the number of smaller giving partners to be most efficient in receiving and distributing.

Total pounds of food rescued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Sustainable Families Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Estimated dollar value of food donations distributed to community feedings programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Each year, we distribute approximately five million dollars of food to about 70 other nonprofit food pantires.

Number of financial literacy courses conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Sustainable Families Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Attendance is appoximately 200 people each year (distributed between the classes).

Number of participants counseled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These are one-on-one financial counseling meetings with families.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

BCS addresses the need to empower those that fall between the cracks of government services. We seek to equip working, struggling people with the tools they need to overcome financial difficulty through our four pillars: Food. Education. Freedom. Legacy.

Providing food every week provides immediate emotional and financial relief, while creating a margin in budget to pay down debt. Education is provided by our Financial Literacy Manager through one-on-one meetings and financial courses. Freedom is experienced as goals are accomplished and families become debt-free. Legacy results as families are able to demonstrate financial stability and influence their community and their children's futures.

The reported top eight outcomes at Birch are:
Consistently budgeting and tracking spending to get current on bills
Creating an Emergency Fund
Paying more on debt
Saving more each month
Living with and by a financial plan
Relieving stress at home
Communicating better about money as a family
Paying for medical expenses

We provide working, struggling families with weekly shopping trips and financial education. Families comes to our warehouse to get food, clothing, and household items in order to create margin in their budget. They then meet with one-on-one with our Financial Literacy Manager to set individualized financial goals, and enroll in our Re$tart budgeting class.

Being around for over 25 years, BCS has been able to establish a well-structured program based on years of feedback from our families. Each year BCS may look a little different, but we continue to do our best to improve and grow. We are currently located in a 23,000 sq warehouse that provides us the space we need to distribute over 10 million pounds of product a year. Additionally we have a staff of 11 and a classroom that allows the space for financial education.

We have redistributed over 50 million pounds of food, clothing and household items to over 32,000 people. More importantly though, we've provided a community where people can be responsible and accountable for meeting their basic needs. For the next 25 years, BCS not only seeks to improve our services and outcomes here in Portland, but also to continue to replicate its model all over the U.S.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Birch Community Services serves individuals and families who are on a "poverty cliff." They generally make too much to receive public assistance, but still not enough to make ends meet.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    After our receiving feedback about our Financial Literacy meetings and courses, we have hired a second financial counselor to keep up with demand and eliminate wait lists.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for feedback has allowed all people feel heard, respected, and valued. At Birch Community Services, we believe in a dignified way to receive a hand up.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

Birch Community Services
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Birch Community Services

Board of directors
as of 10/5/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Alex Krider

Avier Advisors

Term: 2017 -


Board co-chair

Mr. Egbert Kunrath

Kunrath, Willard and Associates (Retired)

Term: 1997 -

Aaron Aigner

Aigner & Co.

Suzanne Birch

Birch Community Services, Inc.

Greg Cervetto

Grayrose Marketing Group, Inc.

David Riewald

Bullard Law

Rick Teeny

Teeny Foods

Leann Rowlett

Hollywood Farmers Market

Egbert- Kunrath

Kunrath, Willard and Associates

Mark Childs

Capacity Commercial Group

Alex Krider

Avier Advisors

Alexander Spalding

Daniel House

Angela Small

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/05/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data