The Next Networking: Engaging with EMERGE

They arrived at five o’clock, just when most folks are are headed home for the day, but the members of Portland Business Alliance EMERGE program came to Schoolhouse Supplies ready to tally and sort donations well into their Tuesday evening. They did it with exuberance and eagerness made true by the adage “many hands make light work.” Our sorting bay turned into a frenzy of activity as the 14 group members, most who had never met each other before, worked together to tackle box after box of donated school supplies.

The EMERGE program was developed as a networking and relationship building event series that connects emerging civic and business leaders with established leaders in the Portland region. The EMERGE Engage events offer volunteer activities that connect participants while benefiting the community. As Ashley O’Hollaren of the Portland Trail Blazers remarked last night, “This is good bonding experience…it’s a fun way to get to know people outside a typical networking event.”

The four pallets of donations that were tallied by the EMERGE volunteers will end up on the shelves of the Free Store for Teachers, ensuring that Portland Public Schools teachers have continued access to free school and office supplies. “It’s important for the Alliance to support education and students. Anytime we can help with a child’s experience in the classroom, it’s time well spent in our eyes,”  said Liza Dossick, PBA’s External Relations Representative, who helped coordinate the event.

“It’s amazing to see what comes in here,” noted EMERGE newcomer Dale Henningsen of local business Culture Index, as he helped box up new notebooks and binders. It was a theme repeated throughout the night, as volunteers with day jobs as bankers, small business owners, nonprofit employees, and photographers came together to help make sure that essential tools and school supplies will cycle directly into Portland classrooms.

The EMERGE group ended the night with pizza in our conference room, exchanging stories, tips, and cards.  As they filed out into the fading light, most had smiles on their faces with the knowledge that their evening was spent not only getting to know one another but helping the community around them.

If your group is interested in volunteering at Schoolhouse Supplies contact Caitlin Collings-Domingo at (503) 249-9933 Ext. 4

If you would like more information on Portland Business Alliance’s EMERGE program click here.


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