Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Levé?
A: Founded in 2004 by a group of girlfriends, Levé is a Portland-based nonprofit that supports local charitable organizations through its annual Charity Ball event. Our mission is to “lift” and support local nonprofits, working together to address the most critical needs of the Pacific NW community. Click here to learn more about us.
Q: Why was Levé founded?
A: In college, a group of girlfriends founded Levé out of a desire to actively make a difference in our local community. Portland has been our home for the majority of our lives, providing us with a deep connection and passion for keeping the Pacific Northwest’s most vital resources and programming vibrant and successful. For this reason, and the desire to bring together family, friends and the community for a celebration in support of a local nonprofit, Levé hosted its first Charity Ball in 2004. After our first event, it became quickly apparent that we are in a unique position to catalyze support from a wider network. We feel fortunate to have enjoyed a supportive community in Portland and the consistent encouragement of family and friends in all of our endeavors. For that reason, we share the sentiment that it is our responsibility to give back to the community that has provided us with so much. As young girls, we watched our parents engage with and support the services of local nonprofits. Our action is modeled on their example.
Q: What is the meaning of the name Levé?
A: Levé is the past tense of the French verb meaning “to lift” but the story behind our name is a little more fun. Let’s just say you can imagine what it takes to get 15 girls to agree on anything, let alone the name of our group. After much thought and deliberation, we agreed on Levé. The year was 2007 and from that point on, our original name, Charity Ball, became that of our event and Levé became the name of our organization. The first mention of Levé came during a conversation with Duncan Campbell, founder of Friends of the Children, our nonprofit partner at the time. We discussed the essence of our work and impact in the community, and agreed that our value lies in our efforts to support (or “lift”) the great work already happening in our community instead of trying to vie for funds in what is an already competitive environment. With a few French speakers in the room, including Duncan himself, the French verb “lever,” jumped to our minds and the rest is history.
Q: What are Levé’s goals?
A: Our goal is to consistently increase the amount of funds raised at our annual Charity Ball event that we provide to our selected nonprofit partners. We are also working to increase the amount of exposure our events’ attendees have with each year’s selected non profit partner in an effort to inspire and activate the next generation of donors to be involved in the success of our Pacific Northwest community. As a organization with a 15-member board, we are also deepening Levé’s involvement with our nonprofit partners by providing our time in support of specific projects and events, and by providing our individual expertise and skills to help build capacity if and where needed.
Q: What organizations has Levé supported in the past?
A: The first year, our event supported p:ear, a local organization that strives to creatively mentor homeless youth. After that, we supported Mercy Corps, YWCA Yolanda House, Friends of the Children—Portland, Schoolhouse Supplies, Growing Gardens, Children’s Cancer Association (CCA), Loaves & Fishes Centers, and “I Have A Dream” Oregon. Click here to learn more about each. In 2013, we changed our format in honor of our 10th anniversary and in 2014, we returned to our tried and true model, supporting Incight.
Q: I notice there are a lot of children-focused nonprofits on your list of past nonprofit partners. Do all of the nonprofits Levé supports have to have a connection to children?
A: No. In fact, our 2nd Annual Charity Ball supported Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian aid and development organization that is headquartered in Portland. Our 3rd Annual Charity Ball supported YWCA Yolanda House, an emergency shelter and service program for women survivors of domestic or sexual violence and their children. Our 6th nonprofit partner, Growing Gardens, works to get at the root of hunger while promoting sustainable agriculture and nutrition. While it’s our mission to address the most critical needs of our community, we also look to diversify the types of organizations we select each year in an effort to expose Charity Ball attendees to different types of nonprofits and needs. Our hope is that one will align with each person’s values and spark a relationship that lasts long after this initial exposure.
Q: How do you select the nonprofit to support?
A: At the beginning of each year, we come together to give thoughtful and thorough review of each application we receive. In this process, each board member researches and presents several applicants to the rest of the board, followed by time for questions and lively discussion. Through an anonymous, online survey, we narrow the pool down to a handful of applicants. We repeat this process and vote one last time to select our annual nonprofit partner. Even though the process is time intensive we believe it’s hugely important. It allows our 15-member board to learn about each applicant and its work, arming us with the knowledge to be informed advocates for our selected beneficiaries, and all the organizations who apply for funding. It helps us ensure that we are selecting nonprofits that are meeting the most critical needs of our community through innovative and effective programs. Our one absolute requirement is that the nonprofit must be headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. While not required, we also look for organizations that will be greatly impacted by our contribution—possibly allowing them to implement a new program or initiative by being able to count on a Levé line item in their annual budget. Ideally, selected nonprofits will also have volunteer opportunities for our board members and can provide a primary point of contact throughout the planning process. Other considerations are organizations that employ sustainable practices and ones that have a real need and desire to connect with younger donors.
Q: How can I apply or nominate an organization to be a future beneficiary?
A: We accept nominations and applications for our nonprofit partner in the beginning of the new year. An online application form is made available on our website at this time. The deadline to submit is January 31. We conduct a thorough and rigorous process for selecting our partners, which allows our 15-member board to learn about and engage with each applicant and its work. We strongly encourage you to consider submitting an organization you believe is making an important impact in our community.
Q: Are there opportunities to volunteer?
A: Yes! We welcome volunteers with open arms. There are opportunities to volunteer throughout the year for a specific committee, to help Levé plan for the event the night of, or both. Email email@example.com for more information and how to get started.
Q: When did Levé become an official nonprofit?
A: Levé received its official 501 (C)(3) nonprofit status September of 2008.