Our Mission

Our Mission:
Bringing Neighbors Together

We connect neighbors,
build community and
improve lives.

We Believe to Our Core

Neighborhood House is committed to offering innovative and high-quality education, anti-poverty and senior support services. Our core strengths are:

Client-focused services: Every neighbor’s different. We reach people where they are to promote resiliency and achieve equitable outcomes.

Connection: We support interdependent learning and growth among neighbors.

Results: Our programs make a measurable difference in the lives of our clients and in the community.

Providing Support to Overcome Everyday Challenges

Our vision is for every neighbor to have the community and support they need to thrive. As the leading Portland-area non-profit social service provider, we deliver innovative, life-changing programs for low-income people of all ages and backgrounds.

Our programs strive to prepare children for success in school and life, help families move beyond poverty, and support seniors who wish to continue living independently.

Our dedicated team serves more than 12,000 low-income children, families, and seniors each year across the greater Portland area, representing a diverse mix of ethnicities and cultures, including recent immigrants from Latin America, Africa, Ukraine, and the Middle East.

Your generous support will change lives.

A History of Service

Neighborhood House is extremely proud of its legacy of service. Over the past decade, we have expanded our innovative and effective programs all across the greater Portland area and even state-wide. For over a century, we have been guided by our founders’ simple, yet remarkable, vision of neighbors coming together to solve community problems and help people in need.

Our Timeline


Neighborhood House was founded by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Portland Section, a visionary group committed to changing lives and the community where they lived. Early members included Tilly Selling, wife of well-known state legislator, businessman, and philanthropist Ben Selling, and Jeanette Meier, widow of Meier & Frank co-founder Aaron Meier. Their efforts were grounded in the settlement house movement, which sought to bring community members together to address the social disintegration, poverty, and other problems associated with the large waves of immigration taking place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Early programs focused on vocational training aimed at enhancing new immigrants’ ability to find employment, develop marketable skills, learn English, and gain citizenship. Neighborhood House also advocated for critical issues impacting immigrants and other vulnerable people in the community, leading local efforts to limit child labor and to convince the city to build a public park in largely immigrant South Portland.

NCJW members became strong advocates for the residents of South Portland. Photo courtesy of NCJW and Oregon Jewish Museum.

Pioneering social worker Ida Loewenberg. Photo courtesy of NCJW and Oregon Jewish Museum.


Neighborhood House hired Ida Loewenberg as its first Head Worker in 1912. A highly regarded social worker in the region, she served the agency until 1945. “There seems to be an all-prevailing spirit of progress, gentleness, and feeling of good to all in the air in Neighborhood House, which becomes contagious to all watching the work.” 

From The Jewish Tribune, April 8, 1912


One of Neighborhood House’s first programs was a sewing school for girls. Photo courtesy of NCJW and Oregon Jewish Museum.


Having established itself as a leader in ground-breaking programs for recent immigrants to the Portland area, Neighborhood House moved its focus away from vocational training and turned toward education. We opened the city’s first well-baby clinic and were among the first in the region to offer a free kindergarten. NCJW members also established a Scholarship Loan Fund, which helped provide college opportunities for children of immigrants.

Neighborhood House opened one of Portland’s first free kindergarten programs, focusing on the children of recent immigrants. Photo courtesy of NCJW and Oregon Jewish Museum.


Neighborhood House added a pool to the building, becoming the place where, over the years, thousands of young Portlanders from all backgrounds learned to swim.


Neighborhood House’s array of programs had continued running strong during the Great Depression and World War II, but now, the new immigrant population of Portland had greatly declined, so our focus turned to providing recreational activities.


Seeing a need for a community center that was open to everyone, the NCJW decided to incorporate under the name of Neighborhood House as a separate, non-sectarian community center. Our membership grew, coming from across the entire Portland community.


In response to changing community demographics, Neighborhood House returned to its settlement house roots, focusing once again on social service programs.


Neighborhood House expanded its service area beyond South Portland to include adjoining Southwest Portland neighborhoods where there were virtually no services for people who needed them. To better serve this expanded community, we moved into Multnomah Village, opening our Senior Center in the Multnomah Arts Center building. The following year, the rest of the agency moved into our current home on Capitol Highway, and our Emergency Food Box Program was established soon thereafter.


Neighborhood House established our Head Start Prekindergarten, Parenting Program, and Youth & Family Services to serve preschool and school-aged children and their families.


Neighborhood House opened Turning Point, now called 19th Avenue Apartments, our transitional housing program for homeless families. Today, the program follows a rapid rehousing model.


Our centennial year marked the addition of three SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) Community School Programs in Southwest and the Child Care Improvement Project, a countywide program, to our array of services.


We became the Lead Agency in a broad collaboration providing SUN School and other anti-poverty services for Multnomah County’s Region 1, which encompasses the west side and North Portland, leading our Board to create a plan for expanding our comprehensive services into North Portland.


In partnership with Home Forward, we launched a highly successful capital campaign to support the construction of a state-of-the-art early learning center at the Stephens Creek Crossing affordable housing community. The Neighborhood House Children’s Center is now home to the agency’s highly-regarded Head Start and Early Head Start preschool programs.


We launched our Senior Outreach Program, which works to connect with isolated seniors from immigrant communities, helping them access socialization opportunities and other needed services. This initiative successfully transformed the community we serve and increased the number of seniors from diverse backgrounds from just a few to nearly one-third.


Plans begin for the future home of Neighborhood House. We needed more space to accommodate growing demand for our services. We acquired a 16,000 sq ft building on SW Barbur and began plans to renovate. This new site, when complete, will be able to serve 50-100% more people. The new space will house our Food Security, Senior services, and Housing programs. After a complete renovation, we hope to move in late 2024.


We continue to bring neighbors together throughout Portland. We believe in our community's potential with programs that support our neighbors.

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