Bringing Neighbors Together
Neighborhood House brings neighbors together to reduce hunger and homelessness and to educate both young and old, strengthening our community by providing resources to support self-reliance, economic independence, and dignity in people of all ages and backgrounds.
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 effectively facilitate change.
Connection: We are connected to our neighbors. When we help people in need, our entire community is strengthened.
Results: Our programs make a measurable difference in the lives of our clients and in the community.
Providing Support to Overcome Everyday Challenges
Neighborhood House believes that with the right support system, anyone can overcome serious challenges in their everyday lives. 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 over 8,000 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, Russia, 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 reach beyond South and Southwest Portland, offering our innovative and effective programs all across the greater Portland area. 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.
1905Neighborhood 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.
1912Neighborhood 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.
1920Having 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.