Supporting Our Community

Supporting Our Community


Dear Northwest Academy parents, alumni parents, grandparents, and extended community,

Greetings! While you are scattered near and far—and no one has been on campus for over a month—we are all strangely and deeply connected, even while sheltering in place.  One blessing during this period of crisis is that we are witnesses almost daily to the true depth of people’s character, the breadth of their generosity, and the steadfastness of their heroism. 

Even as we practice social distancing, creative ways to connect with each other abound…and just when you think you’ve seen everything, your heart is touched by what people are doing in their communities…amazing, giving, generous and heroic actions to help others. It is both inspiring and heartwarming to see how local businesses have shifted to support the needs of our local communities, to offer help for our valiant healthcare workers, for the houseless, and for those suddenly out of work. For example, Northwest Academy parents John and Renee Gorham initially turned their restaurant Plaza del Toro into a community kitchen, serving free meal kits, and they are now providing free meals to local medical personnel. The Jupiter hotel converted into a shelter for the houseless population. The Cha family in West Linn, with help from local plastics companies, are using their tech and engineering background to create face masks to address the PPE shortages. 

We know that many of you are looking for ways to contribute. For our students, we are hard at work completing the transformation of our all-school service day into a remote ‘shelter in place/serve from home’ day. And for the rest of you, we have made a list of some things that you might do to help preserve, restore and rebuild the community that shelters our school. We have compiled a list of our Northwest Academy heroes below, those businesses that have historically supported our school, either directly, or indirectly (such as through donations to our auction) or both. It is these businesses in our community whose generosity has provided funds for our student scholarships, created unique opportunities for our faculty for professional development, and enabled our students to enjoy the remarkable resources the city makes available to them.

Some of these wonderful Portland artistic outlets and businesses have been extremely and consistently generous with us and may be experiencing financial uncertainty now and/or in the future. Places like Bodyvox, the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Art Museum, and Portland Center Stage, as well as the service industry and independent contractors, are finding themselves having to lay off staff, cancel performances, and find other revenue streams to continue the important work they do. Where would we all be without the arts right now—and where might we be without them in the future?

Here are some specific things that you can do to help local businesses and donors: please purchase gift cards, support online stores, order food for pick up or delivery, donate to the companies you love to help them stay afloat, and/or bookmark their businesses as a future resource.

Meantime, some of you have reached out to ask specifically how you can assist Northwest Academy families in need, and/or provide support for our faculty and staff.

We want you to know that we have committed to stretching our budget to keep our team and our student body intact through these difficult days; maintaining full employment, trying to meet evolving needs for tuition support, and making accommodations as needed to protect and preserve the health and well-being of all. If you are in a position to do so and would like to help along these lines, please do consider making a gift to our Scholarship Fund or the Northwest Academy Fund. 

Support of the Scholarship Fund provides vital funds for Northwest Academy to meet the unanticipated needs of our families as they arise. It is imperative that we are able to provide stability for our students and their families, particularly in times as uncertain as these. We want to make sure all of our students are able to return and stay in the school they love.

Support of the Northwest Academy Fund will help offset the costs associated with distance learning, the new technologies and tools required, additional training to help our faculty stay on top of best practices, and the additional support we don’t yet know how to anticipate. 

We are so grateful for all of you—our community—for your ability to rally around our new distance learning, for working with us as we adjust to the change, and for your continued support of this community.

We can’t wait to see you all in person and look forward to reconnecting with you soon.

Wishing you good health,


Chris Schuck, Head of School

Cris Gilman, Director of Development


  • Scholarships

    About 25% of Northwest Academy students receive scholarship support each year.

  • Giving

    The hottest ticket in town: Our annual auction features performances and art by Northwest Academy students. The event draws a broad audience of current families and community arts patrons.

    Club Cabaret