NeighborImpact Serves More than Half a Million in 2021 — Brings Resources to Central Oregon in a Pandemic Year


NeighborImpact, the region’s largest nonprofit provider of social services, saw an incredible jump in demand for service during the 2021 calendar year. A total of 502,901 individuals in Central Oregon sought one or more services from the agency — an increase of 38 percent over the prior year, which was itself an increase over 2019.

Numbers were released to the organization’s board of directors in April. Because numbers must be gathered from various data systems, NeighborImpact typically releases numbers in spring.

NeighborImpact’s budget of $43.19 million was an increase of 57 percent over 2020. With that budget increase, the agency reports significant increases in individuals served, cash and equivalent services provided, instructional hours offered, and dollars leveraged (funds secured by individuals, organizations or governments as a result of NeighborImpact assistance or engagement.)

“Some of this is about COVID,” noted NeighborImpact Executive Director Scott Cooper. “Federal and state governments committed resources in 2020 to alleviate the effects of COVID, but many of those resources didn’t arrive in local communities until 2021.” Cooper cited federal rent assistance as one of the big programs that pumped up dollars distributed in 2021.

Cooper went on to point out that COVID wasn’t the only reason demand increased. “Rents are part of the issue,” he said. “High rents and rising costs of living drove people to food banks. When you have to cut back a household budget somewhere, food is a good starting point.” NeighborImpact also expanded its Head Start program (preschool) at the start of the pandemic, Cooper noted. “That definitely pumped up instructional hours provided.”

Key indicators for 2021 included:

Based on the tracking system, individuals are counted each time they receive services, and an individual may be counted more than once if they receive more than one service or receive a service more than once in a six-month period.

Despite eliminating volunteers in Head Start classrooms for a large portion of the year due to COVID, NeighborImpact engaged 1,563 volunteers in 2021 — totaling 22,370 volunteer hours — mostly in support of the Food Bank. In addition, foundations, local businesses and individuals contributed more than $1.8 million in 2021, to compliment public funding.

“The economic impact of the organization’s work was notable,” Cooper observed. “Between resources distributed directly to families and funds that were brought into the local economy through NeighborImpact involvement (for example, real estate purchases as a result of homeownership counseling), the organization put $66 million into the hands of consumers and local businesses, in addition to the impact of its payroll. This is significant investment in Central Oregon by any measure,” Cooper noted.

Families and individuals touched by the nonprofit may have received services from any of its 11 programs. Programs operated by NeighborImpact include:

  • Regional food bank
  • Energy Assistance and low-income household water assistance program
  • Housing
  • Head Start and Early Head Start (preschool, 0-5)
  • Homeownership counseling and financial education
  • Child Care Resources (support for providers)
  • Weatherization of homes
  • Lending
  • Representative Payee
  • Community Development

Asked if the growth in services and budget is sustainable, Cooper responded, “We haven’t seen any slow down in demand. New services are also coming to the region with sustainable resources, especially in homeless services and early childhood education. I think we would expect a federal and state pullback of resources at some point and that would effect resources, but we also have raised the bar with some permanent investment, and that’s here to stay.”


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

Leave A Reply