One of them was Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Northwest, which pairs youth with mentors.

COURTESY PHOTO: ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION  - Employees of OnPoint Community Credit Union donated money to three local nonprofits, including the Cascade AIDS Project, pictured here.

More kids waiting to be paired with mentors at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Northwest will get off the waiting list this year, thanks to a $35,000 donation from OnPoint Community Credit Union.

The Columbia Northwest chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, headquartered in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood, was one of three local nonprofits that received grants courtesy of OnPoint employees.

Every year, OnPoint provides every one of its employees with $100 to split however they wish between three selected nonprofits in the community. As a result, more than $100,000 was donated to BBBS of the Columbia Northwest, Girls Build and Cascade AIDS Project.

The credit union says that, since the employee giving campaign started in 2017, employees have donated more than $500,000 to 15 local nonprofits.

Big Brothers Big Sisters' share was just over $35,000, and its chief executive says this money will help connect more kids to mentorship programs offered by the organization.

"This donation will go toward getting more kids off of our waitlist and matched with a mentor," said Beach Pace, who is also a Hillsboro city councilor. "This mentor relationship model has helped millions of children nationwide including thousands of kids right here in Oregon."

Chief development officer Cynthia Thompson said that there are currently 200 young people waiting to be matched with mentors through BBBS programs.

"Successful mentorship requires a community of mentors, volunteers and local organizations to positively impact a young person's life," she said in the announcement. "We are incredibly grateful for the donation from OnPoint and its employees. It will help us continue expanding so every child on the waiting list has the opportunity to experience one-to-one membership."

Pace added that these mentorship programs help students excel in school, improve their mental health and engage more with their community. While the Oregon average for students graduating from high school is around 80%, youth in the BBBS program graduate at a 95% rate, she said.

"Knowing that OnPoint Credit Union was founded with the intention of investing in and helping teachers makes it all the more special because we work closely with schools," Pace said. "They are continuing that work with their investment in youth in the Portland metro area via Big Brothers Big Sisters."

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