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Self Enhancement Inc. received $315,000 from the company's Jeans Day employee fundraising program.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Self Enhancement Inc., a nonprofit organization that reaches out to at-risk urban youth in the Portland area, has received a major contribution from The Standard. Inspired by the 2020 racial justice movement, current and retired employees of the Standard Insurance Company contributed a record amount to this year's Employee Giving Campaign. One drive generated $315,000 for Self Enhancement, Inc., a Black-led nonprofit serving North and Northeast Portland residents.

"This has been a tough year. The pandemic, economic shutdowns and examples of racial injustice in our country have left a lot of people hurting," said Greg Ness, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Standard. "This campaign couldn't have come at a more important time. I'm so proud of our employees' generosity."COURTESY THE STANDARD - The logo of The Standard Insurance Company.

The Standard's current and retired employees pledged $2 million, which will benefit more than 2,200 and nonprofit organizations nationwide. After a two-for-one match by The Standard and parent organization Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, total contributions from the 2020 campaign will exceed $5.9 million, breaking all previous giving records.

One drive, the Jeans Days program, provides employees an added incentive by encouraging them to make a targeted $100 charitable contribution in exchange for wearing jeans and sneakers to work five days a week for a year. The top beneficiary chosen nationwide was SEI, whose donation was also matched.

"More than 800 of our employees chose SEI," said Bob Speltz, the director of community relations at The Standard and the executive director of The Standard Charitable Foundation. SEI is the largest Black-led nonprofit in Oregon.

Nearly $3.4 million from 1,450 unique donors was contributed to 857 schools and nonprofit organizations.

Speltz said contributions soared this year after both formal and informal by discussions by employees of The Standard following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in the custody of the Minneapolis police.


PMG FILE PHOTO - Libra Forde"When I think of the support, I believe it is a movement of the heart," said SEI Chief Operating Officer Libra Forde


"When I think of the support, I believe it is a movement of the heart," said SEI Chief Operating Officer Libra Forde. "People are moved and want to see change."

Forde said the contribution is unrestricted and will help the organization meet basic needs of people in the community, including food and rent.

In addition to SEI, other Portland area organizations receiving contributions include: Oregon Food Bank, $214,000; Transition Projects, $97,000; National Urban League, $88,000; Oregon Humane Society, $75,000; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington, $60,000; American National Red Cross, $56,000; Oregon Public Broadcasting, $48,000; Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro/East, $47,000; and Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette, $46,000.

This year, the Jeans Days program partners are all Black-led organizations focused on racial justice, education and economic empowerment. In addition to SEI, the program raised more than $500,000 for the following organizations: Envision Children in Cincinnati, Ohio; Urban League of Westchester County, New York; Jubilee Family Development Center in Lynchburg, Virginia; and National Urban League in New York, New York.

"The Standard is delighted to add a double match to each and every gift an employee made to a school or nonprofit they're passionate about at a time when they really need it," said Ness.

More than 2,000 employees pledged support during the campaign. These contributions, which are in addition to The Standard's corporate and foundation giving, will be distributed to nonprofit organizations during 2021.

The Standard describes itself as a family of companies in business since 1906 dedicated to helping customers achieve financial well-being and peace of mind by providing financial protection products and services for employers and individuals. For more information about For more information about community involvement at The Standard, visit standard.com/community.


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