Bend Cares is collaborative project designed to provide an easy way for visitors to Downtown Bend to give to local Bend charities. Noticing that panhandling in Downtown Bend was on the rise, Bend City Council voted to work together with the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) on the Bend Cares project to create a more sustainable giving option for donors.
The DBBA, whose mission is to increase the economic vitality of Downtown Bend, went to City Council with concerns about the changing culture in Downtown Bend due to the growth of our City. Based on feedback from business owners, building owners, and the public, the DBBA recognized Bend Cares as an opportunity to further accomplish one of the DBBA's primary goals, which is to preserve Downtown's historic, family-friendly environment.
This opportunity included upholding the innate Bend culture of kindness. "Be kind you're in Bend" is more than just a tag-line - it's who we are at our core. Downtown is the heart of Bend, and the leader (since 1903) in creating the Bend culture that we know and love to this day.
One of the experiences that did not feel in-alignment with the culture of a family-friendly Downtown, was the encroaching occurrences of aggressive panhandling within the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District (EID).
Understanding the clear research showing that panhandling is not effective at ending homelessness or hunger in communities, and under the advisement of the Downtown Livability Committee, the DBBA proposed to Bend City Council the Bend Cares Program as an informational campaign to drive donors and their donations to organizations that best serve the specific needs of individuals needing services.
The Bend Cares program will encourage generous individuals to donate to organizations and programs that provide holistic and ongoing services throughout the community for individuals in need. Donors will be able to easily give using their smartphones. Information on housing, meals and other assistance will be provided to those in need.
Who are the people on the posters?
If you've been to Downtown Bend recently, you might have seen the Bend Cares banners, posters, and customer cards. All of these materials are designed to bring awareness to the Bend Cares campaign and encourage donors to give to our local organizations. The photos on the materials are photos of the local Bend citizens who volunteer at the organizations supported by the Bend Cares program. We want to celebrate those who are 'giving back' to our community, and encourage other to do the same. Photos were taken by Joshua Langlais, best known for his A Community Thread work.
How can I get involved?
If you'd like to get involved with the Bend Cares project, you can donate now, like our Facebook Page, join our Livability Committee, Volunteer for the project or, if you are a business or organization, you can become a Signature Business!
What is a "Signature Bend Cares Business"?
A Bend Cares Signature Business is a business that has entered into the collective Bend Cares partnership and joined the Bend Cares mission. You can find more information about the Bend Cares program when you visit this businesses, and you can find a list of these businesses on the Bend Cares website (click here)
For more information, please visit www.bendcares.org, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, please feel free to read this person letter from our DBBA Executive Director, Mindy Aisling.