Farewell Announcement

May 22, 2017

Farewell Blog PostWith grat­i­tude in our hearts, CoAc­tive Con­nec­tions is clos­ing its doors on May 25, 2017.

We are so proud of the impact we have made and the rela­tion­ships we have built. We are look­ing for­ward to see­ing how our poverty train­ing has made a dif­fer­ence in your work and per­sonal lives car­ry­ing for­ward. We are so hon­ored to have spent time with you to improve out­comes for peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty. 

Since we began our jour­ney, we have: 

Where have traveled to bring Poverty Awareness Education?
Where we have trav­eled to facil­i­tate Poverty Aware­ness Education.
  • Edu­cated 4,000 Ore­go­ni­ans (and a few North­ern Californians).
  • Trav­eled approx­i­mately 6,200 miles to pro­vide train­ing around our state.
  • Worked with numer­ous orga­ni­za­tions to cre­ate action plans to iden­tify ways to improve their ser­vices, poli­cies and inter­ac­tions with peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty. Check out some of the groups we have worked with here.


We are mak­ing some of our basic cur­ric­ula avail­able to the pub­lic so that poverty train­ing can con­tinue, even if CoAc­tive Con­nec­tions is clos­ing. While we cus­tomized each and every train­ing we facil­i­tated, some of the basic activ­i­ties and agen­das are avail­able for access, as well as hand­outs and resources. You can view the files and down­load them here. We will be adding addi­tional hand­outs and resources to it as we wrap things up!

If you need to con­nect with us or fol­low up on any­thing, you can reach us for a lit­tle while longer at For those of you who are inter­ested in doing some work around poverty edu­ca­tion but need some addi­tional guid­ance, our Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Melinda Gross, may be avail­able to work with you pri­vately. You can reach her at her per­sonal email:

We con­tin­u­ally embrace our vision that no one should be treated dif­fer­ently because of their eco­nomic sta­tus, and will con­tinue to instill this in every­thing that we do mov­ing for­ward. We hope that you will join us.

With grat­i­tude,

Melinda Gross, Exec­u­tive Director

Can a tax credit reduce poverty?

January 26, 2017

Can a tax credit reduce povertyToday we heard from our friends at the Ore­gon Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy (OCPP) and  Both orga­ni­za­tions are shar­ing time sen­si­tive and crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion regard­ing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

What is the EITC, and why does it mat­ter? The EITC is a tax credit that ben­e­fits low (and mod­er­ate) income fam­i­lies when they file their taxes. It allows fam­i­lies to keep more of their earned income through a refund­able tax return. That money can be used to help pay bills and other necessities.

It is known as “one of the most effec­tive tools for alle­vi­at­ing poverty…When com­bined with the fed­eral Child Tax Credit, the fed­eral EITC helped lift 129,000 Ore­go­ni­ans, includ­ing 65,000 chil­dren, out of poverty each year between 2011 and 2013.” (Ore­gon Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy).

Accord­ing to the OCPP, Ore­gon fam­i­lies expe­ri­enc­ing poverty are miss­ing an oppor­tu­nity to claim about $130 mil­lion per year when they file their taxes at year end. In fact, Ore­gon has one of the low­est rates of par­tic­i­pa­tion in the EITC among tax fil­ers who are eli­gi­ble. This means that Ore­go­ni­ans that qual­ify to receive the credit are not nec­es­sar­ily get­ting it. Con­tinue read­ing Can a tax credit reduce poverty?

Extra! Extra! — Poverty simulation builds empathy

November 3, 2016


We are excited to share an arti­cle pub­lished in the Salem Weekly about our work and an upcom­ing poverty sim­u­la­tion we are facil­i­tat­ing in Salem (and Port­land)!

As you can read in the arti­cle, the poverty sim­u­la­tion is a pow­er­ful edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence for busi­nesses, ser­vice providers, com­mu­nity mem­bers and pol­icy mak­ers.  Build­ing empa­thy empow­ers us to more effec­tively address the sys­temic changes needed to improve out­comes for our com­mu­ni­ties and the folks liv­ing in them who are impacted by poverty.

This is your chance, reg­is­ter for our upcom­ing Poverty Sim­u­la­tions on Nov. 10 in Salem, and Dec. 2nd in Port­land!  Space is limited!

Here is a taste of the Salem Weekly arti­cle:   Con­tinue read­ing Extra! Extra! — Poverty sim­u­la­tion builds empathy

Register Now for Upcoming Poverty Simulation

September 13, 2016

Poverty Simulation in Salem and PortlandAre you an edu­ca­tor or health­care provider who has an impact on the lives of peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty? Are you some­one who works with or inter­acts with peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty? If so, the poverty sim­u­la­tion may be a good train­ing oppor­tu­nity for you!

We are facil­i­tat­ing TWO sim­u­la­tions com­ing up — one in Salem, and one in Port­land. Reg­is­tra­tion is now open, so reg­is­ter early and reserve your spot Space is lim­ited. Reg­is­tra­tion fee: $25.

Poverty Sim­u­la­tion (Salem)Novem­ber 10, 8AM-12PM. Loca­tion To Be Announced. Reg­is­ter here.

Poverty Sim­u­la­tion (Port­land): Decem­ber 2, 8-12PM. Com­mu­nity of Christ Church (4837 NE Couch, Port­land, OR 97213). Reg­is­ter here.

The poverty sim­u­la­tion is a learn­ing tool that will help you gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the daily real­i­ties of poverty. Con­tinue read­ing Reg­is­ter Now for Upcom­ing Poverty Simulation

What We Get To Do

August 11, 2016

Poverty Training Debrief Work

This last May was a trav­el­ing month for us! We were able to edu­cate Ore­go­ni­ans all over the state with our Poverty Aware­ness Training.

It was a great oppor­tu­nity to see lots of beau­ti­ful coun­try, and meet and work with com­pas­sion­ate and car­ing folks from numer­ous com­mu­ni­ties and organizations.

It is hard to call out a favorite or most reward­ing piece of the work we do.  Some of the most imme­di­ate feed­back we get is dur­ing small group work dur­ing our train­ing ses­sion. We usu­ally do some small group work after we have explored data, resources and bar­ri­ers in the com­mu­nity we are train­ing.  We typ­i­cally do this in both a lec­ture and expe­ri­en­tial format.

One of the com­mu­ni­ties we worked in recently did some small group work explor­ing the bar­ri­ers that poverty presents to their clients and patients.  I wanted to share it with you as it sum­ma­rizes so much on one page (check out the image on this blog entry)! Con­tinue read­ing What We Get To Do

What Can You Do: Volunteer at a food bank

June 6, 2016

Summer is here - volunteer!Sum­mer is here!  We have had the heat to prove it!  Also, school will be out soon, if not already.

What can you do this sum­mer for enrich­ing fam­ily activ­i­ties? Vol­un­teer with your chil­dren or chap­er­one a child in your com­mu­nity to volunteer.

This 10 tips for fam­i­lies who want to vol­un­teer from Vol­un­teer­ing in Amer­ica guide is a good start­ing place to con­sider a good fit for your child and your fam­ily as a whole.

Read what Thomas, an ele­men­tary stu­dent vis­it­ing the Mar­ion Polk Food Share in Salem shared after vol­un­teer­ing with his peers:  My name is Thomas.  I vis­ited the Food Share with a group from my school this fall.  We got to help bag up rice and then we went on a tour of the ware­house and saw the new kitchen being built.  I was happy to see all the food.  My fam­ily gets food boxes some­times and it really helps us.  I didn’t want to tell my friends that because I was embar­rassed.  I hope to get to vol­un­teer again so I can help oth­ers. Con­tinue read­ing What Can You Do: Vol­un­teer at a food bank

Traveling to build new curricula

Travelling across the state for focus groups. Here we are in Tillamook with some new friends!
Trav­el­ing across the state for focus groups, mak­ing some new friends along the way!

We have been work­ing in poverty aware­ness edu­ca­tion for almost 5 years now.  We have inter­viewed numer­ous indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­enc­ing poverty and I am con­stantly in awe of the amount of hard­ships and strengths that are revealed to us.

CoAc­tive Con­nec­tions is cur­rently work­ing to develop new cur­ric­ula focus­ing on spe­cific aspects of the poverty expe­ri­ence across Ore­gon.  In order to inform that cur­ricu­lum, we recently trav­eled to both East­ern Ore­gon and the Cen­tral Ore­gon Coast for focus groups with folks expe­ri­enc­ing poverty. A major­ity of the folks we inter­viewed were par­ents of young kids. Con­tinue read­ing Trav­el­ing to build new curricula

Experience a Poverty Simulation

February 4, 2016

Poverty Simulation Salem March 17Have you ever “walked in the shoes” of poverty? The poverty sim­u­la­tion is a learn­ing tool that will help you gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the daily real­i­ties of poverty. Reg­is­ter today to attend the poverty sim­u­la­tion we are facil­i­tat­ing on March 17, 2016 (Thurs­day) in Salem. Space is limited!

Poverty sim­u­la­tion par­tic­i­pants walk away from the train­ing with a bet­ter under­stand­ing of poverty and how it can impact lives and deci­sions.  In addi­tion,  par­tic­i­pants have made indi­vid­ual changes, as well as orga­ni­za­tional changes, as a result of what they have learned. Con­tinue read­ing Expe­ri­ence a Poverty Simulation

Why do I support CoActive?

December 30, 2015
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“We are all affected by poverty. And we can all make a difference.” 

If you are look­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in poverty, con­sider sup­port­ing our work and part­ner­ing with us. Together, we can work to end the neg­a­tive stigma of poverty. CoAc­tive Con­nec­tions also works to improve out­comes out­comes for peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty through our train­ing and education.

How? Con­tinue read­ing Why do I sup­port CoActive?