Dear Friends of Kerr,
As we approach the end of this remarkable year, I want to take a moment to reflect on the journey we’ve had together at Albertina Kerr in 2023. It’s been a year filled with achievements, milestones, and truly heartwarming moments. (Pictured above with me is Candace Beeke, Publisher & President of the Portland Business Journal, at Oregon’s Most Admired celebration.)
We are proud of the broad array of programming, including the highly intensive and resource dependent services that Albertina Kerr delivers to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and mental health challenges. These supports include permanent and temporary homes, 24/7 access to services, and highly trained and engaged staff providing therapeutic, employment, and enrichment services that help people live happier, more self-determined lives.
• We served close to 250 kids facing significant mental health crises in our Subacute Inpatient Crisis Psychiatric Unit, providing intensive therapy, psychiatry, and case management to allow them to return home safely.
• We provided safe homes with 24/7 supervision and intensive mental health support to 45 kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and mental health challenges that could no longer be supported by their families.
• 30 adults with disabilities found their own home at Wynne Watts Commons, our affordable, accessible, and sustainable housing complex.
• 90 adults with I/DD were supported in our 24/7 supervised residential, community-based group homes. Over 75 adult residents participated in a day program or other daytime enrichment activities.
• We opened a new Project SEARCH internship program in Multnomah County and continued our Project SEARCH program for the City of Salem, supporting 16 adults with I/DD in gaining employment skills.
• Almost 150 adults with I/DD found or maintained a job in the community.
Recognition and Accolades:
• We were named the 5th Most Admired Nonprofit in Oregon by the Portland Business Journal. Thank you for your unwavering support that makes this recognition possible.
• Kerr’s Wynne Watts Commons received prestigious awards, including the DJC Oregon Building and Diversity Award, the Landmark Award from the Portland Business Journal, and the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center Award for Innovation in Attainable Housing. These accolades underscore our commitment to providing empowering housing solutions for individuals with disabilities.
A New Strategic Vision:
• Our Board of Directors unveiled a new strategic plan for the years ahead, promising growth, innovation, inclusivity, and community engagement. Our mission remains to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges to lead self-determined lives in their communities.
Expanding Our Reach:
• We opened our second youth group home in Marion County, addressing the pressing need for support for young individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges.
• Our newly opened Transitions Kerr Group home guides young adults with I/DDas they step into early adulthood, offering life skills training, advocacy, career exploration, internship support, and educational assistance
• Thanks to generous grants and investments, we’ve been renovating our residential homes in Marion County and the Tri-Counties and expanding our fleet of adaptive bikes at Kerr Bikes and Boats.
Advocacy That Makes a Difference:
• We raised our voices to advocate for better wages for our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) throughout the legislative session, resulting in a 3% increase in their wages as part of the approved budget. There is still more work to do to ensure our hardworking DSPs receive a livable wage.
Grateful for Generosity:
• We’re tremendously grateful to the individuals, foundations, businesses, and government grants for contributing $3.8 million through 1,200+ gifts in 2023 that have allowed us to expand our services to new parts of Oregon, enhance service delivery to take our quality of client care and support to even higher levels, renovate critical care facilities for youth experiencing psychiatric crises, or make our homes even more welcoming for the people we serve. Your partnership is essential to delivering Kerr’s life-changing programs.
In the Spotlight:
• Our achievements were featured in various media outlets, including KGW-8’s “Hello, Rose City!” and Audacy’s “Let’s Talk Portland.” It’s wonderful to see our mission gaining recognition and support.
Empowering Our Team:
• Throughout the year, we celebrated the dedication of our staff at events like the 2023 Bright Future Staff Luncheon, the Purpose, Force, Fun Rally, and the Kerr Fun Zone at Kerr Bikes & Boats. These gatherings strengthened our bonds and our shared commitment to our mission.
• We embarked on a transformative journey of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility (DEIBA) through training and leadership rallies, ensuring that our workplace is a place where everyone can flourish.
In everything we do, our values of compassion, partnership, advocacy, accountability, and innovation continue to guide us.
As we look forward to the coming year, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for making these achievements possible. Your support, dedication, and belief in our mission have been the driving force behind our success.
Wishing you and your loved ones a joyful and peaceful holiday season. Here’s to a bright future filled with more remarkable moments in 2024.
CEO, Albertina Kerr