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(Pictured L to R: Shouka Darvishi, a member of the Kerr Governing Board, David Lake, past chair of the Board, and Kerr CEO Allison Stark)

Dear Friends of Kerr,

February has been a whirlwind at Kerr. Snagging an extra day thanks to leap year feels like a nice bonus. As I reflect on the month’s events, from speaking about Disability Justice to students at my son’s high school to making homemade pasta alongside our Governing and Foundation Board of Directors during our Annual Retreat, every moment has been filled with a sense of purpose.

Kerr’s annual Governing and Foundation Board retreat was a resounding success, filled with productive discussions, memorable mission moments, and amazing food. On the final day, Paul Litwinczuk was appointed as the new Chair of our Board of Directors, succeeding David Lake. Laurine Apolloni will serve as the Chair-Elect. We are so excited to welcome our new leadership! (Photos: Bottom row)

We are also incredibly grateful to David Lake for his dedication and contributions to Kerr since July 2019 and as Chair since June 2020. He welcomed me into the organization and has been an amazing partner. I will miss his calm counsel, thoughtfulness, and strategic thinking. For his next adventure, he and his wife have been asked to lead a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We are in the final stretch of the short Oregon State Legislative session. With updated optimistic state tax revenue projections, there is an opportunity to advocate for increased wages for our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Let’s raise our voices together! The Oregon Resource Association has set up a voter voice campaign, Action Center (, and we urge everyone to participate. Our ask is simple: we want the Oregon Legislature to prioritize DSP wages this session and fund a mid-biennium increase of $1/hour effective July 1, 2024. This represents our ONLY opportunity to request additional funding before the 2025 session.

I’m also beyond excited to announce that we’re recruiting for a Self-Advocate Coordinator to join our team. This role calls for someone with lived developmental disability experience to champion inclusive services, lead advocacy efforts, and chair our Self-Advocacy Committee. Learn more.

On February 28, Salem Mayor Chris Hoy and Deputy City Manager Krishna Namburi offered encouraging words to our eight Project SEARCH interns as they put pen to paper, signing their commitment to a 9-month internship with the City of Salem. (Photo: Top row)

With generous support from the James and Shirley Rippey Foundation, the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund, and the Clark Foundation, we have created a more comfortable and supportive environment for the youth in our inpatient Crisis Psychiatric Care (Subacute). The makeover includes updates like soundproof ceilings, adjustable LED lighting, and refreshed bathrooms, all designed to provide a serene, calming space for youth in crisis. (Photos: Middle row)

In January, the OCF Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation gave Kerr three grants. In addition to the organization’s general operations, funds will support programming in our adult group homes and other services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are grateful for the foundation’s longtime support and its commitment to the communities we serve.

Did you catch the bedazzled surreys at Portland’s Mardi Gras parade? Each year, our friends from Mysti Crewe of Nimbus rent surreys from Kerr Bikes, our social enterprise. Proceeds benefit Kerr’s services. Are you planning a team or family outing? Rent from Kerr Bikes and support a great cause. Read about Mysti Krewe’s impact in last year’s Portland Monthly. (Photo: Middle row)

March kicks off National Developmental Disabilities Month. Your continued dedication fuels our mission. Thank you for your unwavering support!

Allison Stark
CEO, Albertina Kerr