The Power of a Voice

For many people, their voice is how they express themselves to the world.  

It's a way to say, I exist and I am worthy!  

But what happens when people loose their voice?  When their circumstances are so burdensome and their daily lives are so difficult, that their voice is lost.  How can they find their voice again?

That's where Write Around Portland comes into play.  By working with low-income and under-served populations, Write Around Portland offers 8-10 free writing workshops to people all around Portland, to help them find their voice again. 

Check out this video to see the story of Susan, a member of Macdonald Center who worked with Write Around Portland.  


Be an Elf for our 2014 Giving Tree!

Want to bring some cheer to our members? 

Each year, Macdonald Center provides a gift to each of our members and we need your help!  Be a solo elf, or gather a group of friends, coworkers or family members! 

You can help by purchasing individual gifts, valued at $25 or less.  Past Presents have included: twin sheets sets, cooking supplies, funny movies, warm socks and hats.

 If you are interested, contact our Outreach Coordinator, Sarah at

Sarah will send you the gift requests for each member (which has the size request too!)

Return the purchased gifts, wrapped, to Macdonald Center by Friday December 12th. 

Happy Holidays!!

"For it is in giving, that we receive"   St. Francis of Assisi

Hope in the Heart of Portland - the best one yet!

We thought you might enjoy getting some really great news—it sure made us happy! 

 Our annual fundraising event, “Hope in the Heart of Portland,” exceeded our expectations in every way!

 After all the paddles had gone up we raised more than $140,000 —or nearly 50 percent more than our original goal! 

 And the very best news is that we will now translate that success into what we do best:  serving many of Portland’s poorest and most isolated citizens through our visitation and pastoral programs, our assisted living facility, our affordable housing apartments, and our programs that help to educate the next generation of caregivers.

 A heartfelt thank you to everyone who was part of making the evening such a success!


It’s not too late to be part of bringing Hope to the Heart of Portland

Click on the Donate Now button to add your contribution to the effort with our thanks!


 And we hope you’ll join us next year!

Hope in the Heart of Portland 2015!

September 19, 2015

6:00pm at the Portland Art Museum

Wildwood in the City: A Great Success!!


A few weeks ago we took 44 Macdonald Center members to Wildwood Recreation Site on Mt. Hood for a day of fun in the sun in the great outdoors! It was a huge success! Unfortunately not all of our members were up to making the trip in the school buses. 

So we had an idea. 

What if we held a “Wildwood in the City” for the folks who were too medically, physically or emotionally fragile to go? What if we could recreate that “woodsy feel” on our courtyard right here at Macdonald Center so that everyone who wanted to could experience the fun? 

The day was special because anybody and everybody got to play. Members enjoyed the chance to participate in games, fish for prizes, build deeper relationships, and eat some delicious s'mores.  Thanks to everyone who made this day possible!


A Message from our Executive Director

Dear Macdonald Center Community,

I want to let you know about a change to our programming that will be taking place over the coming five months. 

At the direction of our board, we will be phasing out the payee program and medication assistance program which Macdonald Center has operated since 2008 when they were discontinued by Outreach in Burnside due to its impending closure.  All other Macdonald Center programs and services remain the same and are fully available to any members who will be affected by this change.

Three things were central to making this decision:  our focus on remaining true to Macdonald Center’s core mission, the best allocation of the resources we have available to fulfill that mission and to secure Macdonald Center’s future, and the importance of supporting the development of a more comprehensive, sustainable and community-based solution to meet the needs of this challenging population—a population that urgently needs and deserves such a solution.

Macdonald Center’s mission—to nurture the body, mind and spirit of the forgotten poor in Old Town-Downtown Portland by building connections and community—is elegant in its simplicity and reflects the Center’s purpose since our founding in 1991.  Our focus has always centered upon breaking isolation, building personal relationships and developing a sense of community for our members. 

For the past six years Macdonald Center has also done its best to serve a “high-needs” population by providing payee and medication management services. This has required us to devote a disproportionate share of our human and financial resources to provide these services to a small group of individuals. 

While there is no question that these members have benefited from receiving these services, the difficult truth we have learned is that the program model is not any more sustainable today than it was in in 2008. Accordingly, the board made the difficult decision to make these changes.

Fortunately, both of these services are currently offered by other agencies in our community whose missions do include providing these services.  Every effort is being made to thoughtfully and individually transition each person affected to other providers between now and the end of 2014.

More globally, Macdonald Center is involved in a coalition of public and private service providers which has received funding from the State of Oregon to help to develop community-based  solutions that will benefit not just these particular individuals, but also for the many others in our community who need these and other related services. Several coalition staff members will actually be housed at Macdonald Center over the coming months.

While this has been a difficult decision in the moment, we believe that it is the right decision for the future of Macdonald Center.  The decision also has the full knowledge and support of our founder, Father Dick Berg. 

Over time we believe that this will help to secure Macdonald Center’s ability to remain true to our mission and to serve even more people through our highly successful visitation and pastoral programs, our assisted living residence, our affordable housing apartment building, and to be part of helping to educate the next generation of caring individuals dedicated to serving this population.

Macdonald Center remains healthy and poised to continue to fulfill its mission to serve Portland’s forgotten poor.  Your support in making that happen is deeply appreciated—whether it has been as a donor, a volunteer, or both.  We hope that you will continue to support and perhaps consider increasing your involvement with the important and unduplicated work being done by Macdonald Center.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have.


Pat Janik
Executive Director
Macdonald Center