By George T. Nicola, GLAPN
The Spirit of Portland Awards “recognize local individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to positive change in our community. Award winners are those who have not only worked to improve the community but who have also gone above and beyond a dedication to civic engagement to make a lasting impact.”
The 2015 awards were presented at Portland City Hall on November 17. Among the recipients was the Portland Area Business Association (PABA). PABA is only the second LGBTQ organization to win this distinguished award in its 31-year history.
While advances are being made to ensure equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, LGBTQ Portlanders may still face employment discrimination. One way they can counter this is to start their own businesses.
PABA (the Portland Area Business Association) was founded in 1992 to help local LGBTQ and straight ally enterprises with business development. PABA offers a range of programs including monthly meetings for education, professional advancement, and networking. While these employers welcome other LGBTQ people, their hiring practices are based on full equal opportunity.
PABA has made it a priority to build stronger community ties and collaborate with other area business associations, and proud to work with other minority chambers.
PABA can be an inspiration to LGBTQ young people by demonstrating how they can take control of their own futures. The organization has sponsored numerous programs that help LGBTQ youth explore their personal entrepreneurial interests.
In the process of facilitating the success of its member businesses, PABA creates more jobs for Portlanders of all identities and contributes considerably to Portland metro’s economic vitality.
A full list of this year’s Spirit of Portland Award winners can be found at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/29024. For more details on PABA, please see the organization’s website at http://www.paba.com/.