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Chair's Blog

Alliance members come together to support Knight Cancer Challenge October 2014
By Debbie Kitchin

On September 23, I had the honor of helping launch an effort between labor and business, Unite for the Knight, where business and union locals joined forces to help raise money for the OHSU Knight Cancer Challenge. Many of my fellow Alliance board members, as well as leaders of the state’s largest business and labor organizations, participated in the launch. It was inspiring to see leaders from both sides of the table come together for the greater good of our city and region.

As you know, Phil and Penny Knight pledged to give a $500 million grant to the OSHU Knight Cancer Center if OHSU can match the funds in two years. With still over a year to go, OHSU is only $69 million short of reaching that goal. I believe this is our opportunity to help them get there.

The Knight Cancer Challenge is a unique opportunity for the region. An investment of this magnitude in biomedical research and technology will serve as a catalyst for economic activity in the form of immediate jobs, as well as long-term industry growth. And, thanks to the brilliant researchers at OHSU, we have a chance at finding a cure for cancer.

Many of our members have committed their support to the Knight Cancer Challenge. Portland General Electric (PGE) announced last week a donation of $100,000 to the Knight Cancer Challenge from its corporate foundation. PGE is also featuring the challenge in its Employee Giving Campaign over the next month and encouraging employees to participate in a variety of grassroots fundraising events.

Hoffman Construction was one of the first to implement an employee giving campaign for the Knight Cancer Challenge. In less than two months after Hoffman announced it would match employee contributions to the Knight Challenge four to one, the company raised nearly $1.5 million for the cause. ESCO Corporation has also included the Knight Cancer Challenge as one of six charity partners whom they match 50 percent of employee contributions.

This kind of campaign can be really successful in smaller businesses, too. Here at the Alliance, we are matching employee contributions to the Knight Cancer Challenge. With a staff less than 30, we’ve already raised $2,500.  

I hope you will join me and many of your fellow Alliance members in supporting Unite for the Knight. There are many ways to get involved, including making a personal contribution, a corporate contribution, implementing an employee giving campaign, or volunteering your time through some sort of grassroots effort.

To donate, visit And, when you have contributed, let us know by tweeting @OHSUKnight and @PDX_BizAlliance with #UnitefortheKnight. 
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