Michelle Cardinal leads the R2C Group in giving back to Central City Concern

Michelle Cardinal leads the R2C Group in giving back to Central City Concern

Name: Michelle Cardinal
Company: R2C Group
Job: CEO and Co-founder

What She Did: Michelle Cardinal has long been a passionate advocate for Central City Concern (CCC) and Portland’s most vulnerable residents. CCC provides comprehensive solutions to end homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency through providing housing, health and employment services.

Michelle first engaged with CCC when she saw camping on Portland’s North Park Blocks explode over the summer of 2014. As a business owner impacted by camping and illegal behavior, Michelle took her concerns to City Hall, and also convened neighborhood meetings where she met CCC’s then-executive director, Ed Blackburn. After a tour of CCC’s services and a number of conversations with Ed and other staff, Michelle was struck by the complexity of the problem as well as the wide range of services that CCC brought to people in need. In 2016, she joined the CCC board of directors.

Michelle acknowledges that Portland’s tremendous economic and population growth has not positively impacted all its residents equally. She believes business has a moral imperative to improve the broader community.

“Seeing homeless people daily in mental anguish and being victimized by predators was gnawing at me,” said Michelle. “Haven’t we all been touched by drug addiction or mental illness, perhaps even in our own families? I know I have. The only difference is I have a strong family structure that made sure our loved ones were safe, and received the necessary treatment to keep them off the streets. Not everyone has that, so it’s our moral duty as a society to provide for those in need.”

Why It's Important: Since joining CCC’s board, Michelle has supported the organization and Portland’s homeless population with her time, donations and connections to other interested people. She served on CCC’s Marketing Advisory Committee and the Capital Campaign Advisory Committee. Her efforts with its latest capital campaign helped CCC raise funds to build 379 units of housing and a health clinic on Portland’s eastside.

Michelle’s company R2C Group (pictured during a volunteer day where the team worked at one of CCC's family housing projects) even donated professional time and expertise to design a capital campaign brochure, and Michelle hosted an educational coffee gathering to introduce her business contacts to the need and opportunity. Last spring, she hosted an art exhibit for painter Ros Vila. The exhibit benefited CCC and also resulted in a donated painting. Not only has Michelle volunteered as an individual, she has also encouraged her employees at R2C to volunteer as well. For the last two years, R2C staff have lent their skills to CCC’s Social Enterprise programs by helping to refine their online marketing. R2C employees have also participated as a group for three years to paint and garden at CCC’s family housing properties.

Lastly, Michelle has been a powerful and compassionate educational voice on the topic of homelessness. In March 2018, she presented “Caring is Good for Business” at the University of Montana’s Gilkey Executive Lecture Series where she shared her experience and understanding of homelessness and how it connects to business. This fall, Michelle transformed her presentation into a published article on SWAY, entitled “Is Caring Good for Business?” CCC and the Portland community at large, are fortunate that Michelle believes the answer is YES!

About Supporting Our Community
Supporting Our Community is a Portland Business Alliance campaign dedicated to sharing the important work businesses and their employees do to make our community a better place. If you have a story to share, submit it here. For questions, please contact Rachael Arnold at rarnold@portlandalliance.com.