Organization Spotlight - SOLVE

Organization Name: SOLVE

Organization Mission: SOLVE brings Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship.

Staff Size: 19 (50% are self-identified as "young professionals")

Location: Services offered statewide, office in Downtown Portland

Founding Date: 1969

SOLVE has been around, and doing good, for quite a long time. The organization originally called S.O.L.V. (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) was created by Governor Tom McCall and other community leaders in 1969 to address the need for community action in the ever-growing state. Today SOLVE is building on their vision with a strategic plan that will guide us as we work to improve the environment of Oregon and build a legacy of stewardship.

Interviewee Information:

Name: Quintin Bauer

Title: Education Coordinator (6 years in position)

At age 25, what were you doing and what were you thinking?

I was beginning my masters in Public Administration and thinking that I was excited to begin a new chapter in my life.

All About SOLVE:

Why is SOLVE's work important?  

Oregon has pressing environmental problems including marine debris, the spread of non-native invasive plants, degraded water quality and lack of wildlife habitat. In order to solve these problems it will take the hard work of all Oregonians. SOLVE provides an opportunity for Oregonians to get directly involved in making a difference by leading or attending a volunteer project to improve our environment. SOLVE is able to leverage limited resources with thousands of volunteers to make a positive impact on the health of Oregon's environment.

Why Portland?  

Portland is a great place to live and has a wealth of resources that SOLVE can draw on. The amount of environmenal organizations, community groups, schools, and businesses provides a huge source of volunteers and other support.

If SOLVE had a theme song, what would it be?

Eye of the Tiger - because we are always super pumped to get things done!

What is SOLVE's greatest frustration?

Securing the funding that is required to fulfill our mission is always a challenge. The organization is still dealing with the effeects of the reccession but has made strides recently to stabalize our funding.

And on a lighter note, how about SOLVE's greatest achievement?

We recetly completed two major events, the Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup and our SOLVE IT Earth Day event. These events combined involved over 10,000 volunteers who accomplished a tremndous amount of work.

Where do you see SOLVE in 20 years?

I would like to see SOLVE supporting over a thousand volunteer leaders dedicated to improving their local beaches, parks, natural areas, and town centers. These projects would take place thoughout the year and major strides would have been made in improving our environment.

If SOLVE could hire anyone as a spokesperson, who would it be?

Oh man, these questions are getting tough! Will Ferrell, that would be awesome!

If SOLVE won it big on the lottery, what would you do with $100 million?

Hire Will Ferrell to be our spokesperson! Also, open up regional offices to support communities directly throughout the state.

All About Young Professionals:

What roles do young professionals fill at SOLVE? 

They are spread amongst all the departments, administrative, development, and programs.

What is the greatest reward in employing young professionals?

Youthful enthusiasm and energy, they bring great new ideas to the table.

What are the top skills that you look for when hiring a young professional?

Experience in the non-profit sector especially volunteer work with a similar organization.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing young professionals today?

Specifically to Portland there seems to be a reduction in the number of businesses that are supporting local non-profit organizations, particularly environmental non-profits. This will make it harder for young professionals to get hired. Also the increase in daycare costs make it hard for those of us with children.

And more importantly… do you have a suggested solution?

I wish....!

If you had one bit of advice to pass along to young professionals in their pursuit of becoming tomorrow's leaders, what would it be?

Always be improving, work on your skills, take classes, and network.

And Before We Conclude:

What can YNPN Portlanders do to help SOLVE?

Encourage professional development and networking amongst all non-profit professionals in the area. Having better qualified and trained employees benefits the entire sector!