Open Meadow Schools Portland

A Case Study

Portland, Oregon

Open Minds

Westby began working with the newly re-named Open Meadow Schools in 2001 as it envisioned rapid growth in response to the combination of a burgeoning need in Portland for alternative education, and a model that was setting the pace for others to follow. Under the dynamic leadership of Carole Smith, who later went on to become the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools, eyes soon focused on a pair of key pinch-points for future growth and expansion:

  1. the linkage with Roosevelt High School and its feeder middle schools
  2. improving the ability to transition post-graduation

Sudden Opportunity

The early work started with strategic planning, including revitalization of the mission and formation of a five-year vision, as well as implementation planning for each of the strategic priorities. Even as board development work began the need for a building that could serve as the access and coordination platform for Open Meadow’s highly successful CRUE program (Corps Restoring the Urban Environment), as well as to launch the Corporate Connections Program, was apparent and urgent.

As a result of a broad campaign that focused on Open Meadow’s vision to ensure all students a level playing field, Open Meadow was able to:

  • expand to serve Roosevelt’s feeder middle schools (George, Portsmouth, and Open Meadow Middle School)
  • open a building to serve CRUE and other Transition Programs, allowing it to expand the number of high school students served.
  • launch Corporate Connections, providing employment readiness training, internships, and career track jobs with local corporations

Funding Partners

In addition to local corporate and individual philanthropy, the capacity campaign included support from the Murdock Charitable Trust, the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was at the same time launching its focus on small school learning.

What The Community Says

“While working with Mike during my tenure as Executive Director of Open Meadow Schools he really helped us to think and act strategically. He helped us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. As a result of that perspective we were able to create and share a vision with the community that energized our organization and connected it to strategic partners.”

Carole Smith

Open Meadow Schools

Project Timeline


Westby Hired


Capacity Campaign Launched


Capacity Campaign Completed

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