Lowenstein Trust

Recognizing those who are making a difference for the underserved

The nomination period for the 2017 Lowenstein Trust Award has closed. We appreciate everyone who took time to submit nominations. The recipient will selected and announced by December 6th. The awardee will be recognized at a December meeting of the Portland City Council. Date and time TBA.
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Thank You!

Aasha Benton, Leigh Bohannon, and Dr. Keisha Thomas
, of Delta Sigma Theta, were the recipients of the
2016 Lowenstein Trust Award, for their work with African-American young women in the City of Portland.

The awardees, Portland City Council, and Lowenstein Trust Board Chairs

The award, which included a $7,500 grant, was presented at Portland City Council, Wednesday, December 7th, 2016.
Video of the morning Council session is available via Portland City Council’s video services.

The three honorees are volunteer leaders of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy.
The Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST) has been a pillar of Portland’s black community since 1945. Its 250 college-educated members have lived on the front line of African American and women’s civil rights and social justice issues. The Chapter provides an extensive array of public service initiatives through its Five-Point Program Thrust of Economic Development, Educational Development, International Awareness and Involvement, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and Involvement.

The awardees and the Lowenstein Trust Board

Leigh Bohannon is a native Oregonian. She attended Grant High School and graduated from Alabama A&M University in 2006. Since returning to Portland, she has devoted much of her time to working to improving life options for young women from difficult circumstance, via the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta as co-chair of Delta GEMS.

Aasha Benton
is co-chair of the GEMS program. She is also a certified Zumba instructor and donates her time teaching classes throughout the community championing deliberate physical activity as a key element in overcoming the challenges in achieving better health outcomes in the African-American community. (Chapter President Jean Loomis, accepted on Ms. Benton’s behalf)

Keisha Thomas, PhD
, is an electrical engineer originally from Brooklyn, NY. Since moving to Portland, she has volunteered with the Portland Alumnae Chapter’s Dr. Betty Shabazz Academy. She has also worked to overcome the disparities Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers by mentoring youth in after-school, summer camps, and other STEM-based programs for over 15 years.

The awardees and DST sorors.

The Lowenstein Trust is proud to join others in recognizing the important work the awardees have done around youth mentorship. “Each year we receive impressive nominations. This year we are glad to be able to recognize the work of three wonderful individuals and their organization. As always, we encourage the community to celebrate and support our 2016 awardees, as well as think about nominees for next year.” Joe Hertzberg, Chair, the Lowenstein Trust.



In 2015, Lowenstein Trust proudly recognized Paul Schroeder’s many years of service, advocacy, and action in support of the homeless in the City of Portland. Paul’s work with the New City Initiative, has assisted over 150 men, women, and children make the difficult transition from homelessness to more permanent housing and enough stability for children to succeed in school and adults to gain employment. Those who nominated Paul for the award felt he truly embodies the key Communal Practices of the New City initiative : Compassionate Seeing, Heartfelt Listening, Intentional Welcoming, Joyful Sharing, Grateful Receiving, Cooperative Building.

Paul Schroeder, with 2015 Lowenstein Trust Chair, Michelle Harper


Your financial support helps make our annual award possible. We have recently added an online donation page (see link at the top of this page ) to this site to make it easier to donate. Please consider making a donation to help the Lowenstein Trust continue its mission.

Photos: Art Alexander


Steve Lowenstein was an inspiring model of public service. His sense of purpose, his integrity, and his perseverance inspired many who have worked on issues of human rights and social justice. He joined the Peace Corps after law school in the early 1960s and wrote a textbook on Ethiopian law. He worked in Washington DC for the Office of Economic Opportunity and in Chile for the Ford Foundation. He was founding Director of Oregon Legal Services, developed the funding mechanism for legal aid, authored a groundbreaking history—The Jews of Oregon 1850-1950—and at the time of his death in 1990 had served for six years as Executive Assistant to former City Commissioner Mike Lindberg.

The Award -Steve liked most to have an impact from behind the scenes. His will established a board managed endowed trust fund for the Lowenstein Trust award with the following stipulation:

“The recipient of the Lowenstein Trust Award shall be that person who demonstrated (in the opinion of the Trustees) the greatest contribution to assisting the poor and underprivileged in the city of Portland, Oregon. Each year the recipient must be in need of these funds to help carry on his or her work and must use the award to further the type of work for which it was given.”

Art Alexander, Jamaal Folsom, Michelle Harper, Margery Harris, Joe Hertzberg (Chair), Marc Jolin, Paul Kelly, David Thornburgh, Charles R. Williamson

Nick Fish, Sandra Haefker, Daniel Jacobs, Mike Lindberg, Chris Lowenstein, Lee Rosner, Kris Wilkinson.

Gretchen Kafoury, Ron Paul

Contact/ Mail Contributions:
The Lowenstein Trust
c/o Charlie Williamson
6312 SW Capitoal Highwat #408
Portland, Oregon 97239