Early Childhood Champion Julie Young Honored with the 2022 Alexander Award

Early Childhood Champion Julie Young Honored with the 2022 Alexander Award

Children’s Institute is thrilled to honor Julie Young as this year’s recipient of the Alexander Award for her dedication and commitment to ensuring that young children in Oregon have the love, education, and care they need.  

The award was announced at CI’s Champions for Children event on December 1, 2022.   

Julie was on Children’s Institute’s Board of Directors from 2008-2022 and has been a tireless early childhood advocate for decades. She has been integral in supporting and advancing early childhood policies in Oregon.  

Julie is a retired social worker with clinical experience at a community mental health center, where she was a therapist. She has been a lifelong champion for young children and families, with a special focus on early childhood issues, children’s mental health, and education.  

We want to express our endless gratitude to Julie, whose passion and tireless commitment to children and families is evident every day. Her endless commitment to children and families has been instrumental in making Oregon the best place to be a kid.    

“Julie Young has been a persistent, tireless advocate for the needs of young children,” said Nan Waller, a former CI Board member.  

“She is also one of the most gracious, compassionate people that I know. Her combination of grace and grit have proven to be a powerful force in improving the lives of children,” Waller said. 

We want to express our endless gratitude to Julie, whose passion and tireless commitment to children and families is evident every day.  

Julie Young 2022 Alexander Award

More about the Alexander Award 

The Alexander Award is named for prominent Oregon leader Dick Alexander and was first awarded by Children’s Institute to Governor John Kitzhaber in 2013 for his work building Oregon’s early childhood system. Since then, the award has recognized individual leaders such as Ken Thrasher and Sue Miller and communities like Wallowa County for significant work to improve the lives of young children. Beyond honoring individual leaders and communities, the Alexander Award calls attention to the need for business and civic leaders to work together to build a system of programs and services to support children’s healthy development and school readiness in order to ensure Oregon’s future success. 

We’re in Willamette Week’s Give!Guide!

We’re in Willamette Week’s Give!Guide!

Fall has officially arrived and we’re entering a season of giving and gratitude. With that, we’re excited to announce that for the first time, we’re participating in Willamette Week’s Give!Guide and our goal is to raise $20,000!

Give!Guide is Portland’s largest annual grassroots fundraising effort that showcases local nonprofits with the goal to raise as much money as possible for participating organizations and build a culture of giving.  

From November 1 – December 31, Give!Guide will highlight 200+ Portland nonprofits making big impacts in our community. This is a fun and easy way to give and raise awareness about Children’s Institute!



We need your support to help make Oregon the BEST place to be a kid. And when we work together, we can make lasting changes that ensure all children have access to the love, care, and education they need to thrive. 

Each week features a Big Give Day, with incredible prizes from some of Portland’s most-loved establishments. When you make a $10+ donation on one of these days, you’ll automatically be entered to win!

11/3: An e-bike giveaway from Splendid Cycles.   

11/9: Three prize packages from the Portland Trail Blazers.    

11/17: Four $250 gift certificates from Atlas Tattoo.   

11/23: Two $500 gift cards from Powell’s Books.    

11/29: One-night stay at Salishan Coastal Lodge.    

12/7: A shopping spree and product giveaway from New Seasons Market.    

12/15: Four Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Backpacks stuffed full of gear.   

12/21: A Trek Bicycle package courtesy of Portland’s Trek Bicycle stores.    

12/28: Five $200 gift cards from John’s Marketplace.    

12/29: Two $500 gift cards from Portland Nursery.    

12/30: A Mt. Hood – Timberline Lodge Experience package thanks to the Cultural Trust.

Additionally, our neighbor, SuperJoy Coffee Lab, has graciously offered to give our supporters a 20% discount when you donate November 1 through November 7, so be sure to stop by for a cup of joy! 

You can also support us by:   

  • Sharing our social media posts (don’t forget to follow us!)  
  • Forwarding this email to friends, neighbors, & loved ones   

For more information about Give!Guide, visit giveguide.org.


CI Partners with Family of Julie Mancini, Continues Legacy for Children

CI Partners with Family of Julie Mancini, Continues Legacy for Children

Julie was part of the CI family and a fierce champion for Oregon’s children. In partnership with her family, we have set up a dedicated donation page in her memory so we can continue to work hard to make sure children and communities thrive.

The journey from the start of her career as a preschool teacher to a board member on Children’s Institute’s Board of Directors was a full-circle moment. “Coming to Children’s Institute feels like coming home,” she said.

We will always remember Julie as someone who refused to allow the status quo to define how she treated others, especially children. She was someone who saw them, cared for them, and loved them dearly.



Leading in the Wilderness of Love

Originally published September 2, 2022 by Kali Thorne Ladd

Earlier this week, we lost one of our fiercest champions for children in Oregon, Julie Mancini.

Julie began her career as an early childhood educator and when she joined the Children’s Institute Board, said it felt like “coming home.”

Julie held many titles — mother, grandmother, leader, mentor, advocate, and friend. For those of you who knew her, you inevitably experienced her light and passion. Her irreverence for the status quo and commitment to always doing what was right by kids — no matter what — set her apart from many, and exemplified her special power.

To say that it was an honor to have her as a part of the CI family seems an understatement at best. Her presence, sharp wit, fabulous sense of humor, and eagerness to change things for the betterment of all are part of her lasting legacy.

And of course, Julie’s leadership extended beyond just children: she led and served in many nonprofits in Oregon including College Possible, Mercy Corps, Caldera, and Literary Arts.

But where Julie led best is in the wilderness of love. She loved her people, and she let them know it. Perhaps this is what made her shine brightest, because to be seen and loved is the greatest gift. Julie bestowed this gift upon many, and our lives are forever changed for the better because of it.

We love you back, Julie. And we will miss you.

But know this: We will continue to do the hard work on behalf of children in your honor; you wouldn’t want it any other way.

With the deepest gratitude,

Kali Thorne Ladd
Children’s Institute


Oregon’s Kids Need Bold Leadership Now

Oregon’s Kids Need Bold Leadership Now

Our leaders must know that children are at the heart of a healthy and thriving state.

That’s why yesterday in the Sunday Oregonian, Kali Thorne Ladd, CI’s chief executive officer, and Whitney Grubbs, executive director of Foundations for a Better Oregon, made the call for Oregon’s next governor—whoever the voters ultimately choose—to commit to the kind of bold and visionary leadership that Oregon’s kids need during these challenging times. Our children are too important for this articulated vision not to exist. 

“Most young Oregonians are still struggling with the aftermath of an extraordinarily difficult few years. Helping them move forward is an urgent challenge and critical to the future of our state—and yet, we’ve heard astonishingly little about children throughout this year’s historic governor’s race,” write Thorne Ladd and Grubbs in the op-ed, featured Sunday, September 18.

Children’s Institute and Foundations for a Better Oregon are working to help advocates for Oregon’s kids align our voices to elevate children, education, and care in the issue environment. Together, we can make sure children are centered in everyone’s vision for the future of our state.


Join us for a Preview of Right to Read!

Join us for a Preview of Right to Read!

Join us on Thursday, July 21, for a preview of a powerful new documentary called Right to Read. The film explores America’s literacy crisis and what to do about it.

We’ll watch clips from the film and conversation with educators featured in the documentary, then have an engaging Q&A facilitated by Y.O.U.th leaders.

Date: Thursday, July 21, 2022
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST

Register now.
Watch the trailer.


Imani Muhammad, Executive Director, Y.O.U.th (facilitator)

Paula Byrd, Board Chair, Y.O.U.th

Kali Thorne Ladd, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Institute


Right to Read partners

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