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Empowering  future generations by providing culturally responsive mentoring and experiential learning opportunities along various pathways so they can build their  own futures and careers. 


The Blueprint Foundation was founded by members of the Portland chapter of the historically Black fraternal organization, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. The move was in response to a 2010 census report on the state of education in Oregon that identified large disparities in high school retention and graduation rates for Black students in Portland’s Public high schools versus their white counterparts.

Our intent was to shift the numbers by providing Black youth with access to workforce development that would complement their schoolwork and solidify their interest in careers of the future. The green sector is growing due to major investments in tackling global environmental challenges that happen to disproportionately impact Black community members. Recruitment and retention literature stresses the importance of personal connections to one’s work for retention in any career, but particularly in fields related to science and engineering.  Consequently, the combination of promising job prospects and culturally meaningful work led us to select the green sector as the focus of our efforts.


Successful movements require a threshold of change agents who live and work within the context where the change is to occur. The green movement of Portland has yet to meet this threshold, due to the disenfranchisement of residents from lower- socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minority, LGBTQ2IA+, and disabled communities.

We firmly believe that we need people from the most vulnerable communities to not only become knowledgeable about the environment, environmental degradation, and solutions, but to also develop a visceral connection to nature – Connections that lead to increases in nature-based activities, informed advocacy, and life-long stewardship, including stewardship performed through careers in the green sector.

Blueprint programming is intended to engage Black identified community members of various intersectional identities in nature-based activities that foster a realization that the environment is an extension of themselves – As much a part of their wellbeing as eating or breathing or meditating because it is.

Believing so is the reclamation of our ancestral history of reciprocity – of being one with the earth rather than an owner of it.

Reconnecting our people to the environment requires:

  • Physically engaging them in culturally relevant activities that build neural associations with green spaces.
  • Culturally responsive education about what they are seeing and experiencing.
  • Empowerment to take an active role in intersectional environmentalism.

Once we have these connections made in our brains, we will forever have the urge to advocate for and steward the environment just as we advocate for and protect ourselves. But it starts with multigenerational for-us-by-us programming. Consequently, we partner with organizations that share our belief that access to culturally- nature- based activities and training fosters stewardship and conservation ethics in people.


Land Acknowledgement

As people of the African diaspora, we offer this land recognition in solidarity with the original caretakers of this sacred Land, including the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes who share our ancestral history of reciprocity with nature. 

We acknowledge that the Land was never meant to be owned and taken by force and genocide. We also recognize that historical and ongoing colonialism makes this Land Acknowledgement an insufficient gesture. Land Acknowledgements are merely a tiny step on the long journey to rectify the pervasive systemic injustices and genocide faced by Indigenous Peoples. 

We believe true justice includes Land Back, as Indigenous sovereignty is intricately linked to our collective liberation. We seek to amplify the voices and activism of Indigenous community members and organizations who continue to steward the Land while seeking justice. Further, as Black people, we recognize the complexity of including stolen Land as part of reparations for the enslavement of Black people. 

The Land of Turtle Island sustains us all. We wish to express profound gratitude to its Indigenous peoples for their stewardship of the natural resources we depend on for sustenance, shelter, and mental wellbeing.