Our central hub empowers Oregon and Southwest Washington communities by helping people identify, navigate and connect with the local resources they need.
"You let me know that I wasn’t the only one going through this and that I didn’t have to be embarrassed to admit that I needed a little help."
-- Single father who was injured on the job. He was seeking rent assistance for a month until he could receive short term disability and/or a doctor’s approval to go back to work.
211info is dedicated to equity throughout the organization. Equity occurs when all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and no one is disadvantaged as a result of socially determined circumstances. Equity recognizes that socioeconomic differences have historically created barriers for people of color, culturally specific communities, and other marginalized populations. 211info recognizes that racial and ethnic disparities are outcomes of existing institutions and policies that structure various systems. We take initiative to examine our own operations and policies to ensure that equity is threaded throughout the 211info system. To achieve equity in the communities we serve, we must begin internally within our own organization and take a proactive role to create institutional change that addresses disparities. 211info addresses equity by applying an equity lens toward our operational work throughout each organizational department. We are committed to equity, and we will reflect back to our equity statement especially when making decisions that impact our staff, workplace and the diverse communities we serve.
Our independent nonprofit has existed under different names since 1980, however, the big momentum happened in 2000 when 211 was designated by the Federal Communications Commission as the three-digit dialing code for information and referral.
Four years later, 211 was launched in the Portland metro area and we've been expanding ever since.
Today, 211info officially serves every Oregon county as well as Clark, Skamania, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties in Southwest Washington. We have expanded our lines of service to include more than just a phone number. And we are now involved in several special projects that give clients an extra layer of service around such categories as food assistance, parenting and early childhood resources and prenatal care.
Every year 425,000 people contact us by dialing 211, searching for resources on 211info.org, texting their zip code to 898211 or emailing us -- all toll-free and confidential. Within our core referral team and special programs, we have bilingual staff who can take calls in 10 languages, and all staff have access to an interpreter service with more than 140 languages.
With roughly 3,000 agencies in our database providing 42,000 programs, we're everyone's front door to nonprofit, government and faith-based services.
Starting in 2011, two ambitious and socially conscious filmmakers had the idea of shooting a documentary film that shines a light on the dramatic personal stories behind the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. They turned to 211info as the entry point for capturing the story.
For two winters (a two-week stretch to film the pilot one year and several months to shoot the documentary the next) Emmy award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz were embedded with their crew in the 211info offices and in the community. American Winter is the film that emerged - and it is gives a lot of insight as to the type of people we assist on a daily basis.
This film is a touching portrayal of individual families who, like so many people across the U.S., were once middle class but now find themselves below the poverty line and trying desperately to make ends meet.
In February 2013, American Winter debuted at the Portland International Film Festival where it won the Best Documentary Award. It then aired nationally on HBO a month later.
211info was proud to participate in the film. And we're very thankful to Joe and Harry Gantz for their thoughtful storytelling. We hope the documentary raises awareness and elevates the national conversation about poverty on a personal level.