Charity & Grassroots in Five Corners

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After spending time in Quaking Grass's furnished loft studio, you learn why some of the yoga, Zumba, and holistic-dance instructors refer to the space as their "big living room." Once inside the studio, you find yourself in a sprawling, high-ceilinged loft. Natural light spills in from tall windows and onto green walls, where African art and decorative Asian fans hang. Scanning the room, you see plush furniture, a kitchenette, and a massive Native American dream catcher, painted white and hanging 6 feet to the floor.

Quaking Grass is home to the Healing Arts Collective; many of its members left positions as businesspeople, teachers, and lawyers in favor of a more relaxed lifestyle. According to director Heather Straube, they each felt called to help others through techniques such as massage, yoga, and dance. Instructors lead students through progressive poses in Vinyasa yoga, dances set to Latin and Caribbean beats in Zumba, and blends of meditative martial arts and freeform movement in Earthquake Ecstatic and Nia dance. Though they guide some classes step-by-step, instructors emphasize free exploration over adhering to a strict routine—reminding students that they can meditate silently, pair off with partners, or dance alone to practice leading and following at the same time.

Once each month, Quaking Grass's members also host an open community clinic, experimental salon, and potluck. Practitioners stationed throughout the space introduce curious guests to basics of tarot-card reading, massage, hypnosis, quantum touch, and a host of other holistic methods—with the hope that visitors, like babies balancing their first checkbooks, experience something new. Individual members, artists, or community practitioners may also lead workshops or lectures explaining their craft.

5010 Northeast 9th Avenue
Portland,
OR
US

When the First Presbyterian Church founded Friendly House—then named the Marshall Street Community Center—in 1926, it was dedicated to a spiritual mission. But when the 1930s gave rise to the Great Depression, its focus quickly shifted to social concerns out of a desire to help those affected by the economic catastrophe. Friendly House’s scope and reach continued to expand over the next few decades, and today it enriches the lives of community members from every age group with educational, recreational, and life-sustaining services.

The neighborhood center and social-services agency help prepare children for school through playgroup and preschool programs. Friendly House also provides housing assistance and transportation for seniors and homeless families and brings the community together through martial-arts classes and other workshops.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand to projects big and small at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

2617 NW Savier St
Portland,
OR
US

Whether they're dangling from a tree, a club's ceiling, or pull-up bars inside the studio, A-WOL's cohort of dancers dazzles with a unique combination of dance and aerial fitness. Classes range from aerial yoga to trapeze, helping participants fly through the air like projectile cream pies. Instructors ensure that each participant soars safely by building a strong foundation before testing out skills and tricks.

2303 N Randolph Ave
Portland,
OR
US

Ride Connection’s weekday door-to-door-transportation service furnishes free rides to adults ages 60 and older and to people with disabilities, connecting them to medical-care facilities, grocery stores, workplaces, and the homes of friends and family members. The nonprofit doesn't charge participants a fee for its largely volunteer-driven services, thus ensuring that those with a low-income receive equal access to transportation. For participants with limited mobility, ready access to transportation can grant a sense of independence by allowing them to travel outside of their homes in order to meet day-to-day needs.

3030 SW Moody Ave
Portland,
OR
US

December 31 is the last day to claim deductions for 2010. Deductions depend on quality of items. Only valid for pick-up within 25 miles of downtown Portland; items can't be dropped off. Must call before November 21 or save for 2011.

1631 NE Broadway St
Portland,
OR
US

Mark and Amy Meyers bought their first donkey, Izzy, more than a decade ago. Though they only sought a pet, their close relationship with Izzy inspired them to take up a cause. Soon after buying Izzy, they noticed that other donkeys in the neighborhood were suffering from abuse and neglect. They took immediate action: Amy began adopting the donkeys, and Mark spent his evenings talking to the donkeys and tending to their ailments. After they adopted their 25th donkey, they decided to start their own rescue organization, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.

Peaceful Valley, which currently cares for more than 1,500 donkeys, rescues domestic donkeys that have been abused or neglected and wild burros that have been displaced from their natural habitat. The donkeys are often found injured and wandering in the wilderness or are surrendered by their owners. After being rescued, they live in one of the farm sanctuaries in Texas, Oregon, or other satellite locations. Peaceful Valley has worked with capture programs, private landowners, and numerous government agencies—including the National Park Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife—to ensure that all donkeys have a safe place to live. Toward that aim, Peacefully Valley also holds clinics, trains donkey owners to better care for their animals, and educates the public about the nature and history of donkeys to improve their plight.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

6328 Southeast 58th Avenue
Portland,
OR
US