Spring Wrap Up

Image reads "wrap up" with a microphone

And just like that we’re over halfway through summer!

Here’s our late, but great spring highlights, as part of our quarterly series sharing our top highlights from each season. 

Youth Vote Interns

In coordination with School Board Elections and building off our legislative work to pass pre-voter registration for 16 and 17 year olds, we ran our peer-to-peer voter registration program across 18 high schools in Oregon, hiring 18 interns to make class raps and pre-register their peers. 


We expanded our UPTURN program which is now open to 60 youth participants per session. We did this through consultation work with AORTA that led to redesigning UPTURN curriculum and building in new accessible facilitation techniques for Next Up organizers.

 Read more about our youth leadership programs and internship opportunities.

Regional Transportation Listening Sessions

Collaborating with Metro, we hosted two listening sessions focused specifically on youth feedback for the 2023 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). We had 39 total participants, with the median age of 22. The top themes identified within the RTP centered accessibility, removing cost barriers for all transit riders, and emphasized safety and community wellbeing for transit riders without more policing.

next up logo

Next Up is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that amplifies the voice and leadership of diverse young people to achieve a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)3 branch.

Two Priority Bills Pass in the 2023 Legislative Session

We’re ecstatic to announce that two of Next Up Action Fund’s priority bills, Expanding Automatic Voter Registration and Ranked Choice Voting, passed during the 2023 legislative session which ended in June. We sit on the steering committee for ranked choice voting, and co-managed the first launch of the campaign in 2021. For Ranked Choice Voting, this is a historic win not only for Oregon but also nationwide! RCV (HB 2004) is the first statewide ranked choice voting legislation to pass out of a legislative chamber across the United States.

Read more about our 2023 Legislative Session here.

Legislative Happy Hour

More than 75 people joined us for tamales, drinks, community-building, and a raffle, as well as to hear our recap of our legislative and electoral work. It was great to be able to thank our partners and supporters, announce our move to a new office, and share our accomplishments with our community.

Youth-Led School Board Endorsements

To align with School Board Elections, we recruited and facilitated a paid, endorsement committee who helps shape our endorsement decisions. Our committee was made up of our high school base members, staff, and board members with a focus on Black, Indigenous, Youth of Color and intersectional youth having full leadership and decision making power. We endorsed 16 Candidates across 5 counties and 1 Ballot Measure for Multnomah County.

May Election Impact

Based on endorsements, we outlined and executed a field plan that prioritizes values-aligned people that are under 35 years old and that are Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian and Pacific Islander, queer and trans, disabled, low income, and from oppressed communities. Focusing on candidates in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Lane and Linn Counties. We hired 8 Election Organizers who made 32,601 calls and knocked 867 doors.

next up action fund logo

Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)(4) branch.

2023 Participatory Budgeting Results

Our organization launched a participatory budget process to help us accomplish a values-aligned, more profound form of youth leadership. We formed a steering committee, created a rulebook, gathered ideas, and developed proposals. From those proposals we had 143 participants rank their votes to inform us on how to spend $10,000 in 2023. The Participatory Budgeting Results are in and the winners are:

BIPOC Youth Music Festival and Mutual Aid Fund! 🥳 🎶🤑

🔑 Stay locked in to learn how we will be implementing both projects soon. For more info and tools on implementing a participatory budgeting process visit Youth PB and The Participatory Budgeting Project.

These top two projects will be funded in 2023/2024, and we’re excited to partner with @friendsofnoise and others to make this a reality for our amazing, youth-centered network of supporters! 🎉

Support the Movement for Youth Power with a “We are the Present & Future” T-shirt

Every major social movement in history has been driven by young people boldly leading the way.

For 21 years, Next Up has helped fuel youth movements for change in Oregon. We know that young people can be trusted with power – not as “future leaders,” but as leaders of today. 

Youth power is needed more than ever. We as young people have a right to make decisions about the world in which we live and the future we will inherit. Too little is being done to tackle the urgent crises facing our climate, housing, the racial wealth divide, income inequity, and democracy.

Next Up’s staff, board, and youth members are 13-35 years old (with an average age of 26) and majority Black, Indigenous, youth of color, and intersectional youth. We believe that by investing in young people’s collective power today, we will build towards a liberated and just future. If you share this belief, help spread the word: young people are the present & future.

This shirt is available in a 1-month campaign that ends with a celebration of Next Up’s 21st birthday. All proceeds after production costs will go directly to our general operating costs as a 501(c)3 organization. Your support fuels our continued work to scaffold new generations of young leaders and power up transformative movements for social change. 

The time to invest in youth organizing is NOW. Please share this far and wide! 

Classic t-shirt sizes: S-5XL, youth t-shirt sizes: XS-XL, hoodies: S-5XL.

2023 Legislative Session Wrap Up

When Next Up Action Fund entered the session in January we had a bold agenda to transform our electoral system. We prioritized bills that were rooted in racial, economic, and youth justice, and more specifically, ones that would break down systemic barriers to participation, and increase equitable processes and outcomes in elections.

Now that the legislative session has concluded, here are some of the achievements that we are celebrating with our community, coalition and organizational partners:

  • Expanding Automatic Voter Registration to Oregon Health Plan – registering 170,000 eligible but unregistered voters (HB 2107)
  • Statewide Ranked Choice Voting heads referred to the 2024 ballot (HB 2004)
  • Fair Shot for All Coalition: The state’s economic justice coalition, celebrated the passage of its priority policy agenda: Indigenous Language Justice (SB 5506), Reproductive Health and Access to Gender Affirming Care (HB 2002), Stable Homes Homelessness Prevention Package (SB 611, HB 2001, and HB 5511) and In Defense of Humanity (SB 337).

Here is a snapshot of our community engagement work:

  • Two of our priority electoral justice policies passed: Automatic Voter Registration Expansion and Statewide Ranked-Choice Voting
  • Guaranteeing the Right to Vote: We were able to drive 587 emails to lawmakers, build and expand our coalition to over 50 organizations, write letters to over 450 currently incarcerated individuals, and drive over 150 pieces of supportive written testimony
  • Five events: Including legislative 101 and testimony writing workshops, a virtual lobby day with the ACLU of Oregon, and briefings for legislators on our policy priorities

While the passage of the listed bills was important, failure to pass our other priority bills this session was a missed opportunity to further advance accessibility and racial justice in voting systems.

Through our partnership with Oregon Justice Resource Center and Unite Oregon, Oregon had the chance to be the first state to restore voting rights to currently incarcerated individuals in the Oregon Department of Corrections custody. The bill (SB 579) advanced from its policy committee before being held up in the budget committee.

Additionally, through the Transforming Justice Coalition, the Equitable Workgroups bill did not advance out of the Ways and Means Committee.

We’re so thankful to the countless people who showed up by emailing their legislators, giving verbal or written testimony, texting friends to get involved or simply sharing our social media graphics to support our work this session.

In community,

Isabela Villarreal, Policy and Communications Director

next up action fund logo

Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)(4) branch.

Next Up Launching Youth Organizing Teams

Are you a young person interested in building community, learning about, and organizing for social change? Next Up is excited to announce that we are launching our flagship youth organizing teams for the 2023/2024 year, and it’s your opportunity to join and make a change in your community.

Our Youth Action Team and Community Action Team are our flagship year-round development cohorts that meet monthly to ensure that every young person builds the community organizing skills and anti-racist social justice analysis they need to make change in their communities. We center Black, Indigenous, and youth of color.

Youth Action Team: Ages 13 – 18

Community Action Team: Ages 18+

Compensation: $20/hour, up to 5 hours a month. This is a temporary, part-time position.

Applications due by August 22nd!

next up logo

Next Up is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that amplifies the voice and leadership of diverse young people to achieve a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)3 branch.

Next Up Participatory Budgeting Vote

In the past year, Next Up has been actively working on implementing our very first Participatory Budgeting process. Now, it’s time for you to vote!

Our organization launched this process to help us accomplish a values-aligned, more profound form of youth leadership. We formed a steering committee, created a rulebook, gathered ideas, and developed proposals. Now, we are ready to decide on which projects to fund with a budget of $10,000 in 2023. It is crucial to build a foundation for understanding and building power, organizing, and creating long-lasting changes in our communities.

The top two projects will be funded in 2023/2024 and made a reality. We’re excited to see what you all choose!

Let’s Vote!

⏱ Voting closed on July 2nd.

We warmly welcome everyone who is currently or previously involved, affected by, or supports the mission of Next Up to vote.

Voting is simple, just rank your choices. There will be two wining projects, and they will be implemented in 2023/2024.

2023 Youth-Choice Projects

Mutual Aid Fund

Participatory Budgeting funds will be used to help folks that are in need within the Next Up base.

Next Up on the MAP: Mural Art Project

Funds will go towards commissioning BIPOC youth artists to create a Next Up mural that embodies our mission, values, and inspires the rising generation to fight for greater justice and equity in Oregon.

Black Indigenous and Youth of Color Music Festival

The festival would be an opportunity to reach new community members and share about Next Up and its values (specifically, its values pertaining to uplifting the BIPOC community in Oregon). We will partner with Friends of Noise to make this idea a reality!

Workshops on De-Escalation and First Aid

Training series for our base on trauma-informed care and de-escalation tactics.


Thank you to our amazing youth steering committee members who shaped this process. Shout out to Luis Velasco, Aishiki Nag, Lauren Grijalva, Senya Scott, Aquene Rio Briggs, Stella Holt Dupley, Lucy Williams, and Ella Rathman.

Enormous gratitude to the Participatory Budgeting Project for hosting us in their inaugural PB for Organizations Cohort. We highly recommend checking out Change from Within: A Guide to Running Participatory Budgeting in Your Organziation to help launch an internal process.

next up logo

Next Up is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that amplifies the voice and leadership of diverse young people to achieve a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)3 branch.

Keep Police out of Portland Public Schools

No Cops in PPS - Call to Action

At Next Up Action Fund we know that schools are a place of learning and creative self-expression, not a place for police. There should be no way that a student experiences police contact in their place of learning, let alone arrest and incarceration. The presence of violent punitive methods leads to poor educational and mental health outcomes. Black students, students of color, and students with disabilities deserve better. The school-to-prison pipeline must be dismantled. Keep police out of our schools.

The Portland Public School Board is considering bringing police back to schools by the beginning of 2023 – we can’t let that happen!

Take action to ensure that PPS divests from the systemic criminalization and policing of Black, brown, low-income, queer and trans, and disabled youth in schools.

Show up and/or submit written testimony for the next PPS school board meeting on May 23rd to demand no cops in schools and an investment in restorative justice, and community care.

Action Steps

Use our Click to Action Tool to Submit Written Testimony & Email PPS Board Members

File a public comment and email members here. Please note that the email sent will be filed as a public comment and sent to all PPS School Board Members.

Sign up to give in-person testimony on May 23rd.

Register by 12 pm on May 23rd. To register send an email to PublicComment@pps.net or call the Board Office at 503-916-374. Email requests to provide public comment should include:

• Full name:

• Topic:

• Date requested meeting:

• School Community:

• Phone number:

o Text okay?

• Are you a student?

• In-Person or Virtual attendance?

Requests for Public Comment will be processed in the order that they are received.

Show up and give testimony on May 23rd.

  • Location & Time: Dr. Matthew Prophet Education Center, 501 N Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227 on May 23rd at 6 pm
  • Each individual called will come up to the testimony table and will have 3 minutes to testify unless otherwise stated. Please begin by stating your name and spelling your last name for the record.
  • The requester may submit written testimony before or at the meeting; please provide 12 copies.

next up action fund logo

Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)(4) branch.

Winter Wrap-Up

Image reads "wrap up" with a microphone

We’re already 3 months into 2023 and we want to share what we’ve been up to with you. This is the beginning of our quarterly series sharing our top highlights each season. 

Civic Engagement

We’ve hired 18 young people as Youth Vote Interns, a paid opportunity to do peer-to-peer voter registration for high school-aged youth, with 16 different schools represented across the Portland Metro area!

Did you know we championed the bill to be able to pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds to vote? The bill passed in 2017 and led to hundreds of thousands of young people being able to register to vote. This law is what makes our high school voter registration program possible!

Youth Leadership & Organizing

Our spring UPTURN session is launching soon! 90 people applied for 60 paid positions in our renewed and revised “Organizing 101” UPTURN cohort, where high school students across various schools develop knowledge and skills on the basics of social justice, anti-racism, and building power in their community.

Read more about our youth leadership programs and internship opportunities.

We were awarded coaching sessions with AORTA, the movement-building collective, to take our facilitation skills and curriculum development to new heights.

“The coaching sessions were more in-depth than I thought it’d be, it really forced you as a facilitator to confront your own fears as a participant and use those fears to strengthen your skills as a facilitator. It was really a full circle moment, and allowed for some serious growth.”

Iyanna Akena, Community Engagement Organizer

Issue Education

Since 2021 we’ve written hundreds of letters to people that are currently incarcerated about restoring their right to vote. This year we sent out over 450 postcards and received over 30 responses. 

Civic Engagement

It’s election time (again)! With the May 16th special election coming up, we gathered an endorsement committee of 6 high school youth, as the people most impacted by school board decisions, to recommend values-aligned school board endorsements.

Next Up Action Fund and the endorsement committee voted to endorse 16 candidates for school board elections and 1 candidate for Multnomah County Commissioner – representing Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Linn, and Lane counties.

Check out our endorsement process and the candidates we are supporting for School Board.

Issue Advocacy

Over the years, we’ve helped make Oregon the #1 easiest state to vote in and brought our state’s voter registration rate to over 93%. Well, we’re back at it again in 2023 with youth leading the way! So far, we had over 15 people deliver testimony this legislative session and all of our priority bills have received hearings.

This session, we’re pushing to guarantee voting rights for all incarcerated Oregonians, expand access to voter registration, implement ranked choice voting statewide, establish standards to make workgroups equitable, and so much more.

Read more about our 2023 Legislative Priorities.

Implementing Portland Charter Change

We helped win Portland Charter Change in November 2022. Our base of young people are tapped in, engaged, and informed on charter change. As implementation of the voter-approved measure begins, we continue to educate and mobilize young people around this opportunity for greater social, racial and economic justice in Portland.

Meet the Team

Our team is growing and leveling up this year! Our team grew to 8 as we welcomed Special Lovincey as our new Communications Manager and Jasia Mosley as the Civic Action Organizer. Just 2 months in, they’ve made a huge impact on our work, expanding our reach to more young people and engaging them on the issues that matter.

Say hello to Special and Jasia!

Stand up for voting rights this April

At Next Up Action Fund, we believe that all Oregonians should have a say in what happens in their community, and a voice in their democracy. Voting is a civil right — the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest.

12,000 people incarcerated in Oregon are currently denied their right to vote. And given disparities in policing and incarceration, this means more low-income, Black, Indigenous, and communities of color being disproportionately disenfranchised. Guaranteeing the Right to Vote (SB 579) for those who are incarcerated can help ensure that we keep everyone equally engaged in our democracy and can help make our communities safer.

It is time to invest in Oregon’s democracy. In April, lawmakers who write the state’s budget will be traveling around the state to hear from Oregonians first-hand about the services and programs that we want to be funded. 

Stand up for voting rights – RSVP to give testimony at the location nearest to you!

📍Portland – Saturday, April 8 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

📍Newport – Friday, April 14 (5:00 – 7:00 pm)

📍Roseburg – Friday, April 21 (5:00 – 7:00 pm)

📍Ontario – Friday, April 28 (5:00 – 7:00 pm)

Thank you so much for your commitment to tell legislators it’s time to invest in Oregon’s democracy.

Hope to see you at the roadshow,

Isabela Villarreal
Policy and Communications Director

next up action fund logo

Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)(4) branch.

2023 School Board Endorsements

We are thrilled to announce our slate of candidates who have earned Next Up Action Fund’s endorsement for Oregon’s May 16, 2023 local elections.

We want to elect leaders that come from our communities, share our values, and will fight for young people in Oregon. These elections are crucial: school boards have the power to create and pass budgets and policies that directly affect students’ lives. They influence what curriculum (and whose history) is being taught, whether schools take on restorative practices and work to abolish the School-to-Prison pipeline, if queer and trans students are affirmed in policy decisions, and so much more.

Your vote matters to ensure we are electing local leaders who will fight for us in office.

Multnomah County

  • Ana del Rocío – County Commissioner, District 3
  • Katrina Doughty – MESD, Position 7 Zone 3
  • Danny Cage – MESD, Position 6 At Large
  • Michelle DePass – Portland Public Schools, Position 6
  • Gabriela Saldana-Lopez – David Douglas, Position 4
  • Heather Franklin – David Douglas, Position 6
  • Dana Stroud, Mt. Hood Community College, Position 5

Washington County

  • Crystal Weston – Tigard-Tualatin, Position 5
  • Maham Ahmed – Beaverton, Position 3
  • Justice Rajee – Beaverton, Zone 6
  • Tammy Carpenter – Beaverton, Zone 7

Clackamas County

  • Jena Benaloga – North Clackamas, Position 2
  • Glenn Wachter – North Clackamas, Position 3
  • Maegan Vidal – West Linn-Wilsonville, Position 2
  • Dan Schumaker – West Linn-Wilsonville, Position 4

Lane County

  • Jenny Jonak – Eugene School District 4J

Linn County

  • Miriam Cummins – Linn-Benton-Lincoln, Zone 6

Update your voter registration

Take some time to update your voter registration to make sure you are ready to vote in this upcoming election! Oregonians (that are 16 years old or older and U.S. citizens) can register to vote online here. The deadline to register or update your registration for the May primary is April 25, 2023. 

About our endorsement process

In each election, we convene an endorsement committee usually made up of youth cohort members, staff, and board members – with a focus on Black and brown youth – who have decision-making power. For this election, our endorsement committee was a paid committee of 6 high school aged students from Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. It is crucial that the people most impacted by school boards are the ones that get to make these decisions. After a thoughtful process, the Endorsement Committee made recommendations to Next Up Action Fund’s board, who voted to approve their recommendations. 

next up action fund logo

Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.

This is our 501(c)(4) branch.