Closing out our 20th year of building youth power

20 years ago, as the Bus Project, we began building youth political power in Oregon. Our work redesigned our election systems, breaking down systemic barriers and leading Oregon to become one of the easiest states to vote in — with consistently top youth voter turnout.

The Bus Project taught us that young people can be trusted with power – not as “future leaders,” but as leaders of today. Today, as Next Up, we continue that work, investing in youth leadership, civic engagement, and advocacy that shifts power and strengthens our democracy.

As we close out the year, we want to say a special thank-you to those who came to last week’s “Bus Reunion,” where we gathered with some of the people who built the foundation of this organization. It was so sweet to see people reunite, some after many years! Check out some adorable photo booth photos from the night.

Thank you to our Bus Reunion sponsors

  • Christine and Dave Vernier
  • Dan Torres
  • Courtney Graham
  • Noah Manger
  • The ACLU of Oregon
  • Anonymous donors

Shout out to our amazing support team

  • Sophie Thomson for hosting us at Hey Love
  • Mariana Lindsay, Samantha Gladu, Mac Prichard, Nolan Lienhart, Nikki Fisher, and Amy Sample Ward as MC and co-hosts
  • Jax Ko for custom artwork
From an article about the Bus Project in, 2017

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.

Meet Devin, Our New Community Engagement Organizer

Devin Ruiz (she/her) is a queer Latina from Los Angeles, CA and finds revelatory opportunities in community work. Her work to promote equity in an inherently imbalanced system of power is informed by social activism and her dedication to mobilizing underrepresented communities. She obtained dual degrees in Political Science and Women’s Studies from PSU and wrote her thesis on how white supremacy is reproduced through racial grammar.

Through her work at the Feminist Majority Foundation, Basic Rights Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, the grassroots reelection campaigns for Barbara Boxer in 2010 and Barack Obama in 2011, and Girls Inc. of the PNW, Devin has kept an unwavering commitment to centering Black, Indigenous, people of color, low-income people, LGBTQIA individuals, and youth in their grassroots community engagement work.

When Devin is not deep in theory or YouTube, you can find her at the spa or overdressed and trying to find any and all warmth in Portland (usually in the form of community, chisme, and food).

You can congratulate her by emailing her at!

2020 Primary Endorsements

We are thrilled to officially announce our slate of candidates who have earned Next Up Action Fund’s endorsement for Oregon’s May 19, 2020, Primary Elections. 

We want to elect leaders that come from our communities, share our values, and will fight for young people in Oregon. The people elected to local offices make crucial decisions that affect our daily lives, including determining budgets, funding, and plans for transportation, access to healthcare, affordable housing, climate change, policing, immigration, and so much more. Your vote matters to ensure we are electing local leaders who will fight for us in office.

On February 7th, we publicly announced our candidate endorsement process for the May 2020 Primary Election. Since then, Next Up Action Fund gathered an Endorsement Committee made up of a staff member, high school student, college student, and Community Action Team member. It is crucial that the community we serve 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. 

Wlnsvey Campos for Oregon House District 28

Khanh Pham for Oregon House District 46

Ricki Ruiz for Oregon House District 50

Dacia Grayber for Oregon House District 35

Lacey Beaty for Beaverton Mayor

Cameron Whitten for Metro Council Seat 5

Teressa Raiford for Portland Mayor

Candace Avalos for City Council Seat #1

Mike Schmidt for Multnomah District Attorney

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 ( To vote for Wlnsvey, Khanh, Ricki, or Dacia, you need to be a registered Democrat. 

The deadline to register or update your registration for the May primary is April 28, 2020. 

May 2020 Primary Election Endorsement Process

Next Up Action Fund is excited to announce our endorsement process for the May 19, 2020 primary!

Next Up Action Fund has a goal of amplifying and supporting young Oregonians to be leaders in their community. Therefore, we are particularly interested in races that include candidates and campaigns aligned with our values and are under 35 years old, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQIA+, people living with disabilities, womxn, people that are low income, and people from under-served communities. 

All candidates at state and local levels are welcome to complete our questionnaire. Next Up Action Fund reserves the right to not endorse in any race, because we are using our Mission, Vision, and Values to guide us toward any endorsements.

If you are a candidate who is running for an elected office, please read our Endorsement Process fill out our Candidate Endorsement Questionnaire to begin the process of earning Next Up Action Fund’s endorsement! Applications are due on Tuesday, February 25th by 5pm.

After receiving answers from interested candidates, an Endorsement Committee made up of board members, students, and volunteers currently involved with the organization will review the answers and make a recommendation to the Next Up Action Fund board.

For more info or questions, please email our C4 board chair, Courtney Graham, at

Become a Precinct Committee Person (PCP)

PCPs play a large grassroots role in the political parties here in Oregon. Running for PCP is an important opportunity to be a voice for your communities and on issues in the party of your choice. The Bottom Line: our work and communities need you to serve!

What is a PCP?
Becoming a PCP is a direct route to influencing your county, state and national political parties. It’s also the grassroots position within the governing body of the party. PCPs serve a two-year term from time of election in even numbered years. They get a voice and a vote in party processes and have the power to fill vacant state legislative seats. However, being a PCP is not a full time job. This is a volunteer position that shouldn’t affect your ability to attend to your commitments in work and life. There are thousands of these positions available across the state — if you’ve been looking for a way to make an impact and get involved in politics this is the opportunity for you to become an important part of the Party infrastructure.

Key Duties of a PCP include
• PCPs represent their precincts (neighborhoods of 250 registered voters) in votes of
their local County Parties.
• Help set priorities for county and state party
• Have a voice and vote in filling vacant legislative seats
• PCPs are elected in the off-year election on May 19th. You must fill out a simple SEL
105 form with your local elections office to run.

Filing Opens: September 30th, 2019 (Filing is open!)
Filing Deadline: March 10th, 2020
Election: May 19th, 2020

Voter Registration: You must be registered to vote in the county where you are applying to serve and return your filing form to your local county elections office. You must also be a registered member of your party in your precinct for a minimum of 180 days prior
to your filing date in order to become a PCP for your party.

How to file to run
1. Download an SEL 105 Form here
2. Check your voter registration status here and ensure you are either a registered
Democrat or Republican (only major political parties have PCPs)
3. Complete the SEL 105 form
4. Mail in your SEL 105 form or file it in-person at your County Elections Office before
March 10th
Thank you so much. Please feel free to pass along to your networks and share with
anyone you think should run for these positions!

Here’s Looking at You 2019!

We are celebrating big changes this year! Next Up has repositioned the organization with the future in mind, making an organization-wide shift so we can continue being the political home for young people heading into 2020 and beyond.

Rebranding and 5-year Strategic Framework
As generations change, so has our organization. The Bus Project taught us that young people can be trusted with power – not as future leaders, but as leaders today. This year we sold the bus and rebranded! We changed our name because we don’t work in transit and we’re far past being just a “project.”

More importantly, we have used this opportunity to shift our organizational culture and get closer to our values. While Next Up has always centered youth voices and championed the leadership of young people, we also acknowledge that we have been complicit in upholding systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Our organization has primarily benefited white voters, emerging political leaders who are white, and public policies supported by white people, which has harmed communities of color. Additionally, our internal culture has been characterized by many patterns of white supremacy culture.

Over the course of the year, our staff, Boards of Directors, and key volunteers engaged in deep and reflective conversations around equity realignment and dismantling white supremacy culture in our organization. Many of these ideas are reflected in our finalized 2020-2025 Strategic Framework. Some specific highlights include:

  • Paying our fellows a livable wage
  • Prioritizing working with people of color-led organizations, organizations/groups dedicated to anti-racist work, and underrepresented constituencies
  • Maintaining a commitment to providing staff with equitable pay and benefits, opportunities for professional development, and empathetic and supportive workplace culture.

We are committed to the challenging and imperfect process of continuous learning (and unlearning) that will be necessary to realize our vision of a more equitable Oregon. Our completed 2020-2025 Strategic Framework is one way we are setting the tone for now and into the future. This will help the organization guard against the disruption of staff and leadership transitions, shifting priorities, and changing political landscapes.

Young People’s Power
We face an uncertain political climate during an unprecedented time. Young people feel their voices are being bogged down by out of state interests and high dollar donors. Next Up knows if we continue broadening the leadership pipeline and addressing the structural barriers that our generations are navigating, we’ll build a more inclusive movement for a just democracy.

In 2019, Next Up:

  • Introduced a bill to lower the voting age to 16, grabbing national headlines and bringing nearly 40 young people to the Capitol for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Rules.
  • Passed paid postage, helping ensure there’s a ballot in the hands of every eligible voter, and that everyone can participate! This simple yet groundbreaking bill is estimated to increase voter participation by an astonishing 5-10% by streamlining the process and removing barriers to voting.
  • Registered and pre-registered over 2,000 people
  • Held organization-wide equity and anti-oppression training with 37 people
  • Hosted 13 events, including our first-ever Art and Activism Marketplace and introduced our Back to Basics series
  • Over 250 volunteer shifts filled and 56 consistent volunteers, meeting monthly
  • Hired a Youth Leadership Coordinator, a staff member dedicated to Next Up’s high school programs. Isabela Villarreal started UPTURN, a new multicultural high school cohort that graduated 23 students in 2019. In 2020, we will graduate 30 students from this program.

We work with an amazing group of diverse young people every day, and they are next up in helping create stronger and more resilient communities.

Thank you for your continued support of this organization! We are so excited to continue building youth power in 2020 and hope to see you at an event soon.

Samantha Gladu
Executive Director

The Wrap Up: Art and Activism Marketplace 2019

Art has the power to change the world. That’s why Next Up presented our first ever Art + Activism Marketplace on November 23, 2019 at the Village Ballroom.

The event highlighted voices from people of color, women, youth, and artists behind bars. As author Jeff Chang said,”Politics is where some of the people are some of the time. Culture is where most of the people are most of the time.” We aim to build networks with artists, media makers, and cultural institutions because art engages our communities and is a way to co-create our future. Check out some of the photos that were taken by Isabela Villarreal!

The Wrap Up: National Voter Registration Day 2019

That’s a wrap for National Voter Registration Day 2019!

This year, we partnered with many different community organizations to get people registered to vote. Our amazing 35 volunteers registered folks at Central City Concern’s many different transitional housing and clinics downtown, at P:ear Mentors (they mentor Portland’s homeless youth to affirm personal worth and create healthier lives and communities), and the Portland Mercado in East Portland.

A big kudos to all the students who also stepped up at colleges including Reed, Lewis and Clark, Willamette University and Concordia to register their peers and advise them on how to receive absentee ballots as well.

After the final tally, we found that we registered 500 people – many of whom did not know they were eligible to vote! Thank you to everyone’s support, and we look forward to next year.

P.S. Our awesome highschool students are pre-registering and registering their peers all month long across Portland Schools and in Salem. Last week they were able to collect 200 voter registration cards from their classmates! More updates to come.

Increase Your Impact: The Monthly Member Competition

You know what time it is!

Our annual Monthly Donor Competition between us and our National Affiliates, means your monthly donation is even more impactful now. Becoming a monthly donor from September 30 – October 6 helps us unlock more resources for our organization, earns you prizes, and supports our programs. Become a monthly member today by clicking here.

A contribution from an individual is powerful to us. It means that people are deeply invested in our work and want to see us succeed. We believe in people-powered fundraising because those people believe in us.

Thank you for your continued support, let’s do this!
Samantha Gladu
Executive Director


The Wrap Up: 2019 Summer Fellows

My name is Giovanni Bautista and I’m a summer fellow with Next Up, formerly the Bus Project.

We’ve had an awesome summer, collecting over 650 pledge to vote cards, making over 2,000 phone calls, and going to 25 community events over 10 weeks to talk to folks about important issues!

Here are some of the people we’ve met this summer:

  • A man from Troutdale whose brother was incarcerated as a result of Measure 11, frustrated by the racial disparities that exist within our criminal justice system.
  • A cancer survivor disheartened that the current healthcare system fails to take into account the human side of illness.
  • A public teacher from Coos Bay persuaded by the idea that we should lower the voting age to 16.

The only reason that me, and hundreds of other young people have been able to do this work is because of our funders. Will you help sponsors next year’s summer fellows by becoming a monthly donor at $15 a month?

We couldn’t do this without you!