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

  • Katrina Doughtry, MESD
  • Danny Cage, MESD
  • Gabriela Saldana Lopez, David Douglas
  • Heather Franklin, David Douglas
  • Dana Stroud, Mt. Hood Community College Zone 5
  • Michelle DePass, Portland Public Schools Zone 2

Washington County

  • Maham Ahmed, Beaverton Position 3
  • Justice Rajee, Beaverton
  • Tammy Carpenter, Beaverton
  • Crystal Westin, Tigard-Tualatin Position 5

Clackamas County

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

Lane County

  • Jenny Jonak, Eugene School District #4J
  • Gordon Lafar, Eugene

Linn County

  • Miriam Cummins, Linn Benton Lincoln ESD 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. 

2022 End of Year Report

Dear Friend,

Who are we beyond our current conditions? What does it look like to live in a world that truly values the brilliance, heart, and expertise of young people who are Black, brown, disabled, trans and queer, low income, immigrant and refugee? 

This is what we do, what we believe in, and what we constantly ask ourselves at Next Up and Next Up Action Fund. We invest into the well-being and dreams of the young people we work with every day, year-round. As we see the rise in coordinated attacks against young trans and queer people across the U.S., states banning critical race theory and expunging the work of Black authors, activists and movements from our schools curriculums, the fight to keep out (and remove) SRO’s from schools, and so many anticipated, but still completely devastating impacts of systemic racism and oppression – we know that the moment for standing firm in our values of anti-oppression, racial justice, and youth liberation is as necessary as ever. 

We must ask ourselves who we are beyond these oppressive systems, and how we can constantly support, invest in and fight for the civil rights and autonomy of young people. There is bountiful work put in by individuals, communities, groups, and organizations who are persisting and working to create a world that values the well-being of our communities, and affirms that our unique identities are the reason we are stronger together (not in spite of them). We will focus on this in our 2022 annual impact report. Hope. Aspirations. Fortitude.

Mariame Kaba, an “organizer, educator, archivist and curator” whose work “focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, transformative justice and supporting youth leadership development,” affirms what we know to be true, “Hope is a discipline” and one we must practice all the time (http://mariamekaba.com/). It is our role in the movement to continue to push the confines of the world we live in while holding space for grief, joy, and rest.

We hope you are inspired by the continuous commitment and work of our team to stick to our values (I know I am): being youth-focused and youth-led, leading with authenticity and joy, and fighting for justice for all. Through multiple distinct and collaborative programmatic areas across Next Up and Next Up Action Fund, we have continued to build towards our collective vision of an Oregon where young people boldly lead the state forward, our democracy is inclusive and accessible, and our communities are strong and resilient. 

This is our letter to young people in Oregon and beyond. We see you. We value you. We’re here to support you.

We hope we make you proud to support and be part of Next Up, because, without you, we could not be who we were, who we are, and who we are yet to become.

Forever in community, 

Elona J. Wilson, Executive Director

Our compensation philosophy: pay young people well

Black, Indigenous and youth of color deserve to be paid fairly, equitably and with abundance and thriving in mind. As an organization where many leaders get their start, we aim to set an example for what it means to equitably compensate and value young people.

Over the last few years, we’ve evolved a new compensation philosophy to make sure our policies truly reflect our values. While the conversation originally focused on staff pay equity, we have expanded our philosophy and practices to include paying all members of our youth cohorts. Thanks to generous community members and donors and with foundation support, we have been able to take action on our philosophy and turned many of our goals into action.

Paying young people fairly, not banking on “volunteerism”

Our youth organizing cohorts drive so much of the work we do. We recognize that to be in alignment with our values, we need to pay young people for their time and effort. In 2021, we began to compensate our teen Youth Action Team with a stipend, and expanded that compensation policy to encompass all our teen youth programs in the following year. Starting in 2023, all members of our youth organizing cohorts (ages 13-35) will be compensated for their time.

In addition to our belief in paying young people, we know that relying on an unpaid volunteer model disproportionately impacts low-income youth, presenting an economic barrier and perpetuating a false expectation that everyone has free time to spare. For that reason, all internships at Next Up are also paid, hourly, to ensure these opportunities are accessible.

Staff pay equity and establishing a salary floor

We strive to be a leader in our compensation practices by providing not only a living wage, but a thriving wage for staff at all levels of our organization. This means setting salaries at or above the median for comparable positions in our area and increasing our  salary “floor” to ensure none of our employees earn less than what they need to live. We reject exploitative capitalist compensation philosophies, instead designing our compensation structure to attract, retain, and care for our employees. Our compensation practices are inextricably linked with our mission; a thriving wage is critically necessary to center people most impacted by racial, economic, and gender injustices, and providing a competitive wage helps to attract and retain talented staff who move our mission forward.

Over time, we intend to share more about these practices with the larger community, and to keep updating our policies and practices as we learn and grow.

To contribute to our vision of abundance and holistic resources for young people on our staff and in our programs:

Help lower the voting age to 16!

🗣URGENT CALL TO ACTION! Help us lower the voting age in Oregon to 16 by submitting supportive testimony. Find a testimony template and instructions at our link in bio.

✨There are two proposals being heard by the Oregon Legislature on February 21st. HJR 20 will lower the voting age to 16 fully. HB 3206 will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in school district elections. Lowering the Voting Age to 16, is one of Next Up Action Fund’s priority bills this session. We know civic habits are more likely to stick when developed at a younger age. Research suggests that allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote can improve voter turnout, spur civic engagement, and encourage effective civics education. We need your help to get it over the finish line!

How to Submit Testimony

  1. Decide which bill you’d like to submit testimony for – both of course, are welcome. Just make sure to change the bill numbers in your document.
  2. Find our testimony template here and customize your copy!
  3. Save a pdf of your testimony.
  4. Submit your testimony! Remember to mark support. Written testimony is due by Feb 23rd at 1:00 PM

Welcome: Special and Jasia

Image reads: Welcome Special and Jasia. Features a Next Up Logo and photos of Special and Jasia.

We’re so excited to announce that Special Lovincey and Jasia Mosley are joining team Next Up. Special is joining as the Communications Manager and will be leading on creating an intentional communications strategy to connect with young people across Oregon. Jasia has joined as the Civic Action Organizer and will be leading on voter registration work and facilitating our youth action teams.

Headshot of Jasia Mosley

Jasia Mosley

Civic Action Organizer


Jasia (she/they) is a queer black activist passionate about amplifying and centering the voices of youth in policy and social change. Her experience as a young organizer throughout high school to now has given her the power and drive to continue to advocate for youth empowerment, racial and climate justice, and centering the voices of marginalized people. She currently serves on the Metro Transportation Advisory Committee and is always looking for opportunities to serve her community. When they are not working for social change Jasia enjoys spending time at the beach, eating anything and everything spicy, rewatching New Girl 100 times, and spending time with friends and family.

Headshot of Special Lovincey

Special Lovincey

Communications Manager


Special (she/her) joins the Next Up team with over 6 years of supporting progressive groups and campaigns across the country with communications, campaign management, and grassroots organizing. She is passionate about community engagement and storytelling. She studied Communication Arts at Linfield College. 

Wrapping up the storytelling internship: thank you Zave and Carolina!

One of the best parts of running a Give!Guide campaign at Next Up is getting to work with amazing youth organizers and leaders who join us for an end-of-year internship to support our fundraising and communications. This year, the internship was focused on the power of narrative and storytelling. Thank you so much to Zave Payne and Carolina Ruiz, our 2022 Storytelling Interns!

During their internship, they created media uplifting Give!Guide Big Give Days and prizes, put together a report on Next Up & Next Up Action Fund’s 20 years of accomplishments, and interviewed half a dozen board members and youth leaders about their experience with Next Up using ethical storytelling guidelines.

Their work contributed to celebrating 7 members of our community through interviews and stories, raising $13,585 in Give!Guide across 230+ donations to help fund our youth organizing work in 2023, and building new connections and relationships.

Thank you so much Zave and Carolina for all you brought to Next Up! We’re excited to see where you go next. 🎉

Community stories from 2022

Image of 7 young people with in orange and yellow, surrounded by butterflies, with the words "we are the present and future"

Our board and youth leaders are the core of Next Up. At the end of 2022, several board members, past interns, and program participants generously shared their stories with our Storytelling Interns, Zave Payne and Carolina Ruiz. Meet Josh, Sophia, Jazzy, Fabiana, Anjali, Dalia, and Nathaniel! We’re so glad you’re part of our work and our community.

Click on the quote to see the full post on Instagram.

Josh is a community advocate in Portland and Guam. He is also Chair of the Next Up Action Fund Board of Directors.

Josh believes, “Working with Next Up has been a positive and empowering experience. Our community is diverse and vibrant, and our culture is infused with boundless optimism and an undaunted determination to fight for the future that rising generations deserve.”

Watch an interview clip with Josh >>

Sophia is currently a senior at Portland State University and worked as an election intern for Next Up this past spring.

She is also a part of Sub-Basement Studios, a student-run film production house at PSU. You can support their projects and reach out to them @subbasementstudios 

You can also follow Sophia @teaoflilyrose and on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sophia-crawford/

Watch an interview clip with Sophia >>

Jazzy is a student at Parkrose High School and a member of our Youth Action Team, a cohort for teens ages 13-19 who meet monthly to work on issues they care about the most.

Outside of Next Up, Jazzy says she’s taking it day-by-day and focusing on writing poetry. You can find her online at @jazzy_is_iconic.

Fabiana Barrientos is a high school student who first joined us as a member of our Upturn cohort, our paid, 6-week introductory workshop series on youth organizing. She then joined our Election Organizer team, helping us make thousands of calls and knock thousands of doors to get out the vote during the 2022 election.

She says her biggest takeaway from her time at Next Up is that she’s “learned that local politics is significantly more important than national elections. A lot of people hyper-focus on political changes at a national level when there is meaningful and tangible work to be done at home.”

Watch an interview clip with Fabiana >>

Nathaniel is part of Junior Youth Activists at McDaniel High School and also a member of our Youth Action Team (YAT). Before joining YAT, he was also a member of our Upturn cohort, our paid, 6-week workshop series, and an introductory course on youth organizing.

In their own words, “Upturn has been amazing for boosting my confidence and giving me a sense of community. Discussing topics about white supremacy, reflecting, accountability and more have been all around such a positive experience. Being with other teenagers from around the Portland area has been especially beneficial during this time.”

You can follow them @_nathaniel.tf on Instagram.

Dalia was an election intern with us in 2021, where she helped us get out the vote among young people in Oregon.

She says, “I always enjoy being informed about elections and being able to assist Next Up in any way that I can is fulfilling. It is a great resource for individuals and I am always looking for ways to be involved in my community.”

Anjali is a student at Grant High School and currently is a member of the Youth Action Team and the Next Up Action Fund Board!

In her own words, “Next Up has given me the space to learn and grow as a civic organizer. I joined the UPTURN cohort at the beginning of 2020, where I learned the basics of civic engagement and grassroots organizing, and then became a member of the Youth Action Team. Throughout my time with Next Up, I have had countless opportunities to provide public testimony, canvas, phone bank, and facilitate voter registration, and now serve as a 501(c)(4) Board Member.”

Outside of Next Up, Anjali also serves (and slays 💁🏾‍♀️) as president of the Grant High School Equity Team, which works to continue race-related conversations at Grant in the wake of Race Forward, a student-run, race-related programming, being indefinitely paused by administration. She and her team work with staff and students alike to assess the needs of students of color and create and facilitate race-related lessons in response.

You can follow her and her work with the Equity Team on Instagram: @anjaliweerasinghe and @equityteam.

Design by Storytelling Intern Zave Payne, @mxzave.

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 ozy.com, 2017

Young people won this election

Over the years, we’ve help make Oregon the #1 easiest state to vote in, brought our state’s voter registration rate to over 93%, and expanded who is eligible to register. 

We’re seeing this payoff in a big way – nationally, eligible voters ages 18 – 29 cast their ballot at the second-highest rate in nearly 30 years – with 27% of the electorate voting. 

In Oregon? Even higher. 

An astounding 40% of young people ages 18 to 29 participated in this last election in Oregon – a significant indicator of the importance of investing in an electoral infrastructure that supports robust and inclusive civic engagement of young people.

We showed up by doing voter registration drives in high schools, endorsing values aligned candidates and ballot measures, and doing get out the vote efforts like phone banking, text banking, and door knocking to ensure our communities knew what was on the ballot this November. 

Next Up Action Fund invested in contacting and sharing relevant voting information with young people across the Portland metro region. 

In total, we called over 70,771 young people with information on endorsed candidates and Portland Charter Reform measure, sent 141,412 texts, knocked over 10,000 doors, hosted 22 canvasses, and hired 13 Election Organizers to help make all this happen.

So what was our impact?

  • Young people in Portland won Portland Charter Reform (measure 26 – 228): This is a major win for young people because it will allow for more voice and choice in elections, and geographic representation. We helped make this possible by hosting 22 canvasses, knocking on 10,904 doors, sending 141,412 texts, and making 53,576 calls.
  • We helped elect Annessa Hartman, for HD 40, and Catherine McMullen for County Clerk. We made 17,195 calls to help make this possible.

We are so grateful for all your support as it’s fueled the foundation of getting out the youth vote. 


Devin Ruiz

Welcome Zave and Carolina: 2022 Storytelling Interns


We’re excited to welcome and introduce two Storytelling Interns who have joined team next up for the next couple of months: Zave and Carolina.

They will support online content creation, storytelling and story collection from our base members, and donor appreciation during our end-of-year fundraising campaigns. Meet each of them below.

carolina ruiz

Carolina Ruiz

Carolina Ruíz (she/her/ella) studies Hispanic Studies at Lewis & Clark College. This internship drew her in particularly because of Next Up’s mission to empower youth to build political power. She is excited to start working with Next Up and hopes to learn about fundraising and storytelling through an equitable/transformational lens. In her free time, she dances to bachata and salsa and hopes to travel all over the world to learn more about these genres and their diverse styles.

zave payne

Zave Payne

Zave (they/he) is a queer Black activist and organizer. Born in Detroit and raised in rural Northwestern Ohio, they moved to Portland in 2021 to attend Reed College. At Reed, Zave is currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science. They have been an active youth leader in their community since middle school, organizing walkouts, protests, and rallies for gun reform, climate change awareness, and social justice issues with OHYCJ (Ohio Youth for Climate Justice) and the organization he co-founded in 2020, RENEW (Rise. Empower. Nurture. Educate. Wake Up!). They are committed to empowering the voices of fellow BIPOC peers as well as encouraging civic participation among youth, and are thrilled to continue to do so at Next Up!