Bend Cares is collaborative project designed to provide an easy way for visitors to Downtown Bend to give to local Bend charities. Noticing that panhandling in Downtown Bend was on the rise, Bend City Council voted to work together with the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) on the Bend Cares project to create a more sustainable giving option for donors.
The DBBA, whose mission is to increase the economic vitality of Downtown Bend, went to City Council with concerns about the changing culture in Downtown Bend due to the growth of our City. Based on feedback from business owners, building owners, and the public, the DBBA recognized Bend Cares as an opportunity to further accomplish one of the DBBA's primary goals, which is to preserve Downtown's historic, family-friendly environment.
This opportunity included upholding the innate Bend culture of kindness. "Be kind you're in Bend" is more than just a tag-line - it's who we are at our core. Downtown is the heart of Bend, and the leader (since 1903) in creating the Bend culture that we know and love to this day.
One of the experiences that did not feel in-alignment with the culture of a family-friendly Downtown, was the encroaching occurrences of aggressive panhandling within the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District (EID).
Understanding the clear research showing that panhandling is not effective at ending homelessness or hunger in communities, and under the advisement of the Downtown Livability Committee, the DBBA proposed to Bend City Council the Bend Cares Program as an informational campaign to drive donors and their donations to organizations that best serve the specific needs of individuals needing services.
The Bend Cares program will encourage generous individuals to donate to organizations and programs that provide holistic and ongoing services throughout the community for individuals in need. Donors will be able to easily give using their smartphones. Information on housing, meals and other assistance will be provided to those in need.