Bienestar (Hillsboro, OR)


  • Name:Karen Shawcross
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Bienestar
  • Address:220 SE 12th Ave
    Hillsboro, OR 97123-4667
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:503-693-2937

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Bienestar builds housing, hope and futures for the well-being of working families and seniors.

    We believe all work is honorable and champion those who provide essential labor to the community. We work in the midst of the poorest neighborhoods to develop the potential of our working families, adults and children.

    We believe in the resilience and capacity of all human beings to help, change, adapt and lead in their own lives, and within their families, and communities.

    Bienestar housing and programs develop communities where residents find dignity, hope, confidence, skills, and the courage to pursue their dreams.

  • Overview:
  • Quality, affordable housing is essential for individuals, families and communities to thrive. Bienestar owns and operates 487 quality apartment units in 11 properties for farm workers and working poor families. These units are home for nearly 2000 individuals of whom 926 are children and youth.

    Our leadership believes that housing is about more than bricks and mortar and with that have developed a comprehensive slate of resident service programs, on-site, for both youth and adults. These fall under the title "Pathways from Poverty". This Pathways initiative has included as many as 30 programs.

    The Promotores Program is Bienestar's premier, award winning program. This was developed in 2007 to help reach residents with information about accessing community resources. Residents of our properties were recruited who were interested in and had the qualities for, becoming a Promotores (peer outreach worker). Our 12 Promotores each have a presence in their home property in several ways. They survey their neighbors every two years about their current and most pressing needs. They inform their neighbors about available programs, helping them decide which programs would be of benefit. The twelve receive training in leadership, listening skills, and community resources. They receive a stipend and job experience while working to improve their own skills by partaking of programs themselves.

    Programs offered as part of the Pathways initiative include ESL classes, GED Preparation, Tax preparation, Job Club, Computer Literacy, Financial Literacy, Citizenship classes, Individual Development Accounts (matched savings accounts for education, to start a business, or buy a home), Emergency Cash, Emergency Food, health care referrals, First Steps (for infants, toddlers and parents together), home ownership counseling, Summer Lunch and Fun, Explorador Summer day camp, MpowR (homework clubs, specializing in math and reading), and Education Navigation are examples of the programs offered.

    Bienestar families work very hard, yet most are under-employed due to lack of English skills or a high school diploma. The average annual income for these families is $20,000 and the average grade in school achieved by the adults and parents is 7th grade. Without supported educational programs, they will not escape the cycle of poverty.

    Bienestar properties do not generate revenue due to the low rents paid by our residents. Our Board has an active Finance Committee that monitors revenue and expenses monthly for each property. It has been determined that at one property, Sycamore View, utility bills could be reduced with water conservation measures. With steps to remove grass and replant with native grasses, much less water will be used during the dry season over the summer and over the years, save significant operating budget.

  • History:
  • Bienestar was founded in 1981 as the Housing Development Corporation of Washington County to address the need for decent housing for farm worker families. It fought NIMBY-ISM to create the first quality, affordable apartment complex for farm worker families in Washington County. Over the years, properties have been developed or acquired and today, Bienestar owns and operates 11 properties in Washington and Columbia Counties with 487 apartments for working-poor families. This provides quality housing for nearly 2000 people of whom 926 are children and youth.

    Eight years ago, the Board of Directors changed the name to Bienestar (meaning well-being in Spanish) to better reflect our purpose and mission, and added low income senior housing to the mission as well.

    In addition to housing, in 2006 Bienestar began providing free, onsite programs and services to support residents, 98% of whom are Latino, to help them become self-sufficient. A comprehensive set of programs for both youth and adult has been established, delivered through culturally competent staff.

    Bienestar's unique approach to resident service programs has always valued culturally-appropriate services led by trusted staff at no cost to the residents. Experience has shown that this overcomes many of the traditional barriers to program participation faced by low-income Latinos (cost, transportation, distrust, and fear). Pathways from Poverty forms an integrated resident services program model, developed according to needs observed and reported to us by our own residents. It serves both children and adults in a holistic and comprehensive approach.

    Pathways from Poverty supports children through "cradle to career" programming. Other program elements assist families with basic needs support, asset building programs and by providing programs promoting family stability and community engagement. The programs have been recognized with the Oregon Opportunity Network's 2012 Stepping Stone Award and the 2011 Thrive and Shine Award. We received the Oregon Housing and Community Services' Excellence Award in 2011 for our Promotores Program. In 2008, Bienestar was named United Way of the Columbia-Willamette's Community Partner of the Year.

    We have seen many residents' lives change for the better: youth going to college, families buying a new home through our matched savings IDA program, mothers and fathers learning new and interactive parenting techniques, a struggling student getting the help they need to thrive in school.
    Through delivering these programs, not only have we helped people find better employment, or learn a new skill - we have discovered that our apartment complexes are real communities. As people participate in programs, and Promotores visit their neighbors, people become better acquainted. They now know each other's names and watch out for each other, often keeping an eye on each others' children as they play outside. Pathways from Poverty is now a valued part of Bienestar history.

  • Year established:1981
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:18
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:6


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:93-0860753

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:930860753
  • Organization Name:BIENESTAR INC
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% KAREN SHAWCROSS
  • Organization Address:220 SE 12TH AVE
  • Organization City:HILLSBORO
  • Organization State:OR
  • Organization Zip:97123-4643
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:April, 1995
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general publicĀ 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):380, 994
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Lowincome housing, Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:L200
  • Asset Amount:$25,828,961
  • Asset Code:8 ($10,000,000 - $49,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$2,638,146
  • Income Code:6 ($1,000,000 - $4,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$2,630,407
  • Last Updated:2/25/2018 5:43:05 am

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.