First Anniversary Reflection

For more than 16 years, local hero of mine, Irene Tinker, hosted monthly gatherings into their home centered around international development called the devSalon. The atmosphere of these gatherings was always lively and the conversations important and relevant. Five years ago when Irene announced that she was no longer hosting the devSalons, I created Development Drinks to keep the community alive.

Watching this sector and community grow and connect over the past five years has been a true pleasure. From people getting new jobs and connecting to volunteer opportunities, to learning novel approaches to development and connecting socially, I’m proud of its success. However, after watching so many coincidental meetings we saw a ton of benefits in creating a space for this community to flourish.

A year ago, Anne Castleton, formerly of Mercy Corps, and I gathered around 50 Oregon-based international development organizations together to hear from them how they could benefit from more collaboration, networking, mentorship, and direct support. Over the past year we’ve had numerous conversations with organizations, university programs, peer-network groups in other states, and countless others.

Due to the generous donation of the Vatheuer Family Foundation, we were able to launch GlobalPDX last month at the Elevating Impact Summit. It has been wonderful to connect with the innovators in our community, from remote sensors on water pumps to integrated reforestation and health projects in the jungles of Borneo, Oregonians are doing some incredible work around the world. I’m ecstatic about the response to GlobalPDX, now boasting over 70 members with more joining every week.

I’m looking forward to continue to share the stories of members and to help the community professionalize, grow, and increase their impact around the world. Thank you to the organizations who have joined and for everyone else to make this a reality. I’m proud of our progress up to this point and I can’t wait to see how we grow over the coming years!

Aaron Liss is the Technical Director of Green Empowerment and has been running Development Drinks since 2012.

International Development Roundtable kick-off meeting March 2016


GlobalPDX kick-off at the Elevating Impact Summit, February 2017. Marissa Stryle, Andrea Johnson, and Aaron Liss (left to right).

Impact Invention Award given to two GlobalPDX members

Congratulations to GlobalPDX members InStove and Oregon State University’s Humanitarian Engineering Department for receiving the Impact Award in Impact Invention at the Elevating Impact Summit on February 13.  The award, presented by the Lemelson Foundation, goes to an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team working to address a social, environmental, or economic problem through an invention-based enterprise creating a new physical product or products.  The groups were recognized for their collaboration to develop new technologies related to cooking stoves.