Luke Bonham joined Neighborhood Partnerships after working seven years at ROSE Community Development in outer SE Portland. As Resident Assets Manager, Luke oversaw the growth of ROSE’s community programs in a variety of areas, building youth and family programs, increasing access to resources and opportunities, managing partnerships, and facilitating adult leadership development. Luke is bilingual, having learned Spanish while living in Paraguay for several years as a child. Luke came to Portland to study Community Development at Portland State University, and in 2010-2011 was an AmeriCorps VISTA with Hacienda CDC’s Homeownership Program. Luke and his wife Kat have two young children and are also certified foster parents. In his free time he enjoys biking, gardening, getting outdoors, and is an avid Timbers fan. Luke looks forward to working alongside and learning from so many great people and partners across the state through the Oregon IDA Initiative!
For starters, tell me a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Luke Bonham, I live in outer SE Portland with my wife Kat and two kids Dahlia (3 yrs) and Micah (3 months). Most of my growing up years were spent outside the small town of Newton, Kansas, although I lived in Paraguay from age 5-9, where I attended elementary school in Spanish. After some time travelling, I came to Portland, where I’ve been since 2005. My wife and I are also certified foster parents with DHS, and spend a lot of time riding bikes, cooking, playing music, and gardening.
What area of expertise and interest do you have?
I come to NP motivated to help create a more vibrant and just community. In 2005 I began studying Community Development at Portland State University, and had the opportunity to complete an internship in Washington D.C. with the Latino Economic Development Corp. After PSU, I was an AmeriCorps VISTA with Hacienda CDC in Portland, helping with their homeownership program. In 2011 I began working as Resident Assets Coordinator at ROSE Community Development in outer SE Portland. In my time there, I oversaw the growth of ROSE’s community programs in a variety of areas, building youth and family programs, increasing access to resources and opportunities, managing partnerships, and facilitating adult leadership development. The families I worked with taught me a ton about community, and about resilience in the face of the many barriers that so many people face just trying to maintain financial stability and build assets.
What does opportunity mean to you?
Opportunity to me means access to all the things that help someone thrive. It means breaking down barriers for those who have been denied access or oppressed. It is prioritizing self-determination, so that someone can be in charge of their own decisions. It means holding on to optimism about one’s future, because the opportunities can lead someone to a better place!
What difference can financial security make for individuals and communities?
To me, financial security, or the lack thereof, can make all the difference in the well-being of our communities. The lack of financial security is often beyond one person’s control, and can cause so much stress, anxiety, and disruption to all involved, including kids and relatives. Too many people in America (the richest country in the world!) struggle to make it due to lack of quality employment opportunities, affordable housing, access to healthcare, education, and recreation. To live in a way that allows someone to get joy out of life, I believe that basic needs and opportunities must be available to everyone.
What’s your favorite quote?
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson
Choose one author, living or dead, that you’d like to have dinner with?
John M. Perkins
Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
Arleta Library Cafe in outer SE Portland- best biscuits and gravy!
What are you looking forward to most about this position?
I’m excited to work with the Oregon IDA Initiative and NP, because I believe in the work that all of our partners are doing across the state. I look forward to getting to know the ins and outs of the IDA Initiative, supporting all the great partners, and seeing the Initiative grow stronger!