...sharing stories...connecting deeply...transforming lives

About Us


Leaven Community affirms the sacred interconnection of all and the creative and liberative power within our connective relationships.

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5431 NE 20th Avenue
Portland, OR  97211


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Organizing Practices

"Leaven Community trusts in the interconnection of all ignites the power of our shared stories and spiritual wisdom by acting collectively with our neighbors to cultivate thriving diverse neighborhoods."



We discover our stories and the stories of our neighbors through One-to-One Intentional Conversations (see below). These conversations are the foundation for story-based relational organizing in our community. During our listening and reflecting we...

  • Build and deepen relationships within Leaven Community and with our neighbors
  • Give opportunity for expressing felt pains, pressures & hopes
  • Surface new leaders (people who are agitated to act out of energy generated from the intersection of the public aspect of their personal story)
  • Includes a variety of ways for people to share and listen to their stories
    • Meetings for one-to-one intentional conversations
    • House meetings
    • Community gatherings

We discern what is rising out of our conversations and how we can engage in change that affects people and root causes through different levels of actions.


  • LION Core Team Role
    • Summarizing problems identified in community conversations
    • Preparing for community-wide discernment gatherings
  • Leaven Community discernment assembly
    • Prioritizes problems areas


  • Identify concrete, specific, winnable issues and agree upon an action

We transform our stories acting powerfully together with organized people, money and resources on agreed upon actions.

  • Respond publicly
    • inside Leaven Community
    • as Leaven Community in Neighborhod Actions
    • as Leaven Community in City-Wide Actions with MACG and community allies

We evaluate our collective actions and celebrate the new evoling story

  • Evaluate our success, lessons learned and what we can do differently
  • Celebrate together and recognize increased capacity and new leaders

We are members of Metroplitan Alliance for the Common Good (MACG), the broadbased IAF affilate in the Portland Metropolitan area. MAGC's member organizations represent churches, unions, non-profits and health care circles. The  Industrial Areas Foundation (link is external) , is a coalition of like-minded organizations in cities across the United States, the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia.


Meeting Tips for One-to-One Intentional Conversations

One-to-one intentional conversations are the foundation for story-based relationships and organizing in our community. They open up sacred space between two people where the power of story ignites imagination, transforms our view of the other person and enlarges our experience of human history.

The Conversation

Think about the people you meet throughout your day; the people you eat, drink, talk, shop, commute and commune with.

1. Write down the names of those whose story you would like to know. Extend your lens and include those whose families originate from a continent different than yours.

2. Contact them by phone or in person. Tell them you are participating in Leaven Community's neighborhood listening season and would like to have a conversation around the following questions:
   a. How did you land in this neighborhood?
   b. What makes/would make your neighborhood feel/be more like home for you and those you love?
   c. What moves you to act to make your neighborhood more livable?

3. Set up a time to meet over 40-60 minutes. (perhaps for coffee or tea)

4. Meet and be relaxed, interested and curious. Be a good listener and remember, this is a conversation, not an interview. Enjoy the experience. When closing the conversation next steps could include:

5. After your meeting, reflect on your experience. How did it feel? What in their story moved you? What is important to them? What are your mutual interests, connections? What did you discover about yourself? Perhaps write your reflection down in a journal.


How has Leaven Community made a difference in your life?
Are you investing in this difference for yourself and others?


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