Michelle Carrillo

Michelle Carrillo, a Southern Oregon University Alumni, is the Initiative Director for Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a 10-year place-based health initiative funded by The California Endowment now at the 9-year mark. Wild Rivers Community Foundation (WRCF), an organization founded and led by community leaders in Curry and Del Norte counties in affiliation with Humboldt Area Foundation, serves as the backbone organization for BHC and promotes generosity, leadership and inclusion from the Sixes River to the Klamath River.

In 2015 Carrillo joined WRCF after five years working for Oregon State University’s School of Public Health through the Extension Service.  The first grant Carrillo wrote was to WRCF, which enabled her to co-found an award-winning 4-H Surfing & Outdoor Stewardship Camp. She is a Ford Leadership Alumni and served as a community ambassador and co-founder of Wild Rivers Connect, nurturing community vitality through collaboration, networking and education training leaders in Curry & Del Norte county.

Carrillo’s role in large-scale regional health equity initiatives allowed her to work alongside young leaders, community members, sovereign nations and system leaders to address intractable systemic problems, apply empathy research, social innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in the field. She has supported a variety of community-led projects using the human centered design approach to address a broad set of issues ranging from children’s literacy to the health of the nonprofit sector.

The collaboration taking place across the region demonstrates the best of collective impact for health equity, design thinking and values-based community organizing. In 2019 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized Del Norte County as one of the 12 finalists for the nation’s Culture of Health Prize. Carrillo continues to share this work in regional, state and national spaces including Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Network, providing tools and trainings to create lasting change.

Michelle Carrillo’s Tuesday Session:

The Critical Role Nonprofits Play in Embodying and Strengthening Civil Society

This in-depth three-hour session will offer participants a chance to think critically about how you approach both external advocacy and internal decision-making, and how those approaches can either degrade or strengthen the foundations of our civil society based on democratic principles. We will discuss a continuum of engagement from the perspective of the nonprofit organization, including:
  • Engaging in advocacy to influence policies that effect your target populations/causes.
  • Encouraging your target populations to participate in civil society, including not only voting and participating in the census, but also in other ways big and small throughout the year.
  • Examining your own internal processes for making decisions that impact the programs and services you offer, and specifically evaluating if the right people are included.
The session will feature panel discussions interspersed with interactive exercises and dialogue among participants.  Jim White, executive director of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, will facilitate discussion among our panelists, who bring a wealth of expertise and personal experiences that inform their own approaches to strengthening civil society through their work:
  • Jesse Beason, President & CEO of the Northwest Health Foundation
  • Michelle Carrillo, Initiative Director, Wild Rivers Community Foundation/Building Healthy Communities
  • Kurt Hildebrand, Executive Director of College Dreams
  • Lindsey B. Jones, Communications Coordinator for Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDO)
  • Robin Teater, Executive Director of Healthy Democracy
Participants will leave the session inspired and better prepared to consider their own organization’s opportunities to operate in democratically-principled ways that further empower the people they aim to serve and further strengthen the impact of the community’s voice.