A Tale of Corruption in Salem-Keizer Public Schools
Non-Profits and Activists and Salem-Keizer School Leaders, oh my!
Welcome to my first Substack post. I do not pretend to be a journalist or even a writer. I wrote this in the hopes that a more tenured investigative journalist or even government official in oversight could take this and run with it.
I’m a parent who thought it was strange how Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) treated parents who wanted to be involved. I thought for years that I was an anomaly. SKPS creates policies, procedures, and entire programs, with the assumption that parents DON’T want to be involved. And that may be the case for some kids, but many, many parents do want to be there. I am tired of feeling like wanting to be involved in my children’s education makes me the strange one in the educational landscape.
It is long, but I didn’t intend it to be. Believe it or not, my first draft, written for myself to just see if I could get the corrupt scenario straight, was barely 3 pages. The rabbit hole just got deeper and deeper, and as I reached out to people, there were pockets of information all over the place. I did not find all of this information on my own, and to those that helped me, I thank you.
However, I do not want any credit here. I wish to remain anonymous, because I am only an observer of the facts and the way things look — Not to mention the plain history of activist tactics employed herein to intimidate and destroy the opposition, naturally, would not be welcomed.
The story, as it is detailed below, can certainly be broken up and expanded upon, if there’s someone in journalism brave enough to tell it…
The Problem - LUS
Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS) is a disruptive, antagonistic presence at all Salem Keizer Public School Board meetings, which serves to intimidate and drive away participation of parents and others in the community. The image they portray is that this is a group of students operating on their own. There may be some students in the group, but they are hardly operating on their own.
They wouldn’t be a problem if they were just there to advocate for their ideas and initiatives, but they are never a collaborative partner in any sense. It is literally always their way or the highway, which means that they will disrupt every opportunity to move forward in every sense of the word, and impede any sort of common ground progress for any of the other players in the room.
LUS, or LUS Youth, claims to be a group “founded in 1996 by a group of Latinx youth in Salem, who decided to take a stand against the constant profiling and criminalization of youth of color by local authorities and of immigration raids terrorizing their families.”
Later, they state they evolved into “an organization that empowers youth through leadership development; which is exercised through civic engagement, grassroots organizing and community engagement.”1
Their aim at every school board meeting is to fill up the seats and the times to testify as much as possible, so as to make it seem like there are no other opinions.
LUS Partners and supporters
To give some background on the circles LUS runs in, as seen in some of the screenshots above, the Twitter account White Rose of Salem (@WhiteRoseofSal1) (locked down since initial publication), a play on the name of a “non-violent, intellectual resistance group” against the Nazis in World War II, routinely talks about LUS events while also spouting Marxist-socialist propaganda and links to other openly communist party, socialist, and Antifa accounts espousing violence.
Willamette Valley Hate Watch (@UsVSbullies) proudly claims they are “PROUD ANTIFASCISTS”.
They also support LUS, and marshal resources and people to support LUS.
They also routinely espouse Antifa rhetoric and promote anti-fascist events, including those of Rose City Antifa, the oldest Antifa group in the United States, and thought to be the genesis of the US version of the violent extremist movement.
While in the parking lot, before, during, and after board meetings, they engage in intimidation, name-calling, and harassment. They have operatives who stay in the parking lot and photograph every car, license plate, and every individual who attends.
Because these individuals claim they are students from the area, on a few occasions, people with opposing viewpoints have asked them what school they attend. They do not answer the question and use that as fodder for their claim that they are being attacked and doxed and need more people to protect BIPOC kids. I have personally witnessed this, as have many other community members who wish not to be identified for fear of retribution by LUS.
LUS also uses dedicated individuals to video record the line in an attempt to capture any incidents that happen, usually instigated by them. They then go online and claim those tactics were used against them. Many people have had their information disclosed against their will and subsequently harassed online, at their jobs, or even at home.
Conservative board members have had harassing messages sent to them.
They’ve been harassed at work. The following picture, posted by LUS, is of a group protesting against Danielle Bethell in her capacity as a school board member, while she was at work as a Marion County Commissioner.
Conservative board members are also subjected to targeted harassment in their homes and neighborhoods, as well. A local activist known as “Clifford” posted harassing fliers in one board member’s neighborhood.
I believe this to be Clifford Eifler-Rodriguez, who posts messages in unity with many of the organizations mentioned here, very frequently for LUS on his Instagram (locked down after initial publication), Facebook (some screenshots below for preservation), and Twitter (also locked down after initial publication).
Other pictures of him appear to have the same build, and apparently the same shirt.
A LUS-affiliated group also has descended upon the board member’s neighborhood and chalked up the street in front of neighbors’ homes with intimidating messages of harassment.
They also employ these tactics of intimidation and harassment when there is any other sort of gathering or demonstration that they disagree with relating to school issues.
Back to school board meetings, when the line starts to form behind them outside, they will engage in race-baiting tactics to call everyone not with them white supremacists and fascists, among many other abhorrent names, and engage in reprehensible tactics.
On May 11, 2021, the board met in person but did not have a public presence in the audience. During the course of the proceedings, LUS was outside the meeting, beating on the windows so violently that board members could not hear or be heard. Reportedly at this meeting, LUS used duct tape to seal the doors so that board members could not exit the building.
Side note: anytime any parent’s rights advocates or conservative groups want to protest the school board or district’s actions, the district closes the building, seals the parking lot, and posts security, leaving those groups to protest on the sidewalk where LUS advertises for people to show up in counter-protest(screenshot above). At this particular counter-demonstration, young people all in black bloc showed up and pushed people, including local reporters covering the event [starting at timestamp 22:50], into traffic – But when LUS wants to have a protest, they get the run of the place, starting a barbecue and having a dance party (referring back to the events on May 11, 2021).
Chair of the Board (at that time) Dr. Satya Chandragiri confirmed these events (from May 11) via email, “students and activists belonging to LUS and perhaps others were banging [on] the windows, Superintendent Perry shared later after the meeting that they had duct-taped and barricaded the points of egress. While this went on a barbecue was started in the parking lot and some dancers were dancing in the parking lot. This happened when there were board directors, [a] student advisor and staff inside the building.”
At the board meeting on June 15, 2021, LUS was again outside, and even more violently beating on the windows. Many in attendance were positive that they were going to break through the glass. During the course of this meeting, in response to the disruption at the May 11 meeting, the school board passed a motion instructing the district to establish a free speech zone at any meeting of the school board but also instructed school district security to make the immediate perimeter of the building they were meeting in a no trespassing zone. The meeting minutes reflect that the motion passed, but the district did nothing.
Eventually, due to the disruption happening again outside this meeting, the chair of the school board called a recess to see if there was something that could be done to defuse the tensions outside.
Reportedly, a phone call was made, and a van showed up to cart off some of the LUS group so that the meeting could hopefully continue without the outside disruption. More on that in a moment.
In the last meeting I personally attended, I watched them engage in a verbal assault on a couple of Hispanic ladies there to advocate for their kids. Since these ladies were Hispanic, but not with LUS, they were called race traitors, white supremacists, and not real Mexicans.
These are just a few of the things that happened at just this one meeting. Also in this meeting, LUS repeatedly called the white people in the audience racists and white supremacists, among many other names. LUS admonished the board for even letting the white people into the meeting room.
During the course of the meeting, Chair Avila scolded the LUS members of the audience for their name-calling.
Later, LUS also instigated a confrontation in the audience of the meeting, at which time the board called a recess to allow for tempers to calm down, and district security came into the meeting room.
Despite Chair Avila chastising LUS for their behavior and name-calling in the meeting, Mano a Mano posted a statement online on August 12th, flipping the script and setting a new narrative. You’ll understand the link and importance of Mano a Mano to LUS in a moment.
Chair Avila, having seen the statement and getting that message in the days after the meeting was over, released a public statement on August 15th shifting his stance, parroting the Mano a Mano narrative, and blaming the supposed security concerns present at the meeting (which he claimed were causing him to cancel the next scheduled meeting) on some of the people in the room, calling them racists, homophobes, and transphobic, and implying it was the white people.
Not long after this meeting, even though in-person meetings were still allowed, the school board decided to go to online (Zoom) meetings to alleviate the security concerns.
The Board and Budget Committee
The Salem Keizer School Board is a 7-member group. Those 7 directors also serve on the Budget Committee with 7 appointed individuals from the public. “The committee is an advisory group established by statute to make budgetary recommendations to the school board. [...] The budget committee conducts public meetings and reviews the budget proposed by the superintendent. Community members are encouraged to attend these meetings and provide comments.”2
To be working on a committee with the entire school board, it’s at least a debatable point, if not a given, that the appointed members of the committee would have greater access to the school board than an average community member.
One committee member has had a long tenure on this particular budget committee. One of the two longest-standing members is Levi Herrera-Lopez. His current term ends June 30, 2022, and seeing as how community member terms are three years in length, with the option to apply for longer service, he started this term in 2019. There are archived budget committee meeting minutes as far back as February 2018, where Herrera-Lopez is listed as a member, so this is at least his second term.
The chair of the budget committee is a position the entire committee votes on to elect and lasts approximately a year. A committee person with a long history of involvement informed me that it is an unwritten precedent that no one serves as chair for more than one term at a time.
However, on April 23, 2019, Herrera-Lopez was elected chair, and then again on May 12, 2020, a motion was made to continue with Herrera-Lopez as chair for a second term, against precedent and in spite of a motion to flip the roles of chair and vice-chair to maintain the practice of not having back-to-back terms for leadership in the same role.
Superintendent Christy Perry was reportedly actively campaigning behind the scenes of the budget committee meetings for the continued role of Herrera-Lopez as the chair, and actively urged the school board and appointed members of the budget committee to vote the way she desired.
At the next board meeting on June 23, 2020, Perry used the meeting to engage in an insubordinate tirade against some of the elected members of the school board, where she specifically names Herrera-Lopez and incorrectly accuses the board of trying to “prevent Levi Herrera Lopez (sic) from serving on the [budget] committee” and pours on more praise of him in his role as chair.
Side note: the other person Superintendent Perry refers to, Adriana Miranda, was the executive director for Causa of Oregon, a well-funded non-profit, and similarly missioned to many of the organizations mentioned here.
As shown above, the board never attempted to prevent him from serving. They merely attempted to uphold a long-standing practice of rotating leadership, which would not have resulted in Herrera-Lopez being off the budget committee. At best, he would have been vice-chair. At worst, if he’d lost the re-election campaign, he would have been a regular member, as he is at the time of this writing.
Perry then goes on in the last part of her diatribe to praise the activist groups “Mano a Mano, the [Salem-Keizer] Coalition for Equality, Causa Oregon, PCUN and Latinos Unidos Siempre. Their leadership pushes me to be better.” Pushes how? What influence do they have over the Superintendent, and who voted them to have this influence?
This shows a preferential relationship between Perry and Herrera-Lopez. She should be dispassionate and completely objective about who is on the budget committee or in the positions of leadership in a legally-required advisory body that’s sole purpose is to evaluate and give feedback on a budget that she is professionally charged with delivering.
The current budget committee community appointees consist of a list of some interesting connections:
Levi Herrera-Lopez - Detailed below
Jaqualine Bechtel - no immediate discernable political connections
Barbara Ghio - an immigration attorney that is endorsed by Mano a Mano
Lisa Harnisch - the executive director for Marion and Polk Early Learning Hub
Wilma “Oni” Marchbanks - owner of a social justice activism learning organization Equity by Design
Nancy MacMorris-Adix - retired midwife, recently appointed to budget committee, former school board member, and board member of Family Building Blocks
Lara Million - recently appointed, no immediate discernable political connections
It’s worth noting that both Herrera-Lopez and Perry serve together on the Board of Directors for an organization called Family Building Blocks, along with recent Budget Committee appointee and former school board director Nancy Macmorris-Adix. Herrera-Lopez and Perry also serve together on the Board of Directors for the Marion and Polk Early Learning Hub where, as mentioned earlier, Budget Committee member Harnisch is Executive Director.
This feels like an incestuous pool of mainly activists, and not a culturally or politically diverse cross sampling as a representative body of community members should be in the guidance and oversight of a large community’s public school district.
Herrera-Lopez Background, Mano a Mano Family Center, LUS Youth, and Ties Back to Salem-Keizer Public School
Herrera-Lopez’s occupation is the executive director of Mano a Mano Family Center. This is an organization that lists its mission on Oregon Secretary of State documents, filed by Herrera-Lopez as the registered agent, as (emphasis mine) “the vision of Mano a Mano is that the people we serve live in a community of justice, where all children thrive in strong, safe, and nurturing families and neighborhoods. We do this by helping increase hope, resilience and reduce toxic stress.” The notion that Herrera-Lopez wants to reduce toxic stress is laughable, which if not already, will be more evident in a moment.
Mano a Mano Family Center, and specifically Herrera-Lopez as the registered agent, also operate Mano a Mano under two other associated business names according to Oregon Secretary of State filings: Radio Poder, “a multi-lingual, full power FM radio station, serving Oregon’s Willamette Valley from Dallas and Salem-Keizer, Oregon, on 98.3 FM.”, and Latinos Unidos Siempre, or LUS.
The Mano a Mano Family Center Website lists themselves as the “fiscal sponsors of L.U.S. Youth Organization.”
Contrast the stated goal of “[reducing] toxic stress” with the actions already detailed in this account of an affiliated business they are financially supporting. Although their support appears to extend past being fiscal sponsors, into the logistical and operational arena.
Herrera-Lopez’s access to the board, board leadership, and the Superintendent as a budget committee member and chair (even if he isn’t chair anymore) are material to the LUS situation.
At the highly disrupted board meeting on June 15, 2021, where LUS was so disruptive, during a break, purportedly some board members expressed that the police should be called to help contain the situation outside and prevent it from becoming more dangerous. Allegedly, the head of security for the district contacted Levi Herrera-Lopez and after that is when the van showed up to pick up some of the LUS disruptors outside.
Chandragiri confirmed, “During the [recess] the head of the security of the district called Levi and he made arrangements for the children and those banging [on] the window to be transported.”
And despite Chandragiri’s leadership role, continually having to contend with LUS at board meetings, and Herrera-Lopez’s involvement in the budget committee, Chandragiri was kept in the dark. “It appears to me that the district was fully aware of the chain of command of the LUS and the leaders. Yet I was not aware at that time of what relationship Levi had with LUS.”
After learning of the relationship, Chandragiri started asking questions to learn more. Herrera-Lopez was informed of this, and “he went and complained to the superintendent that he has been ‘outed’ and he will not be able to have leverage on LUS students anymore.”
In a meeting in June 2021, after the events at the school board meeting on June 15, Chandragiri met with Superintendent Perry, then vice-chair Danielle Bethell, and former assistant superintendent Salam Noor (acting as a mentor to Chandragiri), to discuss the situation. “Christy shared this conversation Levi had about being outed and asked me not to let the public know about [the] district calling him. She also shared he was not well. I have no idea about what she meant.”
This establishes that Herrera-Lopez knows Perry well enough that he can gain access to her when he needs to, feels comfortable enough with Perry to address his personal feelings, emotional state, and issues about a matter uncomfortable for him, and expects Perry to act on his instructions and on his behalf with regards to district and school board business.
There are also allegations of preferential treatment by the new board members and chiefly, the new chair of the board, Osvaldo Avila.
Take special note of the posts by Avila bragging about his endorsements from PCUN, Stand For Children, and Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality, all non-profit organizations, and prohibited by the IRS from giving political endorsements as 501(c)(3) organizations.
And if these are not 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (despite the filings that say they are), then the many statements of the school board directors in support of these organizations are a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits public officials from engaging in political activity. But I digress.
Despite many large groups of parents and concerned community members signing up to testify, the public testimony portion of every meeting is filled with LUS operatives reading the same talking points posted to their social media accounts.
School board administrators try to stave off complaints by saying that testimony is picked by the timestamp of when people sign up, combined with a rubric for what the testimony is about (items to be voted on, items to be reported on, and then non-agenda items). But the caveat here is that it is all at the discretion of the board chair (Avila), and he may set an order to the testimony however he sees fit, which allows him to exclude people from having an opportunity to speak.
Reportedly, for the next board meeting on 5/10/2022, a new “lottery” style system will be used to determine who gets to give testimony. It makes this author wonder, with the stated goals of filling up the testimony (‘even if you have nothing to say, sign up and read a book’), will a lottery system still show the diversity of thought that makes up the testimony pool? No one will know until the meeting.
LUS also uses their social media accounts to campaign against and influence some of the elected board members, another violation of the IRS regulations related to 501(c)(3) organizations.
LUS will put out talking points, sometimes in advance of an actual agenda being published for the meeting. Despite the stated method of choosing who gives testimony, and the multiple times the board has stated that people of the same group who are saying the same thing should pick a representative to speak their piece, to allow for more voices to be heard, LUS is picked to fill up the testimony slots. All 4 of the progressive voting bloc have posted many times showing an affinity and undue deference to the mission and tactics of LUS (see screenshots above).
The talking points being repeatedly parroted then get reported in the local news media as the majority of testimony voiced or sent into the meeting (only for the reporter to later admit it isn’t the case – but won’t change the article), which in turn furthers the intimidation and marginalization of parents, community members, and other groups looking to advocate for their own issues.
The preferential treatment is unequal in favor of LUS, with at least the financial, logistic, and operational support of Mano a Mano Family Center, under the direction of Levi Herrera-Lopez.
Herrera-Lopez uses his access to gain preferential insight and influence into board decisions, agenda planning, and meeting operations. He also uses his LUS group to bully and intimidate other community members who would otherwise want to provide testimony, and also routinely bullies and harasses the board members. This harassment happens during the meeting, but they also harass them at home and at their jobs (see screenshots above, which is only a small sampling).
In short, he is exerting pressure directly from inside board operations, partnering with Superintendent Perry to press from the district administration side, and with LUS, he is exerting pressure on the board and community members indirectly from outside.
He furthermore uses Radio Poder to exert pressure and influence on the community to either join their cause or remain silent through marginalization and potential intimidation.
Despite actual security threats, legitimate security concerns, and formal complaints filed with the district, the behavior continues, and no progress is being made to address the common denominator in the problem. As of the time of this writing, there is only just recently a measure (page 64) to instill behavior standards, expectations around public commentary, and conduct at board meetings.
However, it has not passed, and it is not clear how the progressive voting bloc will implement or apply the rules since it will only be at the discretion of board leadership. It’s very likely they will only use it to silence those in opposition to their progressive agenda more so than they already are now.
This is just symbolic of the circle of corruption going on at SKPS. Public records showed the connections outlined here. They also show that this same cabal of influencers is affiliated with large political activist organizations out of Woodburn and Los Angeles. The new progressive slate of board members had campaign operatives deeply involved in their elections with the same ties to these activist organizations. One of the new board members is even employed by one of the large ones (Maria Hinojos-Pressey is an Operations Director for PCUN).
The appearance of impropriety is blatant, and even if there’s nothing technically wrong going on here (and I believe there is actual wrongdoing), the vast majority of Salem-Keizer voters need to know the outside undue influence that is going on at their school board and district leadership. The district and board are being run by special interest groups, from both sides of the equation. The board directors and the control of community member involvement are dictated by special interest groups with very little affiliation to Salem-Keizer. It’s a power play on the backs of Salem-Keizer’s kids and families.
Herrera-Lopez and Mano a Mano’s Web of Connections to Other Organizations
Through Oregon SOS filings and corporate officer listings, Mano a Mano Family Center is connected to the Capaces Leadership Institute through Sandra Hernandez-Lomeli, who is listed as the Secretary for both Mano a Mano and Capaces. Herrera-Lopez is listed as a board member along with Hernandez-Lomeli at Capaces.
Sandra Hernandez-Lomeli is listed as the program coordinator for LUS on many different websites and social media posts. A very small sampling to show the crossover:
Soul Force Ones interview titled “5. KKKops for Kids feat. Sandra Hernández-Lomelí, Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS)”
Keizer Times article titled “Anti-racism demonstrators make presence known at SKPS meeting”
Mano a Mano is also in the same building as the Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality in North Salem. Herrera-Lopez was the chair of the board for a time.
Capaces is connected to PCUN, Accion Politica PCUNista, Centro de Servicios Para Campesinos, and Willamette Valley Law Project (all at the same address in Woodburn) through Jaime Arredondo who is listed as a corporate officer for all the organizations (Registered Agent, President, or Secretary). More on Arredondo in a bit. And again, PCUN is where school board director Maria Hinojos Pressey works in her day job, facilitating insider knowledge, influence, and using external factors to push.
These organizations portray themselves as separate entities, but when you look into them, they are simply divisions within the same entity. Accion Politica PCUNista is listed on PCUN’s website as their political action arm. Centro de Servicios Para Campesinos has a very basic website but lists its staff alongside the staff for PCUN on PCUN’s website. The Willamette Valley Law Project has no website of its own but acts as the “fiscal sponsor” for PCUN, similar to Mano a Mano’s relationship to LUS. They are the same organization with overlapping influence, despite the numerous times these organizations list out all the various names to imply a wider base of support.
That group of organizations in the same building in Woodburn are all connected to Evolve Workforce and Multifamily Housing Services and the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (FHDC) through Reyna Lopez, who is listed as the President of PCUN on the Secretary of State’s records but only as the Executive Director on PCUN’s website, and is also listed as the Secretary for Evolve and FHDC. Both organizations, supposedly separate, have identical Boards of Directors with the exception of a vice president for FHDC that is not listed at Evolve. Those organizations are connected to a cadre of similarly named LLCs and Limited partnerships that feels like a nested collection of shell corporations.
Colonia Amistad Holding Co, LLC, Colonia Amistad Limited Partnership, Colonia Libertad Holding Co, LLC, Colonia Libertad Limited Partnership, Colonia Paz II GP, LLC, Nuevo Amanecer Next Generation Limited Partnership, Nuevo Amanecer NG Development, LLC. All these organizations link up to a person named Maria Elena Guerra who is listed as the registered agent on the Secretary of State’s records, and as the Executive Director on the Evolve and FHDC websites, as well as being involved in all of the similarly named LLCs.
Through the Colonia Libertad Limited Partnership, they are connected to a Los Angeles social activism organization called Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge, and Services (WORKS). WORKS connects to another Los Angeles company named Opportunities for Neighborhood Empowerment Co. Inc.
Funding for non-profit groups isn’t always easy to decipher. Especially when groups like Mano a Mano don’t publish any sort of financial report, and their list of contributors on their IRS Form 990 is restricted. But with the help of our friend Google, this author was able to find at least some of the funding going to Mano a Mano and others of the organizations mentioned here.
In 2019, the last IRS Form 990 published as of this writing says that Mano a Mano had contributions from government grants in the amount of $282,288, and all other contributions, including from private organizations, in the amount of $482,084.
And to put that total amount in context to the aggregate contributions over the preceding 5 years:
Mano a Mano has received funds for years from the Meyer Memorial Trust, as in Fred Meyer, named after the original proprietor of the popular Fred Meyer department stores when he left an endowment at the time of his death. Meyer Memorial Trust lists as one of its main focuses to “[accelerate] racial, social, and economic justice for the collective well-being of Oregon’s land and peoples.”
2021 - $200,000
2020 - $126,000
2019 - $75,500
2018 - $260,000 plus another $180,000 for Radio Poder
2016 - $75,000
2014 - $100,000
2010 - $100,000
Meyer Memorial Trust has also funded some of the other groups listed earlier:
Capaces has received over $1 million dollars since 2014
PCUN has received almost $500,000 since 2018.
Between the aforementioned groups, and others with similar, if not identical missions and goals, Meyer Memorial Trust has given almost $10 million dollars since 2002.
Another large philanthropic organization named The Collins Foundation has contributed to many of the groups listed here. But before digging into where their funds went, it’s worth noting that one of the listed trustees on The Collins Foundation Website is Jaime Arredondo. The same Jaime Arredondo who is listed as a corporate officer on six different entities on the Oregon Secretary of State website that have been mentioned in this piece. As Trustee, Arredondo could be directing funds to his business and those of his compatriots. There’s at least an appearance of impropriety there.
The Collins Foundation contributed at least the following amounts:
Mano a Mano - $100,000 in 2018.
Capaces (an Arredondo-affiliated organization) - $433,000 since 2013.
Willamette Valley Law Project (another Arredondo-affiliated organization) - $339,000 since 2016.
SKCE - $330,000 since 2012.
Evolve - $175,000 since 2018.
Causa Oregon - $606,200 since 2014.
Farmworker Housing Development Corporation - $286,000 since 2016.
Another group donating and contributing heavily to Mano a Mano, as well as many others of our cast of characters is named The Oregon Community Fund (OCF). Jaime Arredondo is listed in a position of leadership in this group, in the Latino Partnership Program. In 2020 alone, OCF contributed at least the following:
Mano a Mano - $114,500
Capaces (again, an Arredondo organization) - $111,500
Causa Oregon - $10 million
Farmworker Housing Development Corporation - $40 million
SKCE - $15,000
Mano a Mano received $10,000 from the Proteus Fund in 2020.
The Proteus Fund is described as a “pass-through” organization, amassing cash and passing it on to state and local organizations that have been vetted for their effectiveness3. It is currently chaired by the executive director of the Southern Poverty Law Center and has financial backing from many far-left organizations like George Soros’ Open Society Institute and Foundation for an Open Society, Vanguard, the Tides Foundation, the Gill Foundation (one of the top LGBTQ activist funders), and The Oregon Community Fund4.
Proteus has also funded other organizations in Oregon like The Oregon Futures Lab (OFL) (who endorsed Guzman Ortiz and Hinojos Pressey in their successful election to the SKPS board - even though OFL lists themselves as a “nonpartisan nonprofit project”), which is a group funded by The Tides Foundation and the Indivisible movement. Indivisible was recently mentioned in an article on the Yamhill Advocate as:
“...a nation wide far left extremist group of social activists whose agenda includes defunding police and shutting down all prisons, defunding U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), allowing illegal immigrants to vote, teaching children the discredited ‘gender identity’ pseudo-science invented by fraud John Money, endorsement of teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools, and the endorsement of both Antifa and various black separatist groups seeking to create racially segregated communities of self-governance by ‘race’.”
This article also draws many direct connections between Indivisible and many organizations that supported and endorsed the new progressive voting bloc on the board and are actively involved in Salem Keizer Public Schools’ business.
Maps Credit Union awarded Mano a Mano with $2,500 in 2020, under the umbrella of serving the community.
In 2019, the Northwest Area Foundation awarded Mano a Mano $50,000 to help fund Radio Poder.
In 2018, the Women’s Foundation of Oregon awarded Mano a Mano $27,500.
Also in 2018, the Social Justice Fund Northwest awarded LUS through their parent organization Mano a Mano “about $24,000”.
Public Funds from Government Agencies
More recently, in 2022, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley secured $250,000 for Mano a Mano in the 2022 federal spending bill.
In 2021, Mano a Mano received an award from a special procurement by Health & Human Services, in the amount of $200,000 to fund COVID-19 vaccine relief and outreach in the community.
In 2020, a few of the groups listed above were being subsidized in their campaigns of fear, harassment, and intimidation by Covid Equity Grants from the Oregon Health Authority (the same grant that gave $145,000 to the Antifa snack van from highly destructive nightly protests in downtown Portland)5. Capaces Leadership Institute received $75,000. LUS received $50,000. Mano a Mano Family Center received two disbursements: $96,000 and $100,000.
In 2020, the Oregon Department of Education - Early Learning Division awarded Mano a Mano $88,665.
In a document from 2018, which appears to be comments provided by Herrera-Lopez to the Marion County Board of Commissioners, he writes that Mano a Mano received a grant from the Oregon Youth Development Council. Most likely not what Herrera-Lopez is referring to here, since the date is after his comments submitted in 2018, this author was able to find a record for 2021-2023, called the Youth Promise Grant Initiative or the Youth Promise Community Investment Award, showing a $200,000 award for Mano a Mano.
Taking Herrera-Lopez at his word in his comments in 2018, that would mean this is at least the second time the Youth Development Council has awarded Mano a Mano a grant. It’s worth noting that listed on the Youth Development Council Roster is Jaime Arredondo, Executive Director, CAPACES Leadership Institute. CAPACES also received a $200,000 grant at the same time. Herrera-Lopez, as well as Sandra Lomeli-Hernandez (listed as just Hernandez on their roster), are both listed as being on the CAPACES Board of Directors.
There was another grant labeled the Youth Solutions Grant, where in the same period of 2021-2023, Mano a Mano received another $100,000.
And while the amount may not be significant, to further illustrate the corruption and inappropriate relationships between Mano a Mano, LUS, and the Salem Keizer School District, in 2018-2019, a grant coordinated by McKay High School, in conjunction with OCF, awarded $1,500 to LUS, through fiscal sponsorship by Mano a Mano. Yes, you read that correctly. LUS was awarded money by Salem Keizer School Districts to then turn around and disrupt and harass the school board directors and the public at the School Board meetings.
The circle of corruption extends beyond the Salem-Keizer school district, reaching into the pockets of dark money looking only to fund a decline of our culture and society into a Marxist revolution by way of division through CRT and gender ideology. These local organizations put up a very good front to appear as though they are a “grassroots” organization, and they do a fair amount of good work to keep the people they serve on their side, or at least quiet about their disapproval. The people of Salem, Oregon need to know who these people are and what they are really after. The communities they serve and children they are actively recruiting as foot soldiers of harassment and bullying are well funded, well trained, and well-positioned to keep pressing the narrative. The people of Salem need to stand up and push these grifting activists back away from your kids, your schools, and your community. Spread the word and stand strong. The kids are worth it.