This post was originally supposed to be about an upcoming OEN Pub Talk panel I was going to be part of. But unfortunately, it’s turned now, instead, into post about OEN, itself. And the dire straits in which the organization has suddenly and unexpectedly become embroiled.
Those who know me or who have read Silicon Florist realize that I’m not one to revel in the sharing of bad news. I don’t relish it in any way, shape, or form. But in times of tragedy, I’d rather you be informed. And know what’s going on. Even if it means I drop the Rose (City) colored glasses from time to time.
So in case you haven’t heard, the most recognizable entrepreneur support organization in Oregon is in trouble. And to make it even worse, this state of affairs has been uncovered by the new head of the organization. Who has only been in the role a matter of weeks. And is now tasked with figuring out what to do next.
In mid-January, it became clear that OEN did not have sufficient funds to cover operations in 2020. The nonprofit had restricted grant and program funds to execute specific programs, but not operating capital.
In a series of meetings over the last week, the OEN board considered two stark alternatives: shut down all operations, or take draconian steps to reduce expenses, seek the support of its community, and give the 28-year old organization a chance to find its footing under new leadership.
I don’t really have much more to say. I just wanted you to know.
For more information, read the coverage in the Portland Business Journal, The Oregonian, or read the post on the OEN blog.
[Full disclosure: I am a former board member of OEN.]