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Repurposing with a Purpose

UpstART provides women at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and homelessness with creative and income generating opportunities.


Program Overview

UpstART is a social enterprise on a mission to support women at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and homelessness to find security and stability in their lives. We collect and repurpose donated jewelry and fashion accessories. In our creative co-ops hosted at multiple sites around Portland, our budding female artists design and create by hand unique jewelry pieces using the broken down elements of our donations. All those involved with these creative co-ops have felt the transformative power of creating something beautiful and unique, of sitting at a table with friends and strangers and feeling proud of making something that is your own. In the last year, UpstART has begun expanding its footprint from not only providing creative opportunities but also income generating opportunities by selling the handmade creations around Portland at communities of faith and street fairs and are planning to expand to other venues. The artists employed have appreciated not only the employment but the opportunity to see their pieces as well as others be purchased by folks impressed with their creativity and the beauty of the pieces. 

What the Program is Accomplishing

Women engaged with UpstART are participating in opportunities to be creative and to create something of value, something that can often be missing in their lives in the past. Several are also receiving employment and retail experience working alongside volunteer at jewelry sales. The plan for the next few years is to expand the footprint of UpstART to host creative co-ops at new sites. UpstART will also be increasing employment opportunities for our women by increasing our sales and developing a retail training and internship program. 

Goals of the Program

UpstART will

  • Increase creative opportunities for women and other populations (e.g. youth)
  • Develop skills in women around jewelry making and the retail industry
  • Provide income opportunities for women through sale of the jewelry made as well as a future internship program


We provided 68 hours of employment to women at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and homelessness. We also hosted over 40 creative co-ops (jewelry making) sessions for our ladies.

Find UpstART at your neighborhood street fair! We will have booths at most street fairs this year including Hawthorne, Alberta, and Montavilla. Come donate your unwanted jewelry or purchase a new piece made by our talented artists!

Jewelry made at our Creative Co-ops are beautiful, unique pieces made by our talented artists with repurposed jewelry.

Featured Event

Village Building 1

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 6:30-8:30 PM

New City Initiative Training Center, 1435 NE 81st Ave, Suite 500

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