Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How did Levé start?

A: Back in 2004, a group of young Portland women decided to throw a holiday party and collect a few dollars from everyone so that they could make a donation to a local nonprofit. It was a hit. They struck a chord with friends and family who shared their desire to give back and have fun without the high price tags and stuffy crowds that often come with traditional charity events. Thus, Levé and Charity Ball were born. 


Q: What is the meaning of the name Levé?

A: Levé is the past tense of the French verb meaning “to lift” but the story behind our name is a little more fun. Let’s just say you can imagine what it takes to get 15 girls to agree on anything, let alone the name of our group. After much thought and deliberation, we agreed on Levé. The year was 2007 and from that point on, our original name, Charity Ball, became that of our event and Levé became the name of our organization. The first mention of Levé came during a conversation with Duncan Campbell, founder of Friends of the Children, our nonprofit partner at the time. We discussed the essence of our work and impact in the community, and agreed that our value lies in our efforts to support (or “lift”) the great work already happening in our community instead of trying to vie for funds in what is an already competitive environment. With a few French speakers in the room, including Duncan himself, the French verb “lever,” jumped to our minds and the rest is history.


Q: What are Levé’s goals?

A: Our goal is to consistently increase the amount of funds raised at our annual Charity Ball event that we provide to our selected nonprofit partners. We are also working to increase the amount of exposure our events’ attendees have with each year’s selected non profit partner in an effort to inspire and activate the next generation of donors to be involved in the success of our Pacific Northwest community. As a organization with a 15-member board, we are also deepening Levé’s involvement with our nonprofit partners by providing our time in support of specific projects and events, and by providing our individual expertise and skills to help build capacity if and where needed.


Q: What organizations has Levé supported in the past?

A: Meet our current & past nonprofit partners →


Q: How do you select the nonprofit to support?

A: At the beginning of each year, we come together to give thoughtful and thorough review of each application we receive. In this process, each board member researches and presents several applicants to the rest of the board, followed by time for questions and lively discussion. Through an anonymous, online survey, we narrow the pool down to a handful of applicants. We repeat this process and vote one last time to select our annual nonprofit partner. Even though the process is time intensive we believe it’s hugely important. It allows our 15-member board to learn about each applicant and its work, arming us with the knowledge to be informed advocates for our selected beneficiaries, and all the organizations who apply for funding. It helps us ensure that we are selecting nonprofits that are meeting the most critical needs of our community through innovative and effective programs. Our one absolute requirement is that the nonprofit must be headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. While not required, we also look for organizations that will be greatly impacted by our contribution—possibly allowing them to implement a new program or initiative by being able to count on a Levé line item in their annual budget. Ideally, selected nonprofits will also have volunteer opportunities for our board members and can provide a primary point of contact throughout the planning process. Other considerations are organizations that employ sustainable practices and ones that have a real need and desire to connect with younger donors. Learn more about our partner selection →


Q: How can I apply or nominate an organization to be a future beneficiary?

A: We accept nominations and applications for our nonprofit partner in the beginning of the new year. An online application form is made available on our website at this time. The deadline to submit is January 31. We conduct a thorough and rigorous process for selecting our partners, which allows our 15-member board to learn about and engage with each applicant and its work. We strongly encourage you to consider submitting an organization you believe is making an important impact in our community.


Q: Are there opportunities to volunteer?

A: Yes! We welcome volunteers with open arms. There are opportunities to volunteer with us as well as our current and past nonprofit partners. Check out our Do Good, Feel Good calendar or give us a shout to get more info.


Q: When did Levé become an official nonprofit?

A: Levé received its official 501 (C)(3) nonprofit status September of 2008.