Donor Profile: Pam Whyte and Ron Saylor

Pam and RonPam Whyte and Ron Saylor are not Eugene natives but their lives have been woven into the fabric of the Whiteaker neighborhood in which they make their home.

Both took roundabout roads to Eugene. Ron arrived in 1966 from California. His parents pushed him toward the University of Oregon, hoping to “rescue him” from Berkeley. Despite their efforts, he was drawn into the politics of the era, eventually earning a master’s degree in political science—though “with a paintbrush in my hand,” he explains, referring to the trade that paid his bills and led to the launch of Saylor Painting Company.

Ohio native Pam started school at the University of South Florida, but arrived in Eugene in 1975 on a one-year student exchange program. She decided to stick with the U of O, somehow convincing the registrar’s office she was eligible for in-state tuition. She earned a marketing degree but was not interested in marketing, so pursued a career in accounting. The move paid off; today she’s a partner in the firm of Emge & Whyte.

Pam and Ron connected with each other in 1979. By this time, Ron had purchased a small house, which they still own, in the Whiteaker neighborhood. They also own other properties in the area and Saylor Painting is headquartered just a three-block walk from their home. To say that they enjoy living in Whiteaker is an understatement. When you hear them talk about the river and the parks and the restaurants and the breweries, you realize just how much they love their neighborhood.

Pam and Ron also love and care about their neighbors, and that includes members of the community who are homeless—which is why donating money to ShelterCare is so logical for them.

“We are interested in supporting a vibrant, vital, and healthy community,” Pam explained. “We are also interested in fighting homelessness and giving people the tools they need to get off the streets.”

Emge and WhyteProving their commitment to the community, Pam and Ron have been loyal ShelterCare donors for many years, supporting various seasonal appeals, the “I ShelterCare about Homelessness” campaign, and the capital campaign that financed ShelterCare’s new Whiteaker-based Center for Programs and Services.

Pam and Ron wholeheartedly agree that their participation in the capital campaign was as much an investment in the neighborhood as it was in ShelterCare. In part, they were happy to welcome a new neighbor that transformed an old warehouse into an attractive and valuable community resource. But they also stressed that ShelterCare needed this new building to “make the agency whole” and help sustain its important work of housing Eugene’s homeless.

“It feels good knowing that there is a place where people can go for help, to meet their basic needs, and end the cycle of homelessness,” Ron explained.

Stories of Success: From Client to Colleague

Case Manager Amber Cowles (L) and ShelterCare graduate Desire Mitchell (R)
Desiree Mitchell is a proud ShelterCare employee, working as a housekeeper at Garden Place and filling in as a relief employee at other programs. She and her partner have two kids and live in a nice Springfield duplex. Her life is good and her life is stable.

Yet less than two years ago, Desiree’s life was very different. In late 2013, she and her family were evicted from their apartment and forced to live in their car. Life became frightening, uncertain. Looking back is very emotional for Desiree, especially when she thinks about how hard the experience was for her kids.

Yet, just when things seemed hopeless, Desiree heard about ShelterCare’s Homelessness Prevention Program. She made a call and soon Case Manager Amber (Larsen) Cowles was working to change the family’s fortunes.

“She was so enthusiastic,” Desiree recalls.

Amber backed up her enthusiasm with action, first connecting Desiree with ShelterCare Resource Counselor Yuki Kumashiro, who connected the family to St. Vincent de Paul’s night shelter program. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than living in a car. Yuki also secured Desiree a spot on the waiting list for ShelterCare’s Family Housing Program, where the family moved after six weeks in the shelter. Desiree remembers that as a huge step forward.

“We went from having no privacy to living in a place with clean rooms, heat, real beds and a stove to cook on,” Desiree said.

Amber wasn’t finished — and she was determined to make sure Desiree and her family were working as hard as she was to make their dreams come true.

“Amber is a good motivator,” Desiree admits. “Sometimes she kicked our butts to make sure we were getting things done!”

The most amazing day was when Amber drove the family to look at a duplex in Springfield. As they arrived, Amber declared, “This is where you’re going to live.”

Soon after, that declaration became a reality.

With six months of financial support, Desiree and her partner were able to stabilize their lives in their new home. In March 2015, Desiree was hired at Garden Place and fulfilled a new dream.

“I wanted to serve my community and help people the way we were helped. What better way to do this than to work at ShelterCare?”

I ShelterCare about Homelessness

This week marked the start of our fourth annual "I ShelterCare about Homelessness" campaign. Throughout October we will be showing you the amazing ways community members are making a commitment to help people in need, and asking you to join them! 

You might be asking "What is “I ShelterCare about Homelessness” all about?" To learn more about our campaign to help people in crisis keep, recover and stabilize their housing please watch the video below. 

Click here to learn more about how you can participate

Kick up your heels and kickoff the 2015 “I ShelterCare about Homelessness” campaign!

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Dari Mart (4925 Barger Drive, Eugene)

Cheryl Reinhart, owner of Sweet Life Patisserie
Cheryl Reinhart, owner of Sweet Life Patisserie
Applaud Campaign Chair Cheryl Reinhart, owner of Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, as she calls the community to action to raise funds to help people in crisis keep, recover, and stabilize their housing.

During October, our generous sponsors will match donations from the community up to $1,000 dollars per day.

During the kickoff event:

  • Celebrate Dari Mart for collecting change for ShelterCare throughout the month of September.
  • Enjoy a thrilling performance by Thrill the World Eugene zombie dancers.
  • Witness the unveiling of the Haunted House cookies made by Sweet Life Patisserie, which will be on sale all month to benefit ShelterCare.
  • Learn about the variety of fun ways to participate all month long.

Tailgate for Hope



UPDATE 9/22/15: Big "thanks" to KKNU-FM (New Country 93) for running a spot on the event this past Sunday, Sept. 20. Have a listen to learn more about the tailgating opportunity!


Barbecue + Beer + Football = ShelterCare Support

The details: 

• October 10, 2015 | UO vs WSU

• Tailgate Party: Boy Scouts Headquarters — 2525 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Eugene

• Cost: $1,000 Sponsorship (includes food, beer for up to 20 people and four parking spaces)

• Proceeds benefit ShelterCare

• Contact Dan Hiestand at (541) 686-1262, or at dhiestand (at) sheltercare (dot) org for more information

Are you ready for some football? If so we have an amazing offer for you.

Prior to the Duck’s game vs. Washington State University (Oct. 10), one lucky group/business of up to 20 people will have a chance to tailgate in style in the shadow of Autzen Stadium — all while helping to support ShelterCare.

This isn’t just a picnic in the parking lot: Guests will enjoy a private, comfortable indoor space (donated by the Boy Scouts of America, Oregon Trail Council, Troop 100) directly across from Autzen Stadium. The room provides maximum flexibility to keep it private or party with the masses.

To get ready for the big game, mouthwatering, classically prepared fare will be provided by Hole in the Wall Barbecue. Wash it all down with local craft beer brewed by Hop Valley Brewing.

Additionally, four parking spaces (valued at more than $120) will be provided to partygoers.

This football fiesta will be in the midst of a larger party atmosphere that showcases the fun and excitement college football brings to Eugene. Festivities around the private space will include Thrill the World Eugene dance performances; Monster Energy Truck giveaways; and raffle tables featuring great prizes.

For businesses in particular, this is a unique opportunity to show appreciation for employees and VIP clients. For groups, it’s simply a great way to spend a Saturday.

Most importantly, it’s a chance to support ShelterCare’s mission to help community members struggling with homelessness.