The Renaissance Foundation (TRF) is a private, non-profit foundation with an office and staff located in Portland, Oregon, as well as staff in Chicago, IL. Co-trustees, and husband and wife, Irving Levin and Stephanie Fowler created the foundation in 2001 to promote educational access, service to those in need, and environmental preservation. The foundation’s primary work is providing scholarships through the Renaissance Scholars Program (RSP) for high-achieving, first-generation college students. Since the first scholarship in 2005, RSP has helped support nearly 620 students at colleges all over the US, primarily in the Portland Metropolitan area.
TRF also awards grants to organizations that share our same core values. Organizations we have supported in the past include College Possible, Earthjustice, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and many others. TRF generally funds projects/programs in the Portland Metro area as well as National/International programs. Through the foundation, we have also initiated a business skills training program at Mercy Corps called the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program that is now a signature staff development tool for their employees in countries around the world.
Core values: Education, Social Justice, Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice, Human Services
Mission statement: The intent of The Renaissance Foundation (“TRF”) is to make a significant difference in the lives of people in need, especially in the areas of education, human services and environment
Irving Levin is a serial entrepreneur and Chairman of Genesis Financial Solutions, a consumer lending business located in Portland, OR. He divides his time between Genesis, investing in and mentoring small independent companies, and a variety of non-profit activities. Before founding Genesis, he started and led Renaissance Holdings, a credit card business which grew to 1400 employees before he sold it to Household International (now HSBC) in 2000. Before that he started the first credit card bank in the U.S. for ITT Financial. Through his investment vehicle Fluffco LLC, he is an active angel investor with direct investments in a large number of entrepreneurial companies. He serves as an informal mentor to many CEOs and serves on the Boards of Directors of several private companies. Mr. Levin is active in the nonprofit world. He has served on the Providence St. Vincent Hospital’s and Portland State University’s Foundation Boards, SMART, The Children’s Institute and a number of Portland area institutions. He is currently the Chairman of Digital Divide Data, a social enterprise in the IT industry which recruits, trains and hires hundreds of impoverished young people in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya. He and his wife, Stephanie Fowler, are co-Trustees of The Renaissance Foundation which focuses on enhancing educational opportunities for first generation and financially needy students. Mr. Levin is an occasional speaker on entrepreneurial and philanthropic subjects. He has four children and was once a professional classical musician.
Stephanie Fowler is a retired broadcast and print journalist, as well as a licensed psychotherapist. Ms. Fowler began her career as a broadcast journalist. She was a political reporter/analyst at KGW TV and KOIN TV in Portland and hosted a weekly public affairs program, Seven Days, on Oregon Public Broadcasting. She was the first woman to serve on The Oregonian newspaper editorial board, where she wrote editorials and columns. Ms. Fowler was in the first class of women at Princeton University, where she earned her BA. She also has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Lewis and Clark’s graduate school. She currently serves as a director of the Portland Art Museum and is a member of the Marketing and Engagement committee of The Nature Conservancy Oregon chapter. Ms. Fowler and her husband live in Portland. She has four stepchildren: Gabe, Lizzie, Josh and Alex—and a wandering beagle named Stella.
Diana brings over twenty years of experience from the non-profit and financial services industries with focus on non-profit management, human resources, administration and project management. She is the Executive Director of The Renaissance Foundation, a private family foundation and runs the family office for angel investor and Renaissance trustee, Irving Levin. Diana is the founder and Past President of the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and serves on the national President’s Assembly Steering Committee for NAWBO. Diana also serves on several local non-profit boards including Young Entrepreneur’s Business Week and RAHS+POIC She enjoys working with small business entrepreneurs, non-profits, scholarship programs, networking, traveling, playing golf and reading.
Shayna serves as the Scholarship Coordinator for the foundation. After being selected as a Renaissance Scholar in 2014, Shayna attended Portland State University and obtained a BA in Social Science, with a focus on Women and Gender studies. She started at her current position in April 2017 in order to help the foundation mainstream application processing and to develop an accessible database for scholar records. She serves as an informational resource to current and past scholars, plans foundation related events, and assists the manager of the Renaissance Foundation. She recently moved to Chicago with her husband for his graduate school program and she enjoys reading biographies, snuggling with her cat, and working with students.
Callie Forrest is the Scholarship Program Manager for the foundation. Callie earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Oregon State University. Though she enjoyed her studies, she counts her most impactful experiences as various jobs she held all over OSU and the nearby community college, from the dining hall to various student services offices. After graduating, Callie served as an AmeriCorps member for two years in a college access and success organization guiding a cohort of 40 high school students through the college and financial aid application process. After her time in AmeriCorps, she worked in virtual college advising, human resources, and volunteer management roles. Callie brings her love for students, education equity, and building thoughtful systems to her role at TRF. In her free time, Callie volunteers at the county library providing “tech help” to community members, plays soccer, reads, and continues her search for the best tiramisu she can find.