Pays ‘Honor’ Back to Mid-Pacific Through Planned Gift
By Chad Pata
Too often in life we misuse the word unique, but in the case of Daniel McArdle-Jaimes ’01 it is apt. His position as the City of Portland’s strategic communications officer for the Office of Community and Civic Life never existed before he took the job in March 2020.
“I am trying to provide more accessibility, more pathways for inclusion, reduce systemic racism and create more opportunities for communities to engage — together we can shape better public policy, bridge and build more vibrant communities and include more generations and voices,” says McArdle-Jaimes. “How can we as individuals find more commonalities amongst us and work towards a more common good as to what it means to live the American Dream.”
Little did he know he was about to be in the heart of a racial justice struggle that was going to capture the attention of the world as Black Lives Matter (BLM) and counter protests engulfed his city.
He has a virtual haberdashery of responsibilities in this role. They have uplifted the Oregon Workers Relief Fund to help provide COVID-19 relief money for essential workers, particularly undocumented workers who pay federal and state taxes, but have found themselves without work and no federal aid due to their pending immigration status. He also works on advancing proactive community safety education efforts by teaching small businesses how to deescalate situations without enrolling the police.
“Our Community Safety Program provides free diversity and bias training for small businesses and nonprofits that don’t have the HR capacity like retail shops and restaurants, on how to deal with a homeless person that wanders into their shop, and how to have uncomfortable conversations about issues like racial biases.” They even run a program funded by the cannabis tax to help expunge the records of low-level marijuana possessions from members of their community.
So how does one prepare to take on such a sprawling career choice? Why, improv class, English and student government of course. “Like most Hawai‘i families, my parents sent me to MPI so that I could go to college on the mainland, but what continues to draw me back and inspire me in my work is the foundational, expressive and creative roots I absorbed in the arts,” says McArdle-Jaimes, who serves as ‘01 alumni liaison. “The ability to expand your creativity and to think on your feet from improv, are all things that I use every day. All I do all day long is talk to people, build bridges, incorporate people’s ideas and put it on to paper. It feels like what I learned through Mid-Pacific is sort of lived in real life.”
In addition, McArdle-Jaimes continues to give back to Mid-Pacific by serving as a class representative, and during the class of 2001 15-year reunion, he helped create and launch a mentor program for graduating Mid-Pacific juniors to be paired up with his classmates so that students could earn college and career insights from other Owls before they applied to colleges and universities.
McArdle-Jaimes intends to pay “honor” back to his roots through his Mid-Pacific planned giving donation. For more information about Mid-Pacific Planned Giving, contact Vice President of Institutional Advancement Shannon Cleary at [email protected].