By Andrea Johnson, Executive Director of Green Empowerment
Earlier this week, our Board Chair and forever friend, Linda Boise, passed away. She and her husband, Steven, were visiting their son in Colorado when she suffered a fatal thoracic aortic aneurysm. The devastating news brought tears of both loss and appreciation to Green Empowerment staff and board members, as we reflected on Linda’s unwavering commitment to our organization and her lifelong dedication to advancing social justice.
Linda was a friend to Green Empowerment long before she was our gracious Board Chair. In 2009, she helped raise funds to build a solar water-pumping system for El Jocote, a rural community in Nicaragua, with her synagogue, Havurah Shalom. After fundraising in Portland, Linda ventured to Central America to visit this project. And – as is the Linda Boise way – she didn’t stop there. She formed a Health Task Force, inviting experts from her field to improve how we measure the impact that clean water has on family health. From then on, she was a part of the Green Empowerment family, joining our board and ascending to the role of Board Chair in 2015.
Linda became Chair right before I became Executive Director. She was instrumental during my transition, garnering board support and encouraging me every step of the way. Even though we just met, she and her husband Steven invited me into their home – they welcomed many staff, board members and supporters. I will always admire her tireless efforts to make our organization stronger in the board room, in her living room and beyond.
While I only knew Linda for a short time, the experiences that we shared were profound. We traveled to the Philippines, Malaysian Borneo and Ecuador together, where we deepened our understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing communities that we serve. We spent countless hours discussing Green Empowerment’s past, present and future. Linda and I recently reminisced about one of these trips.
We were stuck on the side of a muddy road in Borneo – me, Linda, Wendy, Gabe, my mother and eight-month old daughter, Juniper. Our four-wheel drive truck couldn’t get through the torrential rain, so for a few hours we just waited, watching the rain, making plans to potentially stay overnight and ration our supplies. Juniper sat on Linda’s lap, bouncing and smiling as Linda fed her white rice from a small plastic bag. Gabe took a chunk of wild boar our driver had acquired from the previous village and masterfully cooked it over an open flame, warming our bellies and our roadside shanty. As we ate with our fingers, dipping the boar in shredded wild ginger and rice, we laughed at our predicament and agreed that it was the best meal we had ever had!
The last time I saw Linda was on June 20th. We had wrapped up our quarterly board meeting and walked with Francie Royce to meet her husband, Michael, at the Pray, Mourn, Love, Take Action protest in Terry Schrunk Plaza on World Refugee Day. Linda listened intently, holding her bike helmet and notebook. This memory truly encompasses the amazing woman and social justice champion that she was, and will always be. Mustering the energy to peacefully protest after running a three-hour board meeting for a cause that she believed in, generously donating her time and talents to people she did not know and places she had never been. And she got there on a bicycle, true to her active and environmentally conscious spirit. I cherish the memories even more now, knowing how lucky I was to share these moments with Linda.
Though this loss is great, Green Empowerment is very lucky to have earned Linda’s trust and support for so many years. Our organization will continue to honor her commitments by working hard to build a world in which all people can thrive. Our hearts go out to her family – Steven, Sylvan, Emily and little Elis, her granddaughter that she loved so much. And to those of you who also loved Linda, who were also made better by knowing her, we encourage you to act – through a random act of kindness, by volunteering or peacefully protesting, by donating to Green Empowerment or another cause in her honor. By doing so, her spirit will endure and her compassion will not soon be forgotten.
To learn more about Linda and what Green Empowerment meant to hear, you may watch this video.
She was not only a vital part of Green Empowerment’s story but someone who was a dedicated social justice warrior throughout her life.
– Michael Royce, Green Empowerment Founder
She was such a determined, committed and generous person. It was an honor to have known her, if even for such a short time. I feel so fortunate to have been on the Ecuador trip with her and to have somehow met her standard in order to serve on the Board.
– Harrison Pettit, Green Empowerment Board Member
I am deeply saddened by the untimely and abrupt departure of Linda Boise from this earth. I’ve only known Linda for just short of two years, and she was responsible for coordinating my joining Green Empowerment’s Board of Directors. As Vice Chair, I met with her regularly to help support her leadership in coordinating agendas, actions and events aimed at furthering the mission of the organization, the vision of its founder, Michael Royce, and the innovative and tireless efforts of Executive Director Andrea Johnson and her talented and dedicated staff. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a week in Ecuador with Linda and other members of Green Empowerment’s leadership, staff and supporters to see first-hand the good work the organization does. Her insightful questions and observations were sensitive and on-point, and her sense of humor was evident every day. I regarded Linda as a mentor on the Board, a willing co-conspirator in advancing Green Empowerment’s agenda, and a delightful human being. I will truly miss this friend.
– David Siegel, Green Empowerment Vice Chair
I was enormously grateful to have known Linda. She was a woman with a strong sense of mission and personal dedication to social justice, and she never wavered in her determination to make a difference in people’s lives. She had a deep respect for the work of Green Empowerment and a steadfast belief in the power and potential of community-led development. Her conviction in the importance of this work inspired all of us to give our best in support of Green Empowerment’s mission. She led the board with vision, unfailing grace and a kind heart. We will miss her dearly, and remember her with great affection.
Linda took on her role as Green Empowerment Board Chair with her quiet, determined manner guiding the organization through the selection of a new Executive Director, and then helping Andrea work with other board members. Linda made sure that the mission and way Green Empowerment worked with our nonprofit partners was always front and center in everything we did. Her patient guidance and dedication to the social justice work will be sorely missed.
I enjoyed working with Linda. She raised funds for the El Jocote community in Nicaragua through Havurah Shalom. She was gracious, inquisitive, and had a great sense of humor. Without Linda’s leadership, there would not have been a project with Havurah Shalom or a sustained interest in public health in Nicaragua on the part of Portland health professionals. She was a dedicated, engaged leader. Green Empowerment was fortunate to have her 10+ years of service. She will be missed.
Linda was one of the most beautiful people who truly believed in true justice for all mankind!! I was so blessed to have know her and Steven during this earthly journey!!!
If you would like to leave a note for Linda and her family, please let us know and we will add it to this page.