Three people on my bed, two standing in the bathroom, and a bunch of others peering in from the kitchen: that's what the first Umbrella meeting looked like in my 250 square foot apartment. We are still a scrappy bunch and our mission is to support even scrappier bunches. Umbrella serves as a fiscal sponsor, bookkeeper, insurer, and advisor for groups intimidated by bureaucracy. Our 501(c)(3)'s stated mission is to foster street based culture in Portland but our unofficial motto is "We do the wonk so you don't have to."
Tofurky won't donate to your street picnic unless you're a tax-exempt non-profit? No problem! Apply to be an Umbrella project and you're covered, not just by our non-profit status but by our liquor and event liability insurance. We'll even help with your park/liquor/fire/noise/parade permitting. If it's a raging success and you want to become your own non-profit, we'll help you through that process, too. To keep us afloat, we take 10% of monetary donations to our projects. In exchange, we bring them the legitimacy of an insured, non-profit organization without the hassles of incorporating, forming a board, or doing taxes.
Umbrella keeps a very low profile but serves as fiscal sponsor for high-profile Portland bike culture mainstays like Breakfast on the Bridges, Pedalpalooza, The Sprockettes, and the World Naked Bike Ride. It's not just about bikes, though. Umbrella also sponsors mural projects, disaster preparedness events, a no-pay payphone system, and a skateboarding club for young girls. We no longer meet at my house.