Impact Spotlight: Heidi Brinnich

Impact NW supporter finds healing through giving back

Heidi Brinnich at the 2016 Annual Garden PartyFor more than a decade, guests attending Impact NW’s Annual Garden Party have enjoyed a great evening of fun amid the flowers and plants of Portland Nursery. But for Heidi Brinnich, the Garden Party provided an opportunity for healing and transformation.

Heidi has attended the Garden Party, held each fall on the grounds of Portland Nursery in Southeast Portland, for the past several years. She loves the fun and friendship. But that isn’t all that keeps her coming back. “Every time someone spoke at the event about Impact NW and its mission, I thought of my own experience and how I might be able to help someone, too,” Heidi says. “After last year’s event, I decided to do something.”

“I really could have used an Impact NW in my life”

Heidi Brinnich speaking at the 2017 Power of One LuncheonHeidi reached out to Impact NW about volunteering. She wanted to work with teenagers who had overcome big life challenges and who might benefit from a volunteer who understood what they are going through. Heidi went through it. As a teenager, she left an abusive home and found herself alone. She had a car and few possessions. That was all.

“I really could have used an Impact NW in my life,” she said. “I figured it out, but my path might have been easier and shorter.” Heidi volunteers with teens who are aging out of the foster care system and who will be on their own soon. She’s a source of inspiration and fun for them.

Heidi took her volunteering to another level this past May at Impact NW’s Power of One Luncheon. She told her story in front of 400 people. It was the first time she had publicly shared what she had overcome. She brought the house down; Impact NW enjoyed its most successful luncheon ever.

“Heidi, to me, is what Impact NW is all about,” says Andy Nelson, Impact NW’s Associate Director. “She saw an opportunity to help and went for it. And she inspired a bunch of people along the way.”