2018 Heroes Profiles

Abby’s Closet

Abby Egland, Founder
It started with a pink prom dress. Founded in 2004, Abby’s Closet started in, well, Abby’s closet. When heading off to college, Abby Egland wanted to ensure her favorite pink prom dress wouldn’t just collect dust and recognized it could still bring so much joy to someone else. She wanted to give it another chance to dance! Founding Abby’s Closet with her mom, Sally Egland, the non-profit has hosted more than a decade of Prom Gown Giveaways for students from more than 250 schools in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

The mission of Abby’s Closet, an Oregon-based nonprofit, is to inspire confidence and respect in high school women by providing free formal gowns for prom or other memorable events. For some students, getting a free dress from Abby’s Closet is the only way they’re able to attend prom, an important celebration and rite of passage. But they’re also more than a dress – or really, more than the 20,000 dresses we’ve given away so far – because we’re just as focused on sequins and satin as we are on education, confidence, and inclusiveness. They empower high school students to learn leadership skills through our Student Advisory Board. They award a college scholarship each year. They are welcoming to people of different gender identities, abilities, sizes and socioeconomic status. The goal of Abby’s Closet is to make every participant feel special, beautiful, and confident.

Bald-Faced Truth Foundation

Anna and John Conzano, Co-Founders
Founded in 2009 by KGW-TV sports commentator, John Canzano, and his wife, KOIN-TV weekend anchor, Anna Canzano, the foundation provides opportunities and experiences for Oregon’s youth.

From football camps to piano lessons, scholarships are provided for families with financial limitations. Promising students, gifted athletes, budding artists and musicians now have an opportunity to pursue their dreams without the added stress to finance them. Grants are also awarded to organizations, schools, clubs, leagues and teams needing financial assistance.

The Canzanos, through The Bald-Faced Truth Foundation, has made a significant difference in the lives of over 14,000 area children by providing enriching opportunities and life experiences.

Grace-Ann Pegnone, Amazing Kid

Canby High School Sophomore, Grace-Ann Pegnone, has found the secret to enjoying life – serving others. Her service activities and leadership in OSU Extention’s 4-H program has highlighted her kindness, good citizenship and provides hundreds of volunteer hours that benefit others in need.

For the past 5 years, Grace-Ann has focused her attention on kids in foster care. Each December she leads a toy drive for the Clackamas County Department of Health and Human Services. By distributing gift tags to churches and local businesses, she collects hundreds of gifts and coordinates distribution through a holiday party she organizes for foster children and their parents.

Grace-Ann says, “I am not able to solve the larger issue of why a child is in foster care, but I can help them create positive memories with their parents at the holidays.”

Her hope is that the generosity offered to the children will help them grow up to be generous themselves. Her initiative to take action through compassion combined with her heart for service to others has certainly inspired all of us!