SEI was founded in 1981 by Tony Hopson as a one-week summer basketball camp aimed at providing a positive alternative for African-American teens living in an area of Portland plagued by gang violence, poverty, and a public school system that was leaving them behind. By 1989, SEI grew into a year round program providing academic support and comprehensive wrap-around services for African-American students and their families.

SEI opened the Center for Self Enhancement in 1997 to provide a safe haven for thousands of students and serve as the hub for our work in the community. Over the next 20 years, SEI continued to expand  programs to provide students and families with a continuum of cradle-to-career services. Providing over 35 years of service to the community, SEI is now Oregon’s largest African American-led nonprofit organization.

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