Posts filed under Community

Ultimate Guide to Giving: Partnering with KairosPDX

Join Marmoset in Giving Big Music Licensing.jpg

Whether donating to a cause that’s near to one’s heart or giving back in big ways to friends and family, there’s something to be said about those who live to give.

If reading this and thinking how this describes your own spirit of giving, then you’ll want to keep close tabs on initiatives like Willamette Week’s Give!Guide. Perhaps you caught our kickoff announcement a couple weeks ago announcing our 10K donation matching promise to the KairosPDX — if not, read up on it here.

Why does a promise to match donations up to $10,000 matter to us? KairosPDX is a pillar within an ever-growing educational community, lessening the gaps throughout the public education system while uplifting those who often minimized or overlooked. Specifically, underrepresented youth.

In providing children with access to empowering tools and resources, Kairos is unique in its strides to instill curiosity through education. This encourages students to tap into their own personalities, to explore introspectiveness, a learning quality that isn’t always encouraged, especially as a minority in the classroom.

Building such creative habits also prompts students to learn openly, a path toward facing conflicts and challenges strategically — they’re everyday tools that a regular classroom doesn’t always organically provide to students of color.

Need we go on? Okay, we will!

Help KairosPDX reach their minimum 10K goal (since we’ll match them up to specific amount) then get ready for some big perks. Giving a minimum of $10 to the non-profit opens up a huge list of big prizes (check ‘em out here). We hope you’ll join us in giving, to help the far-reaching impact of Kairos and the young lives they’re helping to shape.


Posted on November 15, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset.

Can’t Quit the Hustle, the Man Mentoring Through Music and Sports

 Marmoset’s Music Licensing Coordinator, Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)

Marmoset’s Music Licensing Coordinator, Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)

Mike Riggins is the type of person who embodies the epitome of giving; he’s the type of person who naturally finds ways to contribute to any situation, whether it be offering up a personal story, sharing his favorite bundt cake recipe, or mentoring kids. There’s no limit to Mike’s genuine willingness to do and give more.

A Music Licensing Coordinator on Marmoset’s Creative Licensing Team, Mike approaches his work like he does his life, aiming to offer up more than what he did yesterday. It’s not that he’s striving for perfection but rather recognizes the importance in the willingness to change for the better — then pass what he’s learned along.

“One thing I’ve told my players and the kids I mentor is, me as a person, Michael Isiah Riggins, when I wake up every day I have two goals: I want to be a better person than I was yesterday — and truthfully I’m just not going to all the time,” Mike laughs. “It is what it is sometimes. And my other goal is that when I leave this world I want to leave have given more. It’s great to get all the acknowledgments and all that but it feels so much better to give.”

It’s one the many reasons Marmoset is lucky to have Mike onboard, adding to the layers of community Marmoset upholds through their own initiatives and purpose. For many there’s a loss of perspective when it comes to gaining or “getting ahead” through our experiences — Western society constructing an ecosystem where placing one’s career before one’s health or loved ones is the norm. In breaking this kind of self absorption, Mike takes pride in what he does outside of his career, the reward being in itself the very act of giving.

“I leave the office here at 4:30pm, go to football practice, might not get home until 9 o'clock, get back up at 6am and it might be tiring but at the same time when I get to the field, change clothes and see the kids, you think here we go,” Mike says. “You get that excitement in you because I get an opportunity to coach football, a sport I love, but also have an impact on these kids’ lives. Which is just dope.”

 Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)

Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)

Working with high school kids, Mike instills words of encouragement that reach further than sports; for him it’s prompting youth to go beyond surface level success, to stay sharp, educated and striving to be well rounded in skills apart from athleticism.

“The biggest thing is you’re a student athlete, student being the first word, that’s your grind. Then when it comes to practice, it’s time to hustle, you put on a new hat. You got to put it altogether, you got to work. You got to go to weight training, you got to show up for conditioning. You put in all this work, how does it translate? Well, they got their first win in three years, we scored 60 plus points in a game this year, we were half a game out of playoffs for a team that was not expected to be in the playoff conversation. This is what I mean when I say this being a way of life.”

The emphasis on education comes second nature to Mike, being a mentor to his peers starting when he was only in high school. Family being the epicenter of his life, Mike grew up as an only child, catapulting him to seek out quality relationships outside the home. The natural fostering of friendships is perhaps why so many gravitate to Mike, an explanation why those around him open up or seek him out as that friend who’s always willing to dish out much needed advice.

The ironic thing about Mike’s can do and optimistic perspective is how he often takes heavy situations and uproots the good from them. After injuring himself playing football in high school, Mike took that time to explore other areas of interest, finding a passion for music management and starting his own company, High Performance World Wide. It’s one of his many side hustles where he pours his energy in helping artists throughout the community.

Whether talking to artists or the football players he coaches, there’s the underlining principle to strive for more than just that one goal — to not simply aspire for fame or superficial accolades but to always look ahead, to seek out things of substance.

“The thing I love about coaching is helping develop young men to be men. I coach defensive line, so I have four seniors. At the last game, my last message to them was ‘the music fades and when you’re just sitting there, who are you as a man — where are you going next?’ It’s not about the football, it’s about the stuff you do outside of it.”

 Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)

Mike Riggins (photo credit: Kale Chesney)


Read more about the people working behind the scenes at Marmoset.

Posted on November 9, 2018 and filed under Community, Music, Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset.

Voting Isn’t Hard, Sandwich Video Shows How to Do It

Go vote is the emboldened statement echoing across the internet stratosphere, it’s the number one responsibility and civic duty on everyone’s plates this November. And for a good reason.

With 15 million Americans abstaining from casting their ballots in 2016, this year is serving as a wake up call to stop waiting for change to happen whilst sitting on the sidelines. The mentality that voting “doesn't matter” is beyond faulty and even detrimental to us as a society — the perception can be harmful especially to young voters who already feel pushed aside or underrepresented within the vastness of our political climate.

Seeing such drastic voting abstinence is being addressed and tackled from all sides of the spectrum by filmmakers, musicians, artists alike. It’s a push to remember that voting is not only a great privilege but that yes, every vote matters.

It’s one of the reasons Adam Lisagor, founder of Sandwich Video set out to create “How to Vote” — the premise being simple: voting isn’t hard, don’t get psyched out and not even make an attempt. In addressing those who believe their vote doesn’t matter, Lisagor comments on the ineffectualness of perceiving voting like a test; because frankly it’s just not.

“You probably think you have to know more than you do, you probably even think you can’t bring any materials with you when you vote, but you’re wrong,” says Lisagor. “It’s super easy, assuming you have access to the polls and aren’t in one of the places in this country where people are routinely disenfranchised due to lack of transportation or prohibitive ID restrictions. So if you get past that hurdle, it’s super easy to vote.”

The obstacles Lisagor brings to light are key to comprehend but not to allow for dissuasion. While roadblocking circumstances can’t always be entirely avoided, voters can take preemptive measure on their end to be as prepared as possible. Again, we revisit the recurring theme of trying is better than doing nothing.

 “How to Vote” project by Sandwich Video

“How to Vote” project by Sandwich Video

“To say that voting doesn’t matter is to say that you are not only 100% cool with every decision that the rich and powerful make for you but that you are cool with having no power,” says Lisagor. “Because voting is the only power you do actually have to make change.”

Such sentiments are mirrored throughout the “How to Vote” project, comedian Demi Adejuyigbe delivering the tutorial in the kind of way an old buddy would offer up some sage advice. Much like their other work, Sandwich Video masterfully uses humor as a vessel for talking politics — a method that portrays voting in a not so arduous light after all.

The video features "Grab Two" by Marmoset artist Danca. With its upbeat, bouncy qualities, the song offers just the right amount of lightheartedness to accompany the video’s pertinent message.

“To me, the music in a video or commercial is a character in the story,” says Lisagor. “So I always pick out music that helps reflect the other characters in the story, and reflects the tone of the piece, and helps move the story along. I knew I wanted a fun and slightly funky breakbeat with some unique instruments to break the video out of the mold of the expected.”

Jenny Panush, Sandwich Video’s editorial assistant scoured the Marmoset artist roster and knew “Grab Two” would hit on all the emotive measures the team was seeking out.

“Adam had a good idea of what type of song to look for, so I was searching for something with a solid beat and a sense of humor,” says Panush. “The mood and genre filters enabled me to narrow down the library and then it was just a lot of listening. I pulled a few songs and “Grab Two” stood out among the rest. It’s a little funky, a little quirky and doesn’t distract from the dialogue.”

In its entirety, “How to Vote” is the embodiment of taking ownership, to not allowing unfamiliarity or discouragement to get the better of us. The video is a confident booster and just what this generation of voters needs to celebrate the power, privilege, and impact voting carries.

“It can be really easy to feel powerless. Especially for younger folks who are inheriting the world, it's a lot and it's overwhelming,” says Panush. “Maybe they think their voice won't be heard, that one vote can't make a difference, but it can.”

Posted on November 6, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music, Spotlight: Marmoset.

Always the Season for Giving

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While hearts tend to be a little bit warmer/bigger as days get checked off on the advent calendar, it never hurts to step up the game or go the extra mile in terms of giving back — to challenge ourselves in doing more than what’s expected of us. More than being a creative agency, Marmoset is a community of artists who love music as much as partnering with causes and organizations we believe in.

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Whether a holiday season or “off season,” Marmoset donates 10% of its gross revenue to non-profit organizations every month; it’s one of the many ways we stay in tune with our community and extend our support to causes in need. In our effort to really go a bit further this year, we’re partnering up with KairosPDX, an acclaimed Portland-based charter school that provides empowering education methods to the community.

On November 1st, head over to the official Willamette Give!Guide site and explore 150 handpicked non-profits participating this year. While giving itself is a reward that needs no further enticement, Give!Guide does in fact dish out real incentives — those donating can receive steals and deals at popular and local businesses for their good deeds. This kind of reward sticks true to the Give!Guide spirit, creating the perfect storm for harmonious support of local business consumerism.

With “education” being a key category for Give!Guide, KairosPDX will be featured among other noteworthy non-profits and organizations. So where does Marmoset come in?

Marmoset will match all of KairosPDX’s earned donations up to $10,000.

The Marmoset match donation is just beginning and we’re doing whatever it takes to extend support as they lead the way in Portland’s education system. KairosPDX’s mission is as unique as it is essential for our ever-changing communities, yes they’re focusing on access to better education but it’s who they’re including that is most essential to acknowledge.

Marmoset Kairos Partnership Education Music

Minding the existence of achievement gaps for African American and other children of color, KairosPDX addresses these type of issues head on. Every day, the institution manifests an enriching ecosystem where students can learn and grow in ways traditional public school settings might not offer — objectives like aiding students to think beyond their circumstances enables children to aspire for more, to realize their worth and recognize the importance of their ideas and purpose.

Among its outstanding qualities, KairosPDX still continually faces obstacles like renewing their lease for their North Portland location or even just providing students with a means of simply getting to school; they’re currently obtaining a school bus for families who can no longer afford living in the increasingly gentrified North Portland neighborhood.

It’s no surprise that as the organization grows and expands, so do their needs.

So with our own commitment to match all donations up to 10K, we’re inviting our community to come along with us. Starting November 1st, we’re challenging our readers and community to go that extra mile — while we’re partnering with KairosPDX, we encourage donating to any of organization or cause that inspires you.


Not sure where to start? The Give!Guide homepage provides a breakdown of all the listed non-profits, from environment centered initiatives to creative expression. Have a story about giving back that you’d like to share or have a non-profit in mind you think Marmoset should know about? Get in touch with us, we’d love to hear more.

Posted on October 26, 2018 and filed under Community, Spotlight: Marmoset.

Light The Night Walk Is Just Around the Corner

Finding even a little bit of light in the dark can be enough to get someone through the most challenging of moments. It’s something the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society recognizes too, hosting the Light The Night every year — and this week, on the night of October 27th the walk will be held in Portland, Oregon.

If not familiar with Light The Night, it’s an essential fundraising event for the LLS, helping the organization fund around 300 active cancer research projects, along with helping more than 55,000 patients on the journey of affording treatment. In preparation of the big night, private assembled and corporate teams are calling on friends, family and supporters to donate to the cause.

Of course Team Marmoset is hitting the pavement on the upcoming rainy evening of October 27th, walking hand in hand with the rest of the community. Just like in the startup days, Marmoset knows how to get crafty, raising funds for the team by throwing a Flapjack + Mimosa Palooza at their headquarters. With flapjacks and champagne corks flying through the air and of course, music being provided by an in-house DJ, the Marmoset Team aims big to get their team funded.

And of course, our team would love to grow — want to participate in the walk? Sign up and join Team Marmoset here. Can’t participate but would like to donate to the team (donations go straight to the LLS) — click here.

Marmoset Music

Posted on October 26, 2018 and filed under Community, Music.

A Tech Guru Who Gives Back

  Marmoset Tech Team’s Software Engineer, Nichole Mitch Barrett

Marmoset Tech Team’s Software Engineer, Nichole Mitch Barrett

Sometimes the hardest working people are the those operating behind the scenes. They’re the ones always taking on more: from classes to training workshops atop an already 40+ hour work week, always putting in extra time to grow in their personal development. But as they climb, it doesn’t stop with their own growth — they want to bring others up with them.

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This kind of diligence to others is a quality Nichole Mitch Barrett demonstrates on the daily. She’s a champion do-gooder genuinely put in practice for the right reasons and never for shiny, weighty accolades. As a member of Marmoset’s onsite Tech Team, the 30 year old developer has come a long way in advancing her skills as a tech expert. After attending the Art Institute to originally study Graphic Design, it would be a happy accident in her education journey when she discovered a truer passion.

“I realized I had no design skill whatsoever,” says Nichole. “But part of the design curriculum was HTML and I happened to be really good at that.”

With a natural affinity toward coding, in 2009 Nichole began tutoring her classmates on subjects like CSS and HTML. The following year, Nichole started co-running a workshop to help peers build their websites, walking them through the more technical and complicated side of design. This was as much of a signifier to depart from her current program, as much as it was to begin giving back as a tutor.

Apart from naturally grasping programming, the overall draw to helping others was the connection itself. Tracing back Nichole’s exposure to the world of philanthropy, when she was just a kid her stepmom (the associate director of Office Student Education Services at Marquette University) would facilitate a tutoring program for youth. This kind of setting really does instill a sense of community, strengthening a focus immersive in problem solving together.

“In the start of the school year, they would set up all the tutors and assign who’s going to be in which groups,” Nichole recalls. “It was this whole day marathon where they’d serve meals; I had been going to that since I was about 10 years old. I would help with it every year, so I think I’ve always been around this kind of thing, always thinking how those people were cool.”

After completing an internship at Instrument, Nichole began working as a software developer for several years, eventually joining Marmoset’s Tech Team. While at the company, Nichole began the second leg of a prestigious Practical Object-Oriented Design Course, something she completed in October of 2018.

With years of developer experience beneath her belt, Nichole dishes back to the community through an ongoing event Ask a Dev — a free mentorship program that’s held on an international level. The site lays it out in the open, this is an initiative for people who probably don’t have the right resources available to pursue programming or just maybe even just need a a little guidance. The wheels are also in motion for her to begin mentoring for Women in Tech, a program where she’ll get to work one-on-one with her protégé.

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“The tech industry is a large ecosystem, we’re all programmers but we all have different sets of expertise and come from different fields,” says Nichole. “The best way to really learn your craft is by teaching other people, because people ask the most off the wall, the most left-field questions. And so you really have to think why or how, what — think about it and explain it in a way that will make sense to them.”

This outlook and understanding of there being so many different opportunities to lend support is what Nichole intuitively knows; it’s perception that invalidates the creeping question of how does this person make time, allowing the value of giving back to really sink in. It’s a continuous circle where contribution offers great return to the giver too.

“Everybody learns differently, everybody thinks differently,” says Nichole. “And yeah, sometimes it’s intimidating because even now I’ll go to Ask a Dev and be like, I’m not feeling very smart today, I hope no one asks me a question that I don’t know. But I think that’s some of the most rewarding times when someone asks a really hard question that maybe you don’t solve it for them but you can point them off in the right direction.”


Individuals like Nichole keep Marmoset running while also inspiring us to seek more ways of actively offering a helping hand within our communities. This mission to give back has and always will be an integral thread woven throughout Marmoset’s purpose and vision — in the next few months we’ll be highlighting more opportunities for artists, clients, and music lovers to join us in our upcoming community focused endeavors.

Posted on October 19, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset.