Which heroes came forward when we shined our “MAF signal” into the sky, calling out to citizens who make Portland a better place to live with each selfless action they take? Read on to find out!

Tracy Dannen-Grace

“I get the privilege of being in charge of a huge philanthropic program and doing a lot of good work in the community,” Tracy Dannen-Grace says, somewhat downplaying her inner drive to do good as a byproduct of her career. Push a little deeper, and you quickly realize that there’s a reason Kaiser-Permanente Northwest made her Director of Community Partnerships and Philanthropy.

One day, while shopping for a fit band for her husband, she recognized the Nike sales clerk who was assisting her as a former Kaiser intern. That former scholarship recipient was blown away at being remembered, but quickly recovered and filled Dannen-Grace in on the struggles she was currently facing in dental school. The result? As her nominator says: “With her belief in me, I was able to again become an intern with Kaiser Permanente, leading me into a full-time job to help support myself as I went through the dental application process, as well as meeting amazing leaders through her connections. My life changed for the better with Tracy in my corner. I cannot wait to repay her for her time by paying it forward to my community. She inspires me every day!”

That two-time intern is now in her third year of dental school and, to borrow Kaiser’s signature verb, thriving. For her part, Dannen-Grace also seems to be right in her element. Ask her what she considers to be heroic, and she inadvertently describes herself when she responds, “Inspiring others to make change and to live to their full potential, mind, body and spirit.”

Story by Jake Ten Pas