Iris Bell

Interim CEO of Black Parent Initiative

P: (503) 284-8000


Iris M. DeGruy Bell has been Interim CEO of the Black Parent Initiative since 2017. She has served in this capacity in order to help support and preserve much needed parent resources in African American/African/Black and Multi-Ethnic communities of the Portland Metropolitan Area of Portland, Oregon. She is overseeing the daily operations of the organization until a permanent CEO is identified.

Ms. DeGruy-Bell also served as the Executive Director of the Oregon Youth Development Council (OYDC) from its inception in 2012 until her retirement from government service in 2017. Appointed by Oregon Governor John A. Kitzhaber, M.D., and re-Appointed by Governor Kate Brown, she served as the Council’s Chief Administrator. 

The Youth Development Council (YDC), part of the Governor’s Education Cabinet, was created to support Oregon’s education system by developing state policy and administering funding to community and school-based youth development programs, services, and initiatives for youth ages 6-24. The Council ensures implementation of best practices that are evidence based; are culturally, gender and age appropriate and builds upon factors that improve the health and well-being of children and youth; and includes tribal best practices. 

Prior to her work in state government, Ms. DeGruy-Bell served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Multnomah County. As COO, Ms. DeGruy- Bell oversaw the daily operations of Oregon’s largest County and managed a budget of 1.1 billion dollars.

Ms. DeGruy-Bell currently serves as the current Chair of the Board of the Association for Human Advancement and Development (AHAD).

The Mission of the Association for Human Advancement and Development is to foster education, development, training and technical assistance to communities in the areas of:

  • Education

  • Social and Economic Development

  • Community Service, and 

  • Conflict Resolution & Mediation through the use of the principles of Consultation found in Baha’i Writings.


Underlying all of these activities is the intention to promote the oneness of mankind which is the operative principle and ultimate goal of every AHAD activity. Also implicit in these activities is the dynamic coherence of the spiritual and practical requirement of life and the acceptance of the interdependence of the material and the spiritual elements in the struggle for sustainable development and human achievement.                


Ms. DeGruy-Bell has expertise and experience in management principles and methodologies supporting the development and implementation of service programs for federal, state and local government, and has extensive background working with foundations and non-governmental organizations. 

Ms. Bell holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Master’s Degree in Government with an emphasis on Public Policy Studies from the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University.

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"Through my life experiences, I try to exemplify what it means to be not only physically healthy, but also financially healthy.   Economic stability is a motivator to many families and I want direct my passion to helping others achieve it!"

2915 NE Martin Luther King Blvd,

Portland OR 97212


Phone: (503) 284-8000

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