October 2015 Awards Announced

Human Services and Social Benefit grants featured heavily in the October 2015 awards

At the October program meeting, Meyer Memorial Trust made 27 grants to more than $3.6 million to a variety of tax exempt organizations, for projects ranging from a child abuse prevention campaign in Clackamas County to a mid-career fellowship program aimed at increasing diversity in philanthropy. These grants bring the total awarded since Meyer began operating in 1982 to 8,963 awards totaling nearly $693 million.

A number of the awards stand out. A grant of $500,000 supports developing a 30,000-square foot building in Portland’s Lents neighborhood into an Asian health center with treatment rooms, and space for health education, exercise classes, a meal program and community events. A $150,000 grant supports a center committed to eliminating disparities, advancing equity and creating inclusive workplace cultures in community based organizations and foundations. And grants totaling more than $1.2 million support Portland’s large budget arts organizations, namely the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony Association, Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage and Portland Opera Association.

Eight awards were made under Meyer’s Affordable Housing Initiative, addressing challenges renters face accessing private market units. The grants – ranging from $50,000 for a landlord mitigation fund to help Latino families in Eastern Oregon, to $80,000 for a security deposit loan program aimed at rural renters in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties – expand low-income renters’ access to safe, decent, affordable housing through existing private market units.

Meyer Memorial Trust, established in 1982, is one of the largest private foundations in Oregon, with current assets of roughly $718 million. Over its lifetime, Meyer has awarded grants and PRIs to 3,177 organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Meyer funds ongoing initiatives related to affordable housing and the Willamette River, to support large arts organizations through a partnership with other large regional grantmakers, and to buttress education policy, research and engagement by the Chalkboard Project. Meyer no longer accepts grant requests for work done out outside of Oregon.

We remain on track to announce the outline of Meyer’s general funding strategies and direction overarching framework for our new programs in December. Look for additional information, including details, application criteria and timelines to be announced early in the new year and the first opportunity to apply for housing, environment and resilient social sector grants under our new programs late in the first quarter of 2016. Our education portfolio is expected to roll out a bit later due to the sequencing of the work.

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees, which includes Debbie Craig, John Emrick, George Puentes and Charles Wilhoite.

A glimpse at the October awards

Eleven grants, totaling just over $1 million, and representing 41 percent of all Meyer funding awarded this month, fall under the category of human services: Those include a grant of $120,000 to support Hearts With A Mission, a new transitional housing program for older homeless youth in Jackson and Josephine counties, and a grant of $130,000 to help prevent the displacement of African-American seniors from gentrifying Portland neighborhoods.

One grant, totaling $500,000, is health-related. This capital grant to the Asian Health and Service Center will help permanently house culturally specific services for the Asian and Pacific Islander community, including new programs around cancer support, leadership development, and in-home care for elders and people with disabilities.

Seven arts and culture grants, equal to 26 percent of the October awards, total $1.3 million.One of the grants, for $340,000, supports the Oregon Symphony during its 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. A $100,000 grant supports efforts by Portland Center Stage to build and diversify audiences.

And eight grants, totaling nearly $740,000, for 30 percent of this award batch, focus on social benefit. That includes four grants totaling $559,000 to support Philanthropy Northwest’s Momentum Fellowship Program, a program designed to prepare professionals from under-represented communities, particularly communities of color, for successful careers in the philanthropic sector through networking, mentoring and professional development, and a $25,000 emergency grant to Greater Douglas United Way, which is providing support to victims, relatives and community-wide healing efforts in the wake of a significant community event in Roseburg.

October grants

Download the October 2015 awards by county area HERE>>

Download the October 2015 awards by focus area HERE>>