Meyer + Equity

We see our role as working to dismantle barriers to equity and improve community conditions so that all Oregonians can reach their full potential.

Our goal is to identify and address systemic problems that act as barriers to the outcomes we seek to achieve in housing, education, the environment and by supporting the stability of nonprofits organizations doing the heavy lifting to make Oregon flourish for us all.

We believe that focusing on equity and investing in potential offers the best chance to realize our vision. It is now the foundational value in all that we do. Along the way, we’ll keep collaborating and listening. And because this is a shared journey, we never forget that each of us has to start someplace.

Read our full equity statement

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We’ve asked organizations to take a close look at themselves and the communities they serve. Here’s what we have learned about ourselves over the past three years.

Visit our demographics page for more details.








We’ve Grown + We’re Still Evolving

At Meyer, we look for motivated, team-oriented, community-driven individuals to join our ranks.

We are currently looking to hire a Program Associate for our Equitable Education portfolio. Learn more about the position via the linked PDF and apply soon: the deadline to apply is 5 p.m., Monday, October 3rd.

Meyer, the Man

Fred G. Meyer was a man ahead of his time. The values that guided him — to innovate, take risks, embrace diversity, adapt to changing circumstances, contribute to economic development and parity and to develop the power of the mind — continue to create and inform the culture of the Trust he established, influencing what we do and how we do it. He is the reason we are here.

Portland Fred Meyer Hollywood Store, 1934. Photo credit: Oregon Historical Society
Fred G. Meyer comes to Portland, Oregon and builds a door-to-door coffee business into a coffee retail outlet in a downtown street market.
Meyer’s business expands into the first “all package” grocery store, eventually combining supermart with drugstore, fine jewelers, home decor, home improvement, garden center, sporting goods, electronics, toys and clothing. The company grows over the next 60 years to become a chain of stores employing more than 13,000, with annual sales of more than $1 billion.
Fred G. Meyer dies, leaving $60 million for a charitable foundation with few mandates. “Realizing as I do the uncertainties of the future, I want my trustees to be able to exercise broad discretion in shaping and carrying out charitable programs which can be tailored to fit changing conditions and problems.”
The company is purchased by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, KKR, in one of its first leveraged buyouts. The value of Meyer’s stocks doubles.
Fred Meyer Charitable Trust is established with five trustees and about $120 million. The Trust represented over half of the foundation assets in Oregon and about a quarter of those in the Pacific Northwest.
In our first year of operation, Meyer awards more than $2.3 million in grants to 34 organizations, ranging from $4,000 for a family-centered therapy program at Infant Hearing Resource to $1,000,000 to help construct the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.
Meyer’s assets topped $222 million, and 91 awards totaled $7.4 million.
We change our name to Meyer Memorial Trust to make clear the foundation is not connected to Fred Meyer Inc., the commercial enterprise.
1,000th grant awarded.
Meyer Trust launches its first website, then a novelty among foundations.
3,500th grant awarded.
Retiring chief executive officer Charles Rooks described Meyer’s role in philanthropy: “The Trust hasn’t been a major player in terms of helping to develop policy and direction. We are not much involved in the discussions about what should be future goals or the planning of responses to emerging problems and things like that.”
Meyer discontinues publishing annual reports, shifting focus online.
We undergo our first full-fledged strategic redesign process, establishing initiatives in affordable housing and the health of the Willamette River.
With the economic downturn, Meyer focuses on the health of nonprofits struggling in the Great Recession, shelving the most ambitious aspects of its redesign.
Meyer becomes the first foundation to meet all the Foundation Center’s Glasspockets criteria for foundation transparency.
Meyer embarks on a second strategic redesign process and refines its definition of equity to mean “the existence of conditions where all people can reach their full potential.”
Meyer takes a “working hiatus,” continuing engaging and investing in efforts aligned with our current priorities while also planning for future programs. To date, Meyer has paid out nearly $692 million through more than 8,200 grants and program related investments.
Meyer resumes full program operations within three of its four portfolio areas: affordable housing, the environment and building community. Meyer’s education portfolio is set to launch later in the year.

Transparent Stewards

glasspockets-badge-185Since 2010, the first year that the Foundation Center began tracking accountability and transparency in foundations, Meyer Memorial Trust has worked hard to make sure our pockets are transparent online. The move to accountability and transparency is already changing philanthropy in fundamental ways and we are grateful to be a part of the trend.

Glass pockets

Glass Pockets is an initiative of the Foundation Center designed to promote online transparency and accountability among large private foundations.

Peek inside our Glass Pockets