$3.1 million to build connections, support communities and foster an Oregon where we all thrive

As Meyer closed out the last two months of 2017, we awarded more than $3.1 million for work that supports our communities, builds connections and helps create a place where all Oregonians can thrive. I’m delighted to share our latest awards made through funder partnerships and requests for proposals and in response to emerging needs. Here are a few highlights:

Partnering with Pride

We are so pleased to partner with regional grantmaker Pride Foundation to expand opportunities and advance full equality for LGBTQ people in Oregon. As part of our commitment to supporting LGBTQ Oregonians, we are investing $225,000 to support Pride Foundation as it builds its capacity and increases community financial support for its Oregon work and integrates racial equity throughout its organization. As you can see from its recent Oregon grant awards, Pride is making important investments to build lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer support and community across our state. We hope Meyer’s investment inspires others to provide philanthropic support and help to create an Oregon where all LGBTQ people are valued, safe and supported. Our colleague Katie Carter, director of strategic priorities at Pride Foundation, shares more about Pride’s work and our partnership here.  

Forest fires in rural Oregon

The summer forest fires devastated our neighbors in several rural Oregon communities. We made an earlier award to Crag Law Center to support public engagement in environmental recovery efforts. Now, with grants to Gorge Grown ($25,000) and the Humboldt Community Foundation ($20,000), Meyer continues our support for disaster relief, recovery and preparedness planning in Columbia River Gorge and Curry County communities impacted by the Eagle Creek and Chetco Bar fires.

Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative

As the onslaught of harmful policies seeking to exclude and “other” immigrants and refugees continues, we want our immigrant and refugee families, friends and neighbors in Oregon to know their rights, feel valued and be surrounded and lifted up by supportive community. With our funder partners Collins Foundation, MRG Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation and Pride Foundation, we continue to support organizations addressing time-sensitive needs of immigrants and refugees. Our most recent grant to Bridging Cultures ($12,450) is expanding services for immigrants living in Canby who need legal information and support services regarding their residency status. You can learn more about the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative and how to apply here.

Aligning systems for housing stability

At Meyer, we know that we can’t achieve our mission of a flourishing and equitable Oregon until each of our residents has a safe and affordable place to call home. We also understand that the ability to successfully obtain and keep housing can be intertwined with many other challenges in a person’s life. And we know that outcomes improve for people who experience high barriers to housing when our systems work together to support them.

We are excited to announce eight multi-year grant awards totaling over $922,000 for projects across the state that work at the intersection of affordable housing and supportive services in systems such as criminal justice, health, mental illness, child welfare, domestic violence and addiction. My colleague Michael Parkhurst shares more about these inspiring Affordable Housing Initiative Systems Alignment grants in his recent blog.

Restoring the Willamette River

Our Willamette River Initiative (WRI) is grounded in the belief that the health of the Willamette River is intricately connected to the health of Oregon and Oregonians: our fish, forests, plants and wildlife, our drinking water, our farms, our cultures, our economy, our recreation, our spirituality.

Each year, as one of our priority strategies, WRI funds large-scale floodplain restoration projects along the mainstem Willamette River in partnership with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Bonneville Power Administration. In November, Meyer contributed to this partnership by awarding $482,487 in grants to Calapooia Watershed Council, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council and Willamette Riverkeeper for five important restoration projects that will support a healthier Willamette River and a healthier Oregon.  

Curious to learn more about what’s next for the Willamette River Initiative? My colleague Kelly House blogs about how WRI and its partners are planning for the next phase of work to build an inclusive, nimble and community-driven alliance of stakeholders to restore and protect our Willamette River. Read more here.

Supporting the arts

Art is a powerful way to build community. It gives voice and visibility to the diversity of experiences and stories and dreams of our people and communities, including those who may not otherwise be heard or seen. It broadens perspectives, moves the soul and feeds compassion, empathy and connections. It grounds us in our shared humanity.

Meyer continues our commitment to supporting arts and culture in Oregon with an eye toward the power of art to create and support community and social change. Historically, as one strand of Meyer’s investment in Oregon’s arts ecosystem, we have supported Portland’s five largest arts organizations — Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage, Portland Opera Association, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Oregon Symphony Association — through annual general operating support, working in partnership with other Oregon arts funders.

As we approach the final stages of restructuring our programs, we are winding down this strategy over the next two years, and going forward, we will invite these arts partners to apply through our portfolios alongside other arts organizations. As part of this planned transition, we are pleased to announce grants totaling $615,386 to support these organizations in both their current seasons and in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.

Portfolio awards

A number of additional portfolio awards support technical assistance for grantees seeking to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, navigating leadership transitions, building fundraising capacity and engaging community in public opinion research. A number of awards support planning, evaluation, training and convening. Others will support work important to our portfolios, such as strategies to improve priority students’ success in school.

You can see all of our November and December awards here.

Up next

In February, we will be announcing our final grants for this fiscal year. And stay tuned — our 2018 Annual Funding Opportunity is just around the bend! We will open for initial applications beginning March 15 with a deadline of April 18, and hope you will join us in March or April at an in-person or virtual outreach session. Our schedule is posted here.

Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you soon!

— Candy