November 16, 2017

Deep educational investments across Oregon

Ten months after Meyer launched the Equitable Education portfolio, the first Annual Funding Opportunity has concluded, offering 49 grants across Oregon, totalling more than $7.2 million over three years.

The education portfolio began with the vision that all students have an opportunity to access meaningful public education. We sought to invest in inclusive opportunities designed to afford Oregon students the chance to realize their goals of increased academic achievement and remove disparities at all levels of the education continuum, from students entering kindergarten ready to succeed to planning for post-secondary and career success.

In service to this vision, we focused on three key goals:

  • Building a unified movement to advance equitable education.

  • Creating systems- and policy-level impact.

  • Improving student achievement and college and career readiness.

Out of 167 competitive applications, we invited 57 nonprofits to submit full proposals. You’ll find the full list of Equitable Education 2017 Annual Funding Opportunity grantees here.

Our new grantees reflect a mix of rural and urban organizations offering a vision and approach to directly address educational disparities so that all students in Oregon have the opportunity to obtain a meaningful public education. Of crucial importance is their collective belief that for Oregon to flourish, each student — regardless of race, ethnicity, family income, geography, disability or language — must have the opportunity to succeed in school.

Among the education grantees in the 2017 Annual Funding Opportunity, a few key themes emerged.

A number of grantees will demonstrate their commitment to mobilize individuals and organizations toward a common movement to advance equitable education. UniteOregon and Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, for example, will leverage their relationships and community credibility to mobilize the power and potential of students, families, communities and organizations toward unified action, meaningful change and education opportunity for all.

Other grantees will bring their experience to the systems and policy area. KairosPDX, Better Together Central Oregon and Douglas Education Service District all recognize that in order for education equity to be take hold, Oregon’s leadership, priorities and policies must better reflect the diversity of needs and the rich array of cultures and traditions of Oregonians.

Acknowledging the need to balance long-term system and policy impact with the urgency to address and improve achievement and college and career readiness for today’s students, groups such as Building Healthy Families, Central Oregon Community College and Southern Oregon Child and Family Council will focus their efforts on key transitional moments to boost student readiness and/or achievement. Additionally, organizations such as Building Blocks to Success, REAP and Hood River County School District committed to expanding programs that strategically target priority populations while introducing innovative solutions to address persistent and deeply rooted barriers to student success.

The Equitable Education portfolio team is grateful for the time and thoughtful intention of our applicants throughout this process. Like you, we believe that to advance change in both institutions and outcomes, we must challenge mainstream assumptions and practices, focusing on the needs of students most affected by educational disparities. While doing so, we reaffirm our collective commitment to meaningful public education for all. Thank you for joining us in taking another step toward our new, shared vision for equitable education in Oregon.

Matt