June 15, 2018

Evolution, growth and transition

In the gymnasium at Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), two grantseekers greet and shake hands during a 2018 funding information session for Meyer’s Annual Funding Opportunity.

Evolution. Growth. Reflection. Change. These themes have been front and center at Meyer over the past several years.

I am so grateful, as Meyer's director of programs, to have been a part of creating the Meyer we have become. I have also appreciated the opportunity to work in collaboration with such an amazing group of leaders across our board, staff and partners.

It is truly a gift to work in an organization with values that resonate so deeply with my own and, as a place-based foundation, to help to strengthen communities that I am part of and love.

A time for reflection

I'm approaching my 11th year at Meyer. As many of you know, I have been reflecting on what's next for me for my own personal evolution and growth.

Earlier this spring, I shared with our board, staff and a few close partners my intention to transition from my role at Meyer later this year to explore new ways of working with philanthropy and nonprofits. I feel the call to find new opportunities where I can contribute and find joy.

In sharing my plans, I was also clear in my commitment to a thoughtful and measured transition to support Meyer and our partners through Meyer's transition in CEOs and to provide stability and continuity through our 2018 funding opportunities.

With our new CEO, Michelle J. DePass, now in place and our 2018 funding opportunities well underway, I want to share my news more broadly with all of you.

Transition timing

So what happens next? I will continue as the director of programs at Meyer into early August and will then transition to a part-time consulting role with Meyer into the fall.

We anticipate that recruitment for my replacement will begin later this summer, with the goal of bringing the new director of programs onboard in October. We'll be keeping you well informed of the hiring process and timing along the way, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

During this transition, Meyer will remain committed to its current funding plans, and I am excited to watch as it continues in its evolution.

Celebrating the evolution of Meyer's programs

People have asked me what I am particularly proud of in my tenure at Meyer as director of programs. That's a big question! But in short:

  • The ways in which we continuously listen to, partner with and learn from nonprofits in our community. From the community-driven refresh of our Affordable Housing Initiative to the nonprofit surveys, expert interviews and community listening sessions that helped to create our new portfolios to regularly improving our work in response to your feedback – being engaged with and responsive to community is now deep in Meyer's bones.
  • Centering equity in our programs. We have strategically restructured our funding priorities and the way we work to center equity and marginalized people and communities. This work has fundamentally changed our lens, decision-making, funding, relationships with the field and each and every one of us, personally.
  • Prioritizing policy advocacy and systems change. We've shifted who and how we fund to support communities in creating new solutions, changing harmful policies and protecting policies that support equity. It's challenged us and our partners to take a hard look at the systemic drivers that maintain the inequities at the core of the problems we wish to solve.
  • Partnering with our peer funders to better support the field and strengthen community. You've seen many examples in the past few years such as our engagement in the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative. We are supporting capacity of the Pride Foundation and Women's Foundation of Oregon for their respective work to raise the voices of the LGBTQ community and marginalized women. We are partners with Philanthropy Northwest in the launch of the Momentum Fellowship program. And we are a cornerstone investor in the Oregon Impact Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation.


    These are just a few of the ways we are partnering with our amazing philanthropic colleagues in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

  • Innovating to be more nimble, proactive and responsive. You've seen it in the new ways we have provided rapid funding in the face of attacks on civil liberties; responded to community crises; supported organizations through leadership changes, organizational challenges and mergers; and convened around important and timely issues.
  • Restructuring our program team to distribute leadership. In forming our new portfolio teams, we intentionally created roles and spaces that distribute leadership in new ways and provide opportunities for colleagues to more fully contribute their diversity of experiences, talents and aspirations – our team is truly a special and talented group of people!

Those are some of the strategic advancements we have made together during my time at Meyer. I am honored to have journeyed alongside this amazing team of staff members, trustees and community partners and humbled to have played a key role in putting strong, strategic scaffolding in place that will support continuity of Meyer's mission and vision of equity well into the future.

Our accomplishments provide an extraordinary platform for the next director of programs to partner with Meyer's executive team to influence future programmatic work and collaborate with Oregon communities to push Meyer's impact even further.

You have been and will no doubt continue to be a big part of charting Meyer's path and our collective success.

Gratitude

It has truly been an honor, a privilege and humbling to work with so many people every day who are deeply committed to the communities and places that make our Oregon home. Thank you again for your support and partnership over the past decade. It has been inspiring and so personally meaningful to me. I have learned so much. Now, I am excited about what's next on my professional path, and I look forward to continuing our relationships and work together in new ways.

Let's stay connected.

With gratitude,

– Candy


Candy Solovjovs has served Meyer Memorial Trust since November 28, 2007. She will step down as director of programs on August 3, 2018, after leading Meyer's programs for 11 years. If you'd like to stay connected with Candy, email candy [at] mmt.org or follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.