July 20, 2018

May, June grants total $1.87 million

We kicked off summer with enthusiasm here at Meyer! We want to share some highlights with you.

Grant Awards: 42 Grants Totaling $1.87 Million

Our support as part of the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative continues. In May and June, Meyer invested $380,000 to organizations addressing important and time-sensitive issues experienced by immigrants and refugees. Grants included:

  • $100,000 to Innovation Law Lab to provide legal counsel and representation, advocacy and litigation surrounding the detention of immigrants at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon.
  • $100,000 to Immigration Counseling Service to deliver legal services to underserved immigrant groups who are rural residents, unaccompanied minors, trafficking victims and/or LGBTQ immigrants.
  • $100,000 to prevent and confront efforts to deport Oregonians through free legal services.
  • $50,000 to Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon to assist with the full integration of refugees into our communities.
  • $30,000 to Mano a Mano to provide wraparound support services to impacted immigrant families.

The Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative, which is a partnership among Meyer, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Collins Foundation, MRG Foundation and Pride Foundation, continues to accept applications. You can learn more and apply here.

We also made a grant of $185,000 to support Western States Center as it launches a project to prevent the advance of white nationalism in Oregon communities by bringing new voices and institutions into the anti-hate field.

Other May and June awards included 12 grants across our portfolios to support organizations as they engage in diversity, equity and inclusion training and planning. MountainStar Family Relief Nursery in central Oregon, Immigration Counseling Services in the Columbia River Gorge, and a cohort of Willamette River Initiative (WRI) grantees are among the organizations Meyer is supporting as they work to embed DEI within their organizations and in their service to community.

Neighborhood Partnerships, an organization working statewide to help Oregonians achieve housing stability and build financial security, received funding through our Housing Opportunities portfolio. This grant support will assist this cornerstone organization to build on its success, diversify voices, broaden and train a leadership base, and maintain the momentum of the Oregon Housing Alliance. Coupled with other Housing Opportunities grants, the portfolio made awards totaling over $540,000.

Six grants totalling $443,615 were made through our Willamette River Initiative in support of the Willamette model watershed program, which focuses on building capacity for high-impact watershed restoration in seven key Willamette River tributaries. Speaking of the Willamette River Initiative, be sure to check out WRI's new website to learn more about the successes of this 10-year initiative to improve the health of the Willamette River and the way the initiative is evolving to become a community-led network.

Other Healthy Environment portfolio grants included support to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, Africa House to create a film about the Afro-Ecology Movement Plan and to share it with Portland-area African immigrant and African American communities, and funding for Verde and Tualatin Riverkeepers.

Other highlights include continued support for the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy (NCRP), an organization that pushes philanthropy to do more for those who are marginalized, underserved and disenfranchised. If you haven't seen it, you'll want to check out NCRP's new Power Moves initiative designed to help philanthropy explore how well they are building, wielding and sharing power.

And here is a save the date you won't want to miss. Meyer is pleased to support Literary Arts in bringing DeRay Mckesson, civil rights leader and host of Pod Save the People, to Portland on September 20. You can find out more about DeRay and how to get your tickets here.

See a full list of our May and June grants here.

2018 Annual Funding Opportunity: 202 Applicants Under Consideration

Wow! We had a strong response to our 2018 Annual Funding Opportunity, receiving 630 initial applications requesting over $74 million. More than half of the requests were made to our Building Community portfolio with the remaining spread across our Equitable Education, Healthy Environment and Housing Opportunities portfolios.

Absolutely amazing work is moving us closer to an Oregon where every person and community can truly thrive. This made for some tough decisions! In mid-June, we invited 202 applications to continue the process. These include requests that would benefit every region of Oregon, with nearly half specifically benefitting rural communities. Almost 20 percent are from organizations that have never before received a Meyer grant.

Our program team folks are now out in the community visiting with applicants to learn more about their opportunities, plans and needs. We look forward to sharing the awards after they are made this fall.

Whether your organization was invited to move forward this time or not, please know how much we value the important contributions you are making in Oregon communities. We also hope all of you will respond to the applicant feedback survey you recently received to help us understand how we can serve you better. And if you were not invited to move forward, please don't hesitate to contact us for a conversation and feedback.

We so appreciate the many opportunities to partner with nonprofits, tribes and public agencies across the state. We are truly grateful to all the organizations doing important work in and for our communities.

Affordable Housing Initiative: Requests for Proposals

Our focused support for affordable housing solutions continues this summer with two requests for proposals.

The first RFP focuses on opportunities that will increase low-income renters' access to and retention of quality private market housing units in communities of their choice. The application period closed in mid-July, and applications are now being reviewed. Look for an awards announcement in the fall.

We are now accepting applications through August 14 for the second RFP — an innovative 1 Million Month Challenge through which Meyer will select a small number of teams to develop innovative approaches to address Oregon's housing affordability problem. Read more about this challenge in my colleague Michael Parkhurst's blog and take a look at the RFP here.

Convening

We have appreciated the opportunities we've had to learn together with nonprofits and our peer regional funders over these past few months. Our Housing Opportunities team brought together grantees in several rural communities and the Center for Equity and Inclusion to dig into diversity, equity and inclusion and to explore ways to advance DEI through the work that they do. They also brought Affordable Housing grantees together to learn from each other about the costs and decision points in preserving current affordable housing portfolios. Healthy Environment grantees have formed a peer DEI learning collaborative, with support from The Raben Group, and Willamette River Initiative grantees have continued their DEI training and convening with the Center for Diversity and the Environment. Thanks to everyone who is engaging in this work with us.

We were also excited to bring organizations funded through our leadership development and capacity builder learning communities together with leaders of the Luminare Group to explore how evaluations can be designed and implemented to meaningfully advance equity, further nonprofit and foundation missions, and build organizations and communities. As a bonus, Meyer partnered with Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington to host a similar conversation with Luminare Group and Oregon funders. Curious about equity and evaluation? You can learn more about this emerging work on the Equitable Evaluation website.

Community

As always, we strive to be out in the community and to engage with folks outside Meyer's walls. From participating in regional summits like the OSU LatinX Summit to networking at conferences like Regards to Rural and the Oregon Nonprofit Leaders Conference to community visits in Warm Springs, Ontario, Medford, Hood River, Bend and La Pine — it is a privilege to partner and learn with you to improve this place we call home.

The time I have spent with so many of you this spring and summer have been especially meaningful as I close out my last days as Meyer's director of programs. I can't thank you enough for the warm welcomes, kind wishes and generous partnerships over these past few months.

I'm so looking forward to seeing what's next for us all.

Happy trails,

–– Candy