Photo caption: During a 2017 Leadership Development and Learning Collaborative cohort convening, Meyer grantees were asked "What makes you do this work?" One grantee responded: to build power and change our reality.

Our vision for building community

The Building Community portfolio envisions a community based on belonging and connection in which all Oregonians experience social, political and economic justice. We want to shape the way people conceive of “community” so that equity is seen as a common cause.1

We believe that moving toward this vision requires support for transformational change and an authentic reckoning with historical and current causes of disparities experienced by some populations in Oregon. It also means that we all share responsibility to dismantle those disparities, hold institutions and systems accountable, and challenge racism and other forms of oppression in our own practices and elsewhere.

In service of this vision the Building Community portfolio supports efforts to change systems and improve conditions for communities that have been — and still are — unseen, displaced or discriminated against. We invest first and foremost in work designed to benefit communities of color, Indigenous people and Tribes, and immigrants and refugees, particularly where they may experience intersecting oppressions such as related to gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, nationality or immigration status. We are grateful for Kimberlé Crenshaw’s framework of intersectionality, a theory that drives and inspires our work.

Our funding approach is grounded in the understanding that creating lasting change requires work that shifts the conditions keeping problems in place2 for communities of color, Indigenous people and Tribes, and immigrants and refugees including:

  • Shifts in policies, processes and resource flows
  • Shifts in relationships and power dynamics
  • Shifts in culture, narratives and mental models


To learn more about how we fund work at these levels, see our goals and outcomes.



  1. Our portfolio's vision is informed by the work of dr. john a. powell and the Othering and Belonging Institute 

  2. Ideas expressed here draw from a model presented by FSG in The Water of Systems Change