Getting to Know the Autzen Foundation, a Longtime Funder of Portland Nonprofits



Portland is one of the top hubs for philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest, the home of many foundations. However, there are also some more under-the-radar foundations in town that specialize in keeping their grantmaking very local. One example is the Portland-based Autzen Foundation, which has been quietly supporting local nonprofits since 1951.

Here are three important things to know about this grantmaker.

Youth-Focused Organizations Are Favored

The Autzen Foundation approaches grantmaking somewhat broadly and funds everything from the arts to education, the environment, and social services efforts. However, youth-focused organizations seem to have an edge because this is where a significant portion of recent grants have been directed lately.

Grants typically come in the form of unrestricted operating support and range from $2,000 to $10,000 each. Recent youth-focused grantees include the Deschutes Children’s Foundation and the Gilbert House Children’s Museum.

There’s a Strong Portland Emphasis

This is the foundation of Thomas John Autzen, who found success in the plywood manufacturing business in the first half of the 20th century. He revolutionized the standard for wood-laminate milling and was a pioneer in the plywood production industry. His foundation is based in Portland and conducts the bulk of its grantmaking here. Portland grantees include Schoolhouse Supplies and Meals on Wheels.

However, the city of Eugene is also an interest, as the foundation gave sizable funds to help construct the Oregon Ducks football stadium here several decades ago. Other Oregon grantees are based in Bend, Forest Grove, Roseburg, and Hood River. In a recent year, the foundation reported over $9 million in total assets.

Grant Applications Are Awarded Three Times Per Year

Fortunately for Oregon grantseekers, the Autzen foundation is very willing to accept unsolicited requests for funding. In fact, the foundation accepts applications three times per year in March, August, and November. The online application portal opens up about two to three months before each submission deadline. All of Autzen’s application process is conducted online via its electronic grant management system.

Upon receipt, the foundation notifies applicants of its decisions within two to three months of the deadline dates. At this point, selected grant recipients will receive a grant agreement from the funder. Autzen’s executive grants administrator is also available for questions via phone and email.

For more details, Oregon-based nonprofits should check out the full profile of the Autzen Foundation in our Northwest funding guide. Here you can learn more about the founder, the key staff to know at this foundation, and which types of organizations see the most Autzen support.