Alfred and Tillie Shemanski Testamentary Trust: Northwest Funders

OVERVIEW: The Alfred and Tillie Shemanski Testamentary Trust supports education, health, human services and religion in Seattle and the Puget Sound region of Washington.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, human services, religion

IP TAKE: This funder often supports the same large, established institutions for multiple grant cycles, but it also leaves room to support start-up groups in Seattle.

PROFILE: Established in 1974, the Alfred and Tillie Shemanski Testamentary Trust is a private foundation that focuses on Washington state. Alfred Shemanski was a Polish immigrant who came to Seattle with little formal education. He became a prominent Seattle businessman and philanthropist after establishing a clothing store that later became the Eastern Outfitting Company. Before his death in 1966, he served on the University of Washington Board of Regents and co-founded the Community Chest of Seattle. Bank of America’s Washington office now manages the trust. Grantmaking includes education, health, human services and religion.

This funder values education, religious respect and tolerance, caring for people in financial stress, and strengthening the Jewish community. Shemanski aims to make grants in line with its founder’s love of mankind. Shemanski grants improve the capacity and cooperation among Seattle’s Jewish congregations and support interfaith understanding. It also supports students with scholarships at Seattle University and the University of Washington. Finally, the trust promotes education, health and human service programs for local individuals and families who are economically disadvantaged. Past local grantees include the Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Salvation Army, Children’s Home of Seattle, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Seattle. Foundation grants go toward specific programs, start-up funding, and general operating support. However, it does not support fundraising events, sponsorships, individuals or political causes.

Foundation grants are often between $10,000 and $100,000 each. Learn more about this funder’s local giving by examining its recent tax records. Grantmaking prioritizes Seattle, but it supports other Puget Sound communities, as well. The funder makes grants for one-year periods.

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. The annual application deadline is September 15, and applicants can expect to hear back with a funding decision by mail. Grantseekers must use the Bank of America online system to apply for a grant. Direct general questions to the staff at or 206-358-0912.


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