OVERVIEW: This funder supports community development, education, the environment, and housing efforts that work toward a more equitable Oregon. It accepts grant applications each spring and through occasional RFPs.
IP TAKE: MMT’s equity approach provides a model for foundations nationwide and is something the funder takes very seriously. But with such broad portfolio topics, this is a grantmaker everyone in Oregon should know.
PROFILE: The Meyer Memorial Trust is based in Portland and committed to building an equitable Oregon. It seeks to invest “in change at the systemic level to ease inequities and disparities.” This foundation was established by Fred G. Meyer, who founded a chain of retail stores in the Pacific Northwest in 1982. Since then, the funder has made grants of over $700 million and program investments to well over 3,200 organizations. The geographic focus is Oregon and Southwest Washington.
In 2016, the foundation shifted its overall focus to equity. Areas of funding are community development, education, environment, and housing. Building community grants support groups working to improve the lives of people of color and people living in poverty. Civic engagement and arts and culture for inclusion are also part of this portfolio. Through the equitable education portfolio, MMT supports both urban and rural grantees to serve communities of color, English language learners, and other marginalized groups. Policy change and college and career readiness are part of the education portfolio.
The healthy environment portfolio addresses protection and improvement of the state’s environment, largely through the Willamette River Initiative, a 10-year commitment to improve the watershed. MMT also fields an affordable housing portfolio, alongside the coordination of essential services.
MMT welcomes proposals from groups working to achieve a more equitable Oregon. There is an annual funding opportunity for its four portfolios each spring. At other times, the funder opens up a request for proposals. MMT awards operating, project, capacity building, and technical assistance support. More about what MMT looks for in proposals is here.
The trust prioritizes groups that address disparities and increase equity, address root causes of problems, and leverage partnerships and community support. Keep in mind that MMT does not fund hospital capital construction, animal welfare or medical research. Check out the awards database to learn about which local nonprofits MMT has supported and how much they received. MMT has awarded many grants between $25,000 and $100,000 in recent times. View FAQs here.
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