Oregon Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports the arts, education, the environment, and health throughout the state of Oregon. It awards grants through an open application process and through donor-advised funds.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, arts and culture, economic vitality, environment, education, civic engagement

IP TAKE: This is a huge foundation with lots of offices, staff, and funds. There are five primary grant programs open to applications, but only one is statewide, and this is competitive. About 175 of these are awarded each cycle for about $20,000, out of 400 to 500 applications received.

PROFILE: The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is a huge grantmaker in Oregon with offices in Portland, Bend, Eugene, Medford and Salem. William Swindells, the founder of Willamette Industries, established OCF in 1973. The foundation reports more than $1.5 billion under management through 1,900 charitable funds. It is in the top 10 community foundations based on assets.

In consecutive past years, the foundation awarded $103 million and $109 million in grants and scholarships. Current financial data is available here. The foundation backs programs for children and families, education and scholarships, arts and culture, and community engagement. It awards some grants through an open application process, while others come from donor-advised funds.

The Community Grant Program is a statewide program with a broad focus. Nike Community Impact Fund Program grants are awarded in Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark County in Washington. Small Arts and Culture Grants are part of a five-year initiative to support small, community-driven arts and culture organizations statewide. Meanwhile, Reed and Carolee Walker Fund Grants are awarded in Jackson County and focus on disadvantaged children and families.

You can find a list of grant programs by region on the funder’s Grants page. Areas of interest are the arts, education, the environment and health. The foundation rarely awards operating support, and only through competitive grant programs. However, OCF does support capacity-building projects to improve a nonprofit’s fundraising, marketing and training processes. Some advised fund grants support general operations and core programs, but they aren’t open for applications. Designated fund grants are also not open to applications.

The foundation's health and wellbeing initiative focuses on children’s dental health. The livability initiative is all about civic engagement and leadership, and OCF supported a classroom-based program to get students involved in their communities through grantmaking and volunteering. Arts and culture initiatives focus on arts education in schools, creating new works, and supporting the smallest arts and culture organizations in the state. The economic vitality initiative is all about job creation, skilled workforce, access to capital, and engaging donors. And education support backs early childhood, K-12, and access to higher education and training.

Grantseeker questions should be directed to the staff at grants@oregoncf.org. Follow the funder’s news section to learn about where grants have been going lately.

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