Oregon Jewish Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This community funder supports Jewish and secular groups in Washington and Southwest Oregon. Areas of interest for these funds include education, arts and culture, housing and healthcare.

FUNDING AREAS: Local Jewish life, education, healthcare, social services, housing, arts and culture

IP TAKE:  Don’t write off this funder as exclusive to Jewish groups. It also has secular grant programs that also extend beyond the state’s borders.

PROFILE: The Oregon Jewish Community Foundation (OJCF) has been around since 1989 to promote quality of Jewish communal life in the Pacific Northwest. Geographic areas of focus are Oregon and Southwest Washington. This community funder is based in Portland, and much of its grantmaking is centered on that city. Not only does it help individuals and families manage philanthropic giving, but it also administers funds for other Jewish charities in the region.

Though a Jewish funder, OJCF offers both Jewish and secular grant programs. You can apply for grants with the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation, which gives to Jewish history and culture, education and human rights. Topics of interest include life-skills training, access to housing, access to healthcare, and equal opportunities. This particular grant program was established in 2003 and gave out about $43,000 in a recent year, with an average grant size of $2,000. Teen philanthropists review these proposals as a form of youth training.

Another opportunity with OJCF is the Leonard and Lois Schnitzer Charitable Supporting Foundation. This fund addresses Jewish art, community development, health, education and social welfare. Applications are due on or around August 31 each year. The OJCF Friendly Rosenthal Fund pre-selects grantees that serve the elderly and infirm in the local Jewish community. On rare occasions, other applications may be accepted for urgent and unforeseen needs.

The funder also awards grants from its OJCF Oregon-Israel Fund to promote good relations between the two regions. These applications are typically due November 30. The OJCF Community Endowment Fund works with area organizations, schools and synagogues to establish permanent gifts that benefit the foundation. An OJCF Emergency Fund supports local Jewish groups in times of crisis. The foundation holds a broad view of crises, including collapsed roofs, economic downturns and acts of terror.

Find grant applications, guidelines and deadlines on the funder's grants page. The foundation also awards scholarships to Oregon Jewish students with financial need. Nonprofits can open a partner organization fund here with $10,000 or more. Groups that invest $1 million may appoint a representative to the foundation’s board of trustees.

General questions can be directed to staff at 503-248-9328 or via email at the email addresses listed on the professional staff page. Tara Siegman, the donor relations and grants manager, is a grantseeker’s best contact, at taras@ojcf.org. Mail should be sent to 1618 SW First Avenue, Suite 210, Portland, Oregon 97201.

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