PGE Foundation

OVERVIEW: This corporate funder supports education, youth, and arts and culture programs in Oregon. It also supports basic needs services for local families, including housing and food.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, arts and culture, families

IP TAKE: Education is the top cause for this funder. Focus your proposal on middle school through college-age students, though, as early childhood education isn't supported.

PROFILE: The PGE Foundation is the grantmaking arm of the Portland General Electric company. The foundation was established in 1997 with a mission to improve the quality of life for Oregonians. Grants total around $20 million each year. The foundation has a statewide focus.

Grantmaking interests are education, arts and culture, and safe and stable families. Educational programs and basic needs services are at the heart of this funder's support. In a recent quarter, education grants totaled approximately $488,074. PGE is especially interested in arts and culture experiences for youth, career readiness through technical skills, and preventative programs addressing food security, housing, and mental health.

Grants range from $500 to $35,000. The foundation supports the Portland Community College Foundation, the NAYA Family Center, and Central City Concern. In recent years, the foundation has given $1 million, and held assets of over $23 million.

The PGE Foundation established a student grantmaking program called Community 101, in which Oregon youth do philanthropic work with PGE employees, other foundations, businesses, schools, nonprofits and donors. This program has reached over 9,000 high school students in the state and awarded over $2.1 million to local nonprofits and schools. But since 2011, the Oregon Community Foundation, which we have also profiled here at IP, has been the administrator of this Community 101 program. Yet the PGE Foundation continues to be the largest provider of funds for the students involved.

Only Oregon nonprofits and groups serving Oregonians are eligible to apply for PGE grants. It likes to support groups that collaborate with other nonprofits and agencies. As a general rule, PGE does not fund library operations, events, capital expenses for equipment, or general fund drives.

Grants are awarded following three board meetings that focus on specific areas. Nonprofits can find the grant application online and submit it with budget and financial information. The first yearly grant cycle focuses on education and accepts applications in December and January for a March decision. The second cycle is for arts education and accepts applications in March and April for a June decision. The third PGE cycle is for safe and stable families and accepts applications in June and July for a September decision.

The foundation has three staff members: an executive director, a program officer, and a grants administrator. The board is made up of current and former employees of PGE. These board members meet each quarter to review new grant applications and to reassess community needs to adjust the strategic direction as necessary. Bios of officers and board members are available here.

Keep up with funder news, updates about the application process, and grant opportunities, at the news section. General questions can be directed to the staff at 503-464-8818 or pgefoundation@pgn.com. Program Officer Kimberly Howard can be reached at kimberly.howard@pgn.com.

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