Salem Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports Salem, Oregon-based projects that address youth, human services, and arts and culture. Grant requests are accepted twice per year from local groups.

FUNDING AREAS: Youth, arts and culture, basic needs, human services

IP TAKE:  Youth is a huge cause for this funder. Pitch a local project that directly benefits local, disadvantaged youth in some way.

PROFILE: The Salem Foundation is based in Salem, Oregon, and was founded by the board of Pioneer Trust Bank in 1930. The foundation is locally focused and accepts gifts and bequests to provide grants. its mission is to support local charities and causes that keep Salem strong and healthy. Pioneer Trust Bank also formed the Pioneer Trust Bank, N.A. Foundation to benefit local groups in the Salem area. The bank's history in Oregon dates back to 1869, when Asahel Bush and William S. Ladd organized Ladd and Bush Bank.

The foundation backs causes related to youth, arts and culture, basic needs, and human services. In a recent year, and through its many sub-funds, the Salem Foundation gave over $1.8 million to more than 100 organizations and individuals in the Salem area.

The foundation is a big supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Salem and the Oregon Symphony Association. It has provided grants to the Assistance League of Salem for Operation School Bell, which provides clothing for school-age children in need. It also awards scholarships through its funds.

Nonprofits and government agencies can apply for Salem Foundation grants, which usually range between $1,000 and $5,000. Most grants are about $1,500. Although it funds a variety of projects, capital requests and staff position requests are not typically considered. All projects must serve the Greater Salem area, and the application deadlines are December 1 and May 1.

You can apply for a grant either online or by mail. The application form is posted on the website's “Receiving” page, where you can also upload documents about your budget, financials and board. Expect a decision from the board by mid-February for the December 1 grant cycle or by mid-July for the May 1 grant cycle.

Oversight for the foundation is provided by a distribution committee of five local residents. Committee members are appointed by the Oregon governor, the mayor of Salem, the chair of the Marion County Board of Commissioners, the president of the Marion County Bar Association, and Pioneer Trust Bank.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 503-480-1881 or by email at The funder’s mailing address is 109 Commercial Street, N.E. (P.O. Box 2305), Salem, Oregon 97308. Mailed grant applications should be directed to the attention of “Pioneer Trust Bank, N.A., Trustee.” Sign up on the website to receive the foundation’s newsletter for alerts about upcoming opportunities, and follow its blog.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)