Autzen Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports a range of social services, education, youth, and arts and culture causes in Oregon. Much of the funding stays in the Portland area, and grant applications are accepted three times per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Youth, social services, education, the arts, nature

IP TAKE: Autzen flies under the radar, but has a straightforward, no-fuss grantmaking process. Pitch an idea that involves Portland youth for the best results.

PROFILE: The Autzen Foundation is based in Portland, Oregon, and was established in 1951. It was founded by Thomas John Autzen, who was in the plywood manufacturing business. He has been credited with revolutionizing modern wood-laminate milling methods and the plywood production industry. You might recognize the name from the football stadium in Eugene, Oregon, where the Oregon Ducks play: the foundation gave the largest construction donation to the stadium several decades ago.

The foundation's geographical focus is Oregon, with a strong emphasis on Portland, as well. Only nonprofits in Oregon and adjacent regions are eligible to apply for Autzen grants. Top interests are youth, social services, education and the arts.

The foundation website is very basic, with limited information. All grant applications must be submitted in print by mail to the funder’s P.O. box, as no electronic submissions are accepted. Applications should be no more than four pages, with no paper clips, post-it notes or the like. Include your financial statement from last year, current agency budget, project budget, board of director information, tax determination letter and the most recent 990.

Grant applications are typically due in March, April and November of each year.  Expect to wait about two or three months to hear back about funding. Grants are not awarded to individuals, political causes, or to any groups without 501(c)3 status.

Foundation assets have exceeded $9 million recently. Current 990 forms are here. Most grants have been between $2,000 and $10,000, lately.

General questions can be directed to the executive grants administrator, Hilary Evart. The best times to call Evart are on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:30am and 4:00pm. She has been in this position since April 2015 and was previously a librarian, event planner, and guide dog trainer. No other full-time staff members appear to be employed at Autzen. According to the form 990, the foundation president is Wendy Ulman, the treasurer is Christina A. Grady, and the other three directors are Robert W. Patton III, Thomas J. Autzen, and Phillip Patton.


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