Carpenter Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder focuses on Jackson and Josephine Counties in Oregon. It accepts grant applications in the areas of human services, art, education, and public interest.

 FUNDING AREAS: Human services, education, art, public interest

IP TAKE: With such a narrow geographic focus, lots of nonprofits around Medford and Ashland can benefit here. It gives the greatest number of grants to human services causes.

PROFILE: The Carpenter Foundation is a private family funder committed to the Rogue Valley in Oregon. It is based in Medford, Oregon, and keeps nearly all of its grants within Jackson and Josephine Counties. The only exceptions are some statewide public interest issues that affect people in these counties.

Alfred S. V. Carpenter and Helen Bundy Carpenter established the foundation in 1942 as the Jackson County Recreation Agency. Its original purpose was to provide recreation for servicemen at Camp White, but it was reorganized in 1958 to become a general-purpose family foundation.

Current funding interests are human services, education, art, and public interest. These have not changed since 1972. The foundation also awards scholarships. It's interested in children and families as they relate to their communities and neighborhoods. Carpenter awards grants to improve opportunities for low-income citizens, improve the quality of education, and engage people with the arts. Regarding its public policy support, Carpenter often supports long-term environmental and community planning projects.

Most recent grants have been for $3,000 to $10,000. Multi-year grants are rare, as are grants for hospital construction equipment, trips, historical applications or religious purposes.

Top human service grantees include Compass House and the Maslow Project in Medford. Through its education program, the foundation has backed Kids Unlimited in Medford and Science Works Hands-On Museum in Ashland. It has given arts grants to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association and the Rogue Valley Symphony in Ashland. Public interest grants are fewer and smaller: the foundation has backed the purchase and application of paint for the Josephine County Fairgrounds and installing an LED reader board at Sams Valley Elementary School in Central Point. A list of grantees can be viewed here.

You must mail a hard copy of your grant application to the foundation; email applications are not accepted. Include your cover letter, proposal information and required attachments. The foundation is governed by a board composed of family members and public trustees who make grant and financial decisions. The board meets quarterly, and a review committee typically meets with nonprofits before grant decisions are made.

In the past, the foundation has held total assets of around $17 million to $19 million. Current financial data is here.

General questions can be directed to the staff at (541) 772-5732 or via email at pwilliams@carpenter-foundation.org. This email will go to Polly Williams, the lone program officer, who’s your best contact. Tammie Henriksen is the only other staff member and serves as the office administrator.

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