The Portland-based Meyer Memorial Trust has announced that it awarded a hundred and ninety-three grants totaling $22.7 million in 2017 to nonprofit organizations working to create and support vibrant, equitable communities in Oregon.
Awarded through Meyer's Building Community, Equitable Education, Healthy Environment and Housing Opportunities portfolios, the grants were awarded to nonprofits working to reduce and eliminate inequities through local and statewide policy and systems reform, creating affordable housing for people living on low incomes, building inclusive communities, and creating wealth-building pathways for people in communities that have long experienced income disparities.
In the final grantmaking cycle of 2017, the trust awarded sixty-five grants totaling $6.65 million through its Building Community portfolio, including grants to Neighborworks Umpqua in support of its efforts to establish a rural advocacy platform, and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, in support of collaborative artist-led projects on tribal reservations that address pressing social problems and sustain Native cultures. In addition, the trust awarded thirty-nine grants totaling $3.85 through its Healthy Environment portfolio to strengthen natural systems and the health and vitality of Oregon's diverse communities. Recipients include the Oregon Natural Desert Association, which will use the funds to strengthen partnerships with tribes and integrate conservation practices that reflect traditional knowledge with science-based practices to restore ecosystem health; and Ecotrust, in support of a green workforce development pilot program that will recruit and train African Americans and Native Americans for careers in the "green" workforce.
Through its Housing Opportunities portfolio, the trust awarded thirty-nine grants totaling approximately $5 million to help build better lives and strengthen communities through stable housing. Recipients include the Housing Authority of Washington County, which will use its grant to construct a 120-unit affordable housing project in Hillsboro, and the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation, which is working to develop a non-subsidized replicable model of affordable housing with health-related and social services for rural older adults in the Columbia River Gorge. And the first round of funding awarded through the trust's Equitable Education portfolio included forty-nine grants totaling $7.2 million in support of organizations working to achieve equitable outcomes for Oregon students who experience the greatest educational disparities. Recipients include the Children's Institute, which works to engage community leaders who can shape and deliver a statewide education advocacy agenda, and Better Together Central Oregon, which will work to build an education data system that aligns community and education organizations' efforts to improve student outcomes in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties.