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Meyer Memorial Trust takes grant-making hiatus


Meyer Memorial Trust announced Monday it will take a hiatus from some of its grantmaking on March 15.

Grants already in the pipeline still will continue to be funded, but the foundation will temporarily stop accepting new applications for grants after March 15.

The move is one of four steps MMT announced Monday as it realigns its grantmaking to be more deeply involved with and responsive to nonprofits and its community partners. The details:

The hiatus will extend up to nine months as MMT works with stakeholders to redesign its grantmaking within four priority funding areas — education, affordable housing, the environment and strengthening the nonprofit sector and the communities it serves. MMT will suspend its Responsive Grants and Grassroots Grants programs on March 15. Guided by the responsive ethos and grassroots values that have long guided its giving, the Trust anticipates launching new grant programs in the fall of 2015. After March 15, MMT will no longer award grants to organizations for work done in Clark County, Wash. To help smooth the transition for Clark County nonprofits, MMT will award $1.5 million to the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington in support of its community grantmaking.

Meyer Memorial Trust has a 33-year history in the Pacific Northwest. With assets of nearly $780 million on Dec. 31, 2014, it hasawarded more than 8,400 grants and PRIs totaling nearly $658 million since 1982. Named for Fred G. Meyer, the Trust operates independently of the Fred Meyer grocery store chain.

Eight years ago, MMT began incorporating focused initiative work into its grantmaking to more directly address the root causes of problems that burden communities across the state.

Over the past year, MMT’s Board of Trustees and staff have been taking a very close look at the Trust’s role in the community, examining what it does and how, and its impact on issues key to Oregon’s future.This recent process reaffirmed the importance of continually adapting to new opportunities and changing circumstances while partnering with the nonprofit community.

By bundling its grants, initiatives, loans and other funding, the Trust aims to create stronger connections between its work and its community partners and be more accountable for the systems improvements and changes that are important to its mission, said MMT Chief Executive Officer Doug Stamm.

“It goes back to this question: how can Meyer Memorial Trust have the greatest impact on the state of Oregon?” Stamm said. “We are trying to close gaps that have been created because of inequities.”

The announcement comes amid MMT’s embrace of and exploration into equity, and its recommitment to the values Fred Meyer instilled in the Trust.

MMT’s reach historically included Clark County because the Trust came to view it, in effect, as part of Portland. Over more than 30 years, MMT awarded roughly $250,000 a year in grants and loans for programs there. As the county developed its own independent and robust philanthropic identity, Clark County’s place within the context of MMT’s vision of a flourishing and equitable Oregon was no longer clear.

When MMT stops accepting grant applications from Clark County organizations for their work in Washington on March 15, it will be returning to Fred Meyer’s original vision and mission of enriching the lives of Oregonians. Going forward, MMT will consider grant applications from out-of-state organizations, including Clark County, for work directly benefiting Oregon and in collaboration with Oregon partners.

For more details on the Trust’s plans, please read Doug Stamm’s blog.

For answers to some commonly asked questions, please visit out FAQ page, go here.

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