Meyer Memorial Trust

12 survey respondents

Location: 425 Nw 10th Ave Ste 400, Portland, 97209 OR

EIN: 93-0806316

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11 hours




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Important Information

2017 Deadlines:

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Top descriptors for this funder

3Responsive2Bureaucratic2Difficult to work with2"Gets" nonprofits and issues2Builds relationships2Culturally sensitive2Friendly2Positive leader in the field1Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues1Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field1Risk averse1Gives more than money

Advice from a Friend

Meyer Memorial Trust

Apr 24, 2024

Reviewer 8061 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2024

So, the Meyer Memorial Trust has over $1billion in assets, but over the past year and a half this second largest funder in the State of Oregon has not enabled people to submit grant proposals. Instead, it has been by invitation only, funding mostly DEI related stuff. So, even if you are doing great work, showing a tangible difference, it doesn't matter to this entity. Instead, they are arguing internally about basing their funding on either justice or equity. This is for real.


Difficult to work with

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Aug 16, 2021

Professional in the field

Meyer takes grant requirements extremely seriously. If your project does not align exactly with their terms it’s not likely to be funded. It does help to have an existing relationship with them tho, and they will fund things others won’t - like capital campaigns and new hires.


Friendly, Responsive

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Apr 22, 2021

Reviewer 3880 - Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

I was surprised at the changes that had occured since I was grant writing several years ago. At that time, you could define your need, the program officer conferred with you, if you were not awarded you were given feedback that helped you improve the next cycle.
The last few years the funding categories have discouraged our agency from submitting a grant because we didn't meet the criteria. In the last couple of years it seems the highest priority is placed on meeting equity requirements over funding need.
Oregon is a predominantly 'white' state, so for many areas being able to meet the equity requirements is difficult. I'm not complaining about trying to right past wrongs concerning diversity, but it makes getting a grant nearly impossible for many agencies.

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Apr 01, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

Be sure to get everything their program officers assert down in writing. They are struggling to align their new staff with their new direction. You may get multiple different answers to the same question.


Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Apr 01, 2019 1

Reviewer 2011 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

It is very difficult to get any personal feedback from this funder. Their program officers are generally not available and when they do talk with you about your proposal, they are more critical than supportive. I never get the impression they actually want to fund us; they just want to challenge the information presented in the application. Additionally, while this funder has prioritized equity in their funding, they can be extremely biased in their decision-making; both consciously and unconsciously. The general word on the street about this funder is if you are not a culturally-specific organization, you need not apply.


Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Difficult to work with, Bureaucratic

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Feb 22, 2019

Reviewer 9646 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

Meyer is the gold standard for Oregon foundations. They have clear funding priorities. The staff is great.


Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Jul 09, 2018

Reviewer 6283 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Good luck trying to figure out what they want to fund. Even after talking to staff, their priorities are so vague, wordy, undefined and jargon-filled that I still didn't have a clue what they're looking for.


Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Bureaucratic, Risk averse

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Apr 19, 2018 1

Reviewer 5402 - Professional in the field

I applaud Meyer for talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to their work around equity and inclusion. They’ve hired a diverse staff and have placed women and people of color in leadership positions. Their outgoing ED has documented his own journey as a white cisgender man trying to be an ally to the many communities that make up our region. They support disruptors, innovators, and community-embedded organizations with substantial grants including the rare capacity building and general operating.

Meyer also embodies everything that drives grant writers crazy about foundations. Read “Progressive funders, you may be part of the problem” published on Nonprofit AF and you’ll know what I mean. Their 2-stage application is excessively exhaustive, repetitive, and at times unclear. Somewhere along the line I wondered if their process itself was equitable. I have years of practice with the heavy lifting some grants require and years of experience working with Meyer. What about smaller grassroots organizations Meyer purports to fund, where program staff or even the executive director are often the ones writing the grant? With all that Meyer demands, is it an equitable process for those with fewer resources?

What frustrates me most about working with Meyer is their lack of understanding or unwillingness to understand our organization’s own equity journey. As their ED wrote on his blog, he and Meyer have made mistakes in this work and hope to learn from them. Yet, that courtesy hasn’t been extended to us, in our transparency, without rebuke (declined funding), even after they expressed deep interest in our program; some even called it important. I can’t help but feel they are more worried about the optics of funding an organization that doesn’t meet their subjective definition of equity and inclusion, even though the program itself is the very embodiment of it.

Is Meyer worth pursuing? I think so. But consider the following statement from a report cited in the Nonprofit AF article: “While conservative funders usually treat their grantees like peers, whose work deserves long-term support, respect, and trust, too many progressive funders treat their grantees like disobedient children who need to be constantly watched and disciplined.”

As grant writers, we’re all aware of this dynamic and the inherently unfair power imbalance that exists between nonprofits and foundations. It certainly plays out that way with Meyer. Paternalistic and capricious is the way I would describe them. I just expected more from Meyer given the good work they have done to be a forward thinking grant maker.

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Feb 21, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

They are committed to addressing equity and inclusion issues across the nonprofit sector.


Positive leader in the field, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive

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Oct 23, 2017

Reviewer 800 - Professional in the field

Meyer Memorial Trust has shifted its focus towards Equity Inclusion and Diversity work, and basically you are wasting your time currently unless you can demonstrate the organization is highly progressive in this aspect of operations, or the outcomes specifically benefit People of Color, or other minority populations. It feels as the pendulum has shifted so far over that it must swing back, as many outstanding organizations who either are working in areas without a diverse population (think Eastern Oregon), or are not doing work perceived as "valuable" in this struggle by the funder. I have also witnessed boards recoiling at being asked to fill out the demographic information, particularly around gender identity and sexual orientation. But without this "proof" of diversity MMT will not move an application forward any longer. Sad.

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Meyer Memorial Trust