We awarded 36 grants totaling nearly $530,000 during the second quarter of 2018 to help our priority communities thrive on their own terms.
Much of our funding this quarter focuses on grantees that advance our strategy to support good jobs and financial capability across our region of eight states and 75 Native nations. Grantees’ work builds on the untapped potential within our priority communities: Native Americans, communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and people in rural areas.
This quarter’s funding supports efforts to address policy and system changes that help our priority communities overcome barriers to achieving long-term prosperity.
Below, we spotlight two grantees that are using different, yet complementary approaches to break down barriers that deny our priority communities fair access to opportunities that can help them thrive on their own terms.
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) creates opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs to overcome barriers to financing.
Based in Portland, OR, MESO was created as a response to research that showed a critical gap in small-business lending during the last two decades, meaning that small businesses had limited access to capital.
MESO understood that the gap was greatest for its focus populations—entrepreneurs who are people of color, immigrants, refugees, and women. These are communities typically overlooked by large financial institutions.
MESO’s $96,000 grant over two years will ensure it has sufficient staff to provide small-business owners with loans and ongoing guidance and support. This assistance will help clients build credit to start and expand their businesses. As these businesses grow, they will help drive sustainable prosperity.
A new web portal from Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and Foundation Center aims to increase funding for Native-led organizations.
The new portal from NAP and Foundation Center follows up on a previous report they co-created: “Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples.” Published in 2011, the report showed that only 0.3 to 0.7 percent of total foundation grant dollars per year were invested in Native communities.
One of the primary reasons for the disparity stemmed from a lack of funder knowledge about Native communities and issues. NAP received a $100,000 grant from us to make information about philanthropic funding related to, and by, Native Americans more accessible to foundations and other funders.
NAP and Foundation Center intend for the portal to serve as a valuable resource, sparking discourse within the philanthropic community on the need for investment in Native communities. The web portal also will serve as a tool for building knowledge of Native culture and context, which can help jump-start opportunities that can have long-term impact in Indian Country.