The Northwest Area Foundation approved 20 grants worth $2 million in the first quarter of 2016, focused on advancing good jobs and financial capability by funding grantees whose work creates enterprise development, access to capital, workforce opportunity, and financial inclusion for low-income communities, with a special focus on those that are Native, communities of color or immigrant.
The Minnesota-based foundation makes grants across the country. In the Northwest, these first quarter grants included:
- Community Lending Works of Springfield, Oregon, will receive $200,000 over two years to support its efforts to provide consumer and small-business loans to advance financial security and economic development in low-income communities throughout rural and Native Oregon that would not otherwise have access to mainstream financial products. Grant term: Feb. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018
- Hacienda Community Development Corporation (CDC) of Portland, Oregon, will receive $200,000 over two years to help its efforts to strengthen the Portland Mercado business incubator. Hacienda CDC strengthens families by providing affordable housing, homeownership support, economic advancement, and educational opportunities. The organization’s vision is to make asset-building services accessible to the Latino population in order to help families build stable, successful lives. Grant term: Feb. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018
- Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) of Portland, Oregon, will receive $200,000 over two years to support its work helping clients gain self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship. MESO provides customized and one-on-one business assistance, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), credit building, and lending, and also conducts market research and development. The organization serves underrepresented, underserved and low-income individuals in both urban and rural counties. Grant term: Feb. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018
- Microenterprise Resources, Initiative & Training (MERIT) of Salem, Oregon, will receive $200,000 over two years to support its efforts to help low-income individuals increase income and build assets using self-employment. MERIT’s mission is to provide training and support to underserved groups who are launching and growing small businesses. Grant term: Feb. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018
- Rural Community Development Resources (RCDR) of Yakima, Washington, will receive $200,000 over two years to support its efforts to build business capacity in immigrant and Latino communities in rural Washington state. RCDR provides business coaching, microloans and business incubators to low-income, underserved immigrants seeking to start a microenterprise. Grant term: Feb. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018
- Verde of Portland, Oregon, will receive $200,000 as a renewal grant for their Building Living Cully project, an anti-poverty model of environmental investment through two Cully neighborhood projects: Cully Park and Living Cully Plaza. Living Cully is a formal collaboration of four Portland nonprofit organizations dedicated to increasing assets and wealth among low-income people by means of social enterprise, anti-displacement activities and signature projects. Grant term: Jan. 1, 2016 – Dec. 31, 2016
The foundation also gave $10,000 in sponsorship funds to Montana Indian Business Alliance of Great Falls, Montana to attend the 2016 Indian Business Alliance conference.