Founding the Meyer Foundation in 1944, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer looked to further their public service work and community advocacy. According to the foundation’s website, after earning a fortune through investment banking, Eugene Meyer dedicated a majority of his life to being a public servant. This included holding positions under seven United States presidencies as well as serving as the publisher for The Washington Post. Also, his wife, Agnes Ernest Meyer, was a journalist and social activist. Recognized by President Lyndon Johnson for her work, she helped promote the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which provided federal assistance and resources to low-income students.
Since its founding, the foundation has aimed to serve low-income populations throughout the greater Washington D.C. area. However, since December 2015, the foundation has focused on providing not only grants but also support and guidance to leaders and nonprofit organizations working to help vulnerable communities. As stated on the website, the foundation emphasizes supporting community organizations in order to “dig deeper and work to create systems and structures that promote equity in [the] region.”
Major Program Categories:
In 2015, the Meyer Foundation awarded over 140 grants, amounting to approximately $6.2 million. Dedicated to helping low-income communities in the D.C. area, these grants have supported organizations that provide direct services in three main areas: affordable housing, education and employment, and financial stability.
In D.C., approximately half of all renter households rent at unaffordable rates. According to the foundation website, 150,000 renters are dedicating over half of their income to paying for housing costs. The foundation therefore looks to diminish homelessness in the area by donating to organizations that provide safe, affordable housing.
Further, the foundation supports programs that help youth and adults with education and stable employment opportunities. Examples of this include efforts that prepare low-income youth for college or careers, or that provide English language literacy programming and job training for adults.
The foundation has also focused on helping D.C.’s low-income families with obtaining financial security. For instance, grants have gone to organizations that offer financial literacy training and other economic support.
Additionally, the foundation has two programs to further aid organizations in increasing their impact and meeting community goals. Through the Organizational Effectiveness (OE) program, awards are given to expand grantees’ capacity by supplying executive and team coaching, strategic planning and network building. The foundation also leads the Julie L. Rogers Sabbatical Program through which up to three grants of $50,000 are awarded annually to allow organizations’ chief executives to go on sabbatical. With this, the foundation hopes to help non-profit executives prevent burnout and better serve their organization.
How to Apply: Organizations should have strong staff leadership, sustainable financial plans and ways to measure their impact. The foundation primarily awards “general operating support grants” but has also given project-specific grants and multi-year and capital grants. However, for the next grant cycle in 2017, the foundation will be using an invitation-only process that is limited to current grantees. More information regarding the grant application process can be found on the website.
Name of Foundation: The Meyer Foundation
Location: Washington, D.C.
1250 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Coverage Area: Greater Washington D.C. region
Subject Area: Affordable housing, education and employment, and financial stability for low-income communities
Total Assets: $203 million (2016)
Last Year Total Grants Paid: $7.2 million (2016)
Recent News and Grantmaking: