Meyer Foundation Grants

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

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Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $50,000

Next anticipated deadline: Jan 31, 2020 2:00pm PST

Later anticipated deadlines: Jul 10, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: District of Columbia, Counties in Maryland: Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Counties in Virginia: Alexandria city, Arlington County Show all

Location of residency: District of Columbia, Counties in Maryland: Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Counties in Virginia: Alexandria city, Arlington County Show all

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About this funder:

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Overview:

Note: In 2019, we are especially interested in considering requests from organizations who are focused on developing and engaging youth leaders of color, elevating youth voice, and building power among young people, especially young people of color. *Additionally, while youth are largely engaged within the arena of education, we understand that opportunities for this type of work exist within all of our goal areas and we are looking forward to receiving and evaluating applications that include or focus on youth leadership development from all areas of our work. 

Our Funding Approach 

The systems that create access and opportunities in housing, education, employment, and asset building are core to the well-being of individuals, families, and therefore our region.   

Yet, these systems aren’t working for everyone. In fact, how well they work for you is predicated on your racial identity. This is systemic racism – when prejudice and power combine, resulting in a system of structures, practices, policies, and laws that advantage white people while disadvantaging people of color. 

At the Meyer Foundation, we seek to invest in solutions that fundamentally shift these systems toward racial equity – when race no longer predicts access, opportunities, how one fares and who thrives. This is the work of systems change – transforming structures, policies, practices, laws and/or their underlying power dynamics and narratives to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity.  

What We Support

As articulated in our Advancing Equity strategy, we have four interconnected goals in the areas of housing, education, employment, and asset building. With the help of our community and grantee partners, we’ve defined four types of systems change efforts in which we seek to invest within our goal areas. We believe that systems change efforts are most attainable and effective when organizations and collaboratives apply a mix of these strategies based upon what’s most responsive to their constituents. We seek to invest in these systems change efforts to ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in housing, education, employment, and asset building for economically disadvantaged people, particularly people of color:  

  1. Culture Change – Shifting the attitudes, values, beliefs, and aspirations of the Greater Washington region toward racial equity. 
  2. Institutional Change – Using the best available data, evidence, and models to generate sustainable improvements in ideas and practices that govern institutions and currently have a disproportionate negative impact on people and communities of color. 
  3. Policy Change & Reform – Influencing policymakers to reform or enact laws to mitigate and eradicate the consequences of systemic racism and promote racial justice and equity. 
  4. Power Change – Shifting the balance of power so people of color are designing, leading, and ultimately accomplishing change in their own communities.   

Goals

The Meyer Foundation has four ambitious and highly-interconnected goals for building a more equitable Greater Washington region.

These goals focus on systemic changes that promote racial equity across the region, and we believe they are necessary to ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in the lives of low-income people of color.

Through a systems change approach, we invest in research, education, advocacy, organizing, capacity-building, communications, and narrative change, as well as strategic direct service that contributes to systems change. 

Housing

Goal: To ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in the lives of economically disadvantaged people — particularly people of color — across the Greater Washington region, we need meaningful systemic changes that promote racial equity and increase their access to a large and stable supply of high-quality housing that is affordable, encourages more inclusive communities, and provides access to good schools and well-paying jobs.

Examples of efforts that might be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Advocacy campaigns to end source-of-income discrimination in housing.
  • Collective action initiatives to shift local homeless services systems to housing (rather than shelter) as the solution to ending homelessness. 
  • Initiatives to create new, permanent ways through which to create and preserve affordable housing, such as community land trusts.

Examples of efforts that would not be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Services for homeless people that are not tied to a larger systemic change goal.
  • Services to improve affordable housing access for individual households (such as housing counseling) that are not part of a larger systemic change initiative.
  • Wrap-around support services in individual affordable housing developments.

Please note: The examples above are not exhaustive. They are intended only as examples.

Education

Goal: To ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in the lives of economically disadvantaged people — particularly people of color — across the Greater Washington region, we need meaningful systemic changes that promote racial equity and increase their access to schools with welcoming, supportive climates that are free of bias and discrimination, affirm the dignity and potential of students, and prepare them for college, career, and life.

Examples of efforts that might be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Initiatives to design, implement, and enforce effective alternatives to exclusionary discipline, and build inclusive and culturally-sensitive school climates.
  • Efforts to create stronger career pathways into and through postsecondary education and high-demand careers.
  • Campaigns to increase representation of people of color elected and/or appointed to positions of influence and power in public education systems.

Examples of efforts that would not be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Seasonal or after-school programming, unless there is a clear strategy around youth leadership development and power building.
  • Launching a new, un-tested, education program at a single site.
  • Educational programming that is not aligned with or complementary of school curriculum and learning goals.

Please note: The examples above are not exhaustive. They are intended only as examples.

Employment

Goal: To ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in the lives of economically disadvantaged people — particularly people of color — across the Greater Washington region, we need meaningful systemic changes that promote racial equity and increase their access to well-paying jobs with career advancement opportunities that lead to financial security.

Examples of efforts that might be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Campaigns that strengthen workplace rights and labor laws for workers of color with no or low incomes.
  • Advocacy efforts to eliminate race-based discrimination in hiring practices and to increase access to workforce development systems and advancement opportunities.
  • Sustained cross-organization and cross-sector and sub-sector initiatives aimed at making workforce development systems in the region more effective and comprehensive.

Examples of efforts that would not be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Training courses for identified cohorts that are not linked to larger systems change efforts.

Please note: The examples above are not exhaustive. They are intended only as examples.

Asset Building

Goal: To ensure long-lasting, measurable improvements in the lives of economically disadvantaged people — particularly people of color — across the Greater Washington region, we need meaningful systemic changes that promote racial equity and increase their access to opportunities to build savings, grow assets, and accumulate wealth, and avoid predatory financial products and practices or policies that strip wealth.

Examples of efforts that might be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Campaigns that seek to develop, promote, and sustain small community-based businesses and micro-enterprise owned and/or operated by people of color.
  • Advocacy campaigns that seek to eliminate predatory financial products or practices (such as payday loans, car title loans, check cashing establishments, etc.) that disproportionately target communities of color. 
  • Campaigns to eliminate bail bonds and other pre-trial detention practices that destroy wealth.

Examples of efforts that would not be competitive for Meyer support:

  • Requests for start-up funds for individual micro-enterprise and small businesses.
  •  Requests for funds for individual tax preparation services.
  • Requests for funds to rent/purchase commercial space.

Please note: The examples above are not exhaustive. They are intended only as examples.

Other System Change Work

Meyer will consider other systems change work not identified above if it addresses our goals in housing, employment, education, and asset building. On an invitation-only basis, Meyer will also seek innovative solutions that advance our strategic plan, mission, and vision, but may not directly address our goals in housing, employment, education, and asset building.

What We Consider

We receive many more applications for funding than we are able to support, and the process is competitive. Beyond a shared vision and goals for long-term impact, we look for:

  • Alignment with Meyer's strategic plan and funding priorities.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial equity.
  • A vision for systemic change focused on eliminating racialized disparities.
  • An understanding of and ability to track progress.
  • Effective financial management.

In addition, we aspire to partner with organizations that have the following qualities or are working to incorporate these qualities into their work:

  • Work that is informed and/or directed by people most directly affected by inequity.
  • A commitment to cultivating leadership and building power in communities of color. 
  • A track record of collaboration, partnership, and field building.

As we launch this new approach to our work, we understand that many of these criteria are aspirational for organizations and we do not expect every applicant to have all of these attributes embedded in their work. We will, however, give greater weight organizations that put these qualities at the center of their programmatic work and/or internal operations, or have begun to explore how to do so. We are interested in supporting organizations that understand the urgency of embedding equity into their work and strive to support organizations on that journey.

Grant Awards 

We typically make general operating investments so nonprofits have the flexibility to focus on their operational effectiveness and can act nimbly and shift strategies appropriately in response to changing external conditions. 

Strategies

Meyer believes that if we are to succeed in supporting our partners in improving the lives of low-income people of color in our region, we must support them in addressing the racial disparities across housing, education, employment, and asset building. To carry out our vision for racial equity, we go beyond traditional grantmaking and capacity-building to include convening and advocacy, as well as collective action as additional means to advance racial equity in the region. Learn more about our four strategies below:

Grantmaking

We provide:

  • General operating support to effective organizations working toward long-term goals through a systems change approach, including strategic direct service.
  • Program support, when needed, to test approaches or to expand programs with scalable results. 
  • Support for community-based and community-led organizations, especially those led by people of color.

Capacity Building

We strive to:

  • Build capacity for grantees and networks of organizations to incorporate racial equity into their work through individual grants and cohort learning and training.
  • Support organizational development work by organizations aligned with Meyer's focus on racial equity and systems change.
  • Strengthen collective action initiatives through capacity-building with racial equity embedded.

Meyer's capacity-building grantmaking and program offerings are concentrated on helping nonprofits integrate racial equity into their work, as well as strengthening the overall capacity of organizations working together to change the systems that perpetuate racialized outcomes.

Capacity-building grants primarily cover the cost of outside consultants. These consulting engagements provide outside expertise that the organization may lack, but also build capacity within the organization for the future.

Our capacity-building support includes the following:

  • Capacity-building grants
    • Meyer invites a limited number of current grantee partners to apply for our capacity-building grants. Examples of our capacity-building grants may include funding for time-sensitive projects, such as executive transitions, mergers/partnerships, and more.
    • These capacity-building grants enable organizations to hire consultants to help their board and staff accomplish work that requires time, energy, expertise, and innovative thinking beyond everyday operations.
    • Our funding for capacity-building grants is limited, and therefore, applications are by invitation only. Please contact your program director to confirm eligibility and to discuss your proposed project.
    • Organizations applying for a capacity-building grant must have received a Meyer operating or program grant on or after January 1, 2017. 
    • In general, the most successful capacity-building projects:
      • address management and leadership issues that affect the organization as a whole, rather than a single department or program.
      • are focused on a single problem or issue, rather than a patchwork of unrelated problems or needs.
      • are critical to the organization's long-term success in achieving its mission.
      • are not always the best solution to an immediate crisis. 
    • In addition to consultant fees, you may request funding for limited project-related costs (such as meeting costs or educational resources). However, these grants will not cover staff time or overhead costs. No matching funds are required. 
  • Group Learning
    • Meyer offers and supports group learning opportunities throughout the year to eligible organizations that want to build capacity in racial equity or in undertaking systems change work.
    • Examples of recent group learning opportunities we’ve offered or supported include:
    • On an invitation-only basis, we also accept applications from organizations that wish to provide group learning opportunities in racial equity and systems change.
  • Learning and Travel Fund
    • Would you like to send members of your staff to a conference on racial equity, but don’t have the money in your budget to cover the registration? Is there a not-to-be missed convening that community organizers on your staff would love to attend, but you don’t have a way to pay for travel expenses?
    • Attending trainings and conferences can be great ways to learn new skills, be exposed to new ideas, find out what organizations and movements in other parts of the country are doing, and even replenish your spirit and renew your commitment to your work. But it’s not always easy for nonprofits to cover the costs of conferences and trainings, especially if they take place outside the DMV.
    • If your organization has received a program or operating grant since January 1, 2017, you are eligible to apply for a Learning and Travel Fund grant to help cover the registration fees and travel costs for conferences and trainings focused on systems change work to advance racial equity. A Learning and Travel Fund grant will pay for:
      • Registration fees for conferences and trainings (both local and out of town) in the continental US for one or more staff, board, and/or key partners (including community members and volunteers); and
      • Travel expenses to the training or conference, including: airfare, train or bus tickets, mileage reimbursement, hotel, meals, parking, and local transportation.

Convening and Advocacy

We strive to:

  • Leverage our knowledge and social capital to convene around issues that require bold leadership and action.
  • Serve as a leading regional voice on systemic racism and other barriers that prevent economically disadvantaged people from thriving.

Collective Action

We strive to:

  • Support and participate in efforts to align the work of multiple organizations and sectors working toward shared goals.
  • Promote collaborative approaches and work to attract additional capital to those efforts.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • To be an eligible grantee partner, organizations must: 
    • Currently hold 501(c)(3) status or have a nonprofit fiscal sponsorship 
    • Share our beliefs as articulated in Advancing Equity 
    • Focus on achieving outcomes in the District of Columbia; Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas and/or Manassas Park, and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and/or Prince William in Northern Virginia 
    • Work toward systems change in our goal areas of housing, education, employment, and asset building, or provide strategic direct services to develop voices, knowledge, partnerships, and/or data with the potential to contribute to building movements and systems change efforts in these goal areas 
    • Determine what systems affect their constituents and how race intersects with those systems  
    • Resource and reinforce decisions made by people of color and communities affected by inequity 

Preferences:

  • We prioritize opportunities to partner with organizations that:  
    • Conduct analysis to understand what systems affect their constituents and how race intersects with those systems  
    • Build leadership from within their constituency  
    • Employ culturally relevant and appropriate policies and practices 
    • Balance research and data with community voices 
    • Share data and findings with their constituents, allies, partners, and the systems they seek to affect 
    • Focus on systems change to equitably redistribute power  
    • Actively seek collaboration, partnership, and field building 
    • Demonstrate a capacity and willingness to share best practices and knowledge with peers and others in the field 
    • Note: In 2019, we are especially interested in considering requests from organizations who are focused on developing and engaging youth leaders of color, elevating youth voice, and building power among young people, especially young people of color. *Additionally, while youth are largely engaged within the arena of education, we understand that opportunities for this type of work exist within all of our goal areas and we are looking forward to receiving and evaluating applications that include or focus on youth leadership development from all areas of our work. 

Ineligibility:

  • We do not fund:
    • Visual and performing arts
    • Access to health care
    • Environment
    • Capital for individual housing construction or development
    • Start-up and operating support for housing developers
    • Hunger relief and nutrition
    • Scholarships or financial assistance
    • Individual public, public charter, or private schools
    • Individuals (including scholarships and emergency assistance)
    • Medical or scientific research
    • Programs that promote religious doctrine
    • PTAs
    • Special events or conferences, except by invitation only
    • Endowments