Since 1976, MRG Foundation has been in service to the movement for justice.
Forty-five years ago, our founders gathered on the banks of the McKenzie River in Eugene, Oregon with a revolutionary idea: that activists, philanthropists, and those working in community should decide, together, how to use their inherited wealth to make an impact on the root causes of social inequity and environmental degradation.
That gathering grew into what MRG is today, and for 45 years an amazing group of staff, board members, grantmakers, and volunteers has worked tirelessly to honor these roots, stay true to the vision, and flourish into who we are.
As our programs have evolved and grown, we’ve seen that the name “MRG Foundation” does not adequately highlight what the organization has been about since Day 1: seeding justice across the region.
Our impact has always transcended the place of our birth and is deeper than handing out checks.
We were among the first funders for groups like Cascade AIDS Project, Black United Fund of Oregon, PCUN, Unite Oregon, Causa, Columbia Riverkeeper, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, and helped with the legal restoration of many of the Tribes that were terminated in Oregon. These groups and projects were “risky” to other funders at the time but to us, it was riskier not to fund them—we knew that without them, the road to justice would be incomplete. We were participatory grantmakers before the approach had a name, ensuring that the people most impacted by the pain of injustice were nurtured and centered. All along, we’ve cultivated a community of activists, donors, and leaders that have gone on to seed justice in other organizations across the country.
Last year—amidst a global pandemic—we exceeded even our own expectations, granting out more than $3 million to our frontline communities: more than we’ve granted in the last three years combined, and 14% of the total amount MRG has granted since our founding! We launched the first of six Community Funds that are led by folks who rarely get a seat at the table, and we built trust and developed relationships with more groups and more people in more parts of the state than ever before.
We work everyday to continue revolutionizing philanthropy and imagine a brighter future. As we look to the next 45 years and a horizon where we are no longer needed, we are proud and excited to announce that MRG Foundation is now Seeding Justice.
As we step into this new era, nourished by the past and energized and supported by those who came before us, we’re excited about the possibilities, opportunities, and learnings that lie ahead.
The spirit of MRG Foundation, the joy and hope of that gathering on the banks of the McKenzie River on that April weekend in 1976, has been and will always remain the bedrock upon which this organization was built.
Whether you have been with us along the way or are taking your first steps with us, we are honored to have you along on this journey and so grateful for your steadfast support. Together we will continue the fight for environmental, social, racial, gender, disability, and economic justice in communities across Oregon. This is the world we have been building for 45 years, and we cannot do it without you.
In love and solidarity,
The Seeding Justice Team: Se-ah-dom, Dena, Jude, Vio, Sam, Lindy and Sierra