The General Fund Grantmaking Committee evaluate proposals for the two General Fund cycles each year. This committee is responsible for the majority of our grassroots grantmaking, distributing $450,000 each year.
Asa is an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes and was born and raised in southern Oregon. He is an artist, designer, activist, and social entrepreneur. Asa worked in the public health field for the last 12 years with non-profit organizations who serve urban and reservation based Native American populations. He believes in the power and resiliency of culture, culture as prevention, healing and its necessity for future innovation, and positive social change. In 2010, he founded Portland Two Spirit Society to create a safe space for Two Spirits and their families to connect, restore, and reclaim their traditional role within the Native community.
“I am dedicated to work for positive social change, equity, and justice for all communities.”
Bruce has worked for the Central Oregon community and social justice groups as an organizer, executive, and developer since 2002. He has served as Executive Director for Human Dignity Coalition, coordinator at the Central Oregon Social Justice Center, and currently as Development and Programming Director at KPOV in Central Oregon. He has a law degree and practiced law for many years. After 15 years as a corporate attorney the injustice he was facilitating became unbearable. He decided to devote his life to working for justice and supporting the inspiring people who have dedicated their careers to furthering community.
“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.” Rumi
Kathy is a disabled cultural activist and social worker. She works as the Artistic Director of the Disability Art and Culture Project (DACP), where she works for inclusion and equity in the arts and fosters disability culture and pride. She first started dancing with the New Dance Company in Stockton, California. When she moved to Portland, she had trouble finding accessible and welcoming places to dance, which motivated her, along with other Portland area disabled dancers to found the DACP. Prior to DACP, she worked for over 20 years in the area of non-profit and social services in variety of roles that provided her with a rich set of experiences and skills.
Shaun is a regional organizer for the OR AFL-CIO based in Ashland. He is a graduate of Southern Oregon University where he studied business and environmental studies. In 2011, as the director of sustainability for student government, Shaun helped create the SOU Green Fund. This fund drove the university to invest student dollars into local energy, water, and campus sustainability projects. The fund also established three new solar installations on campus and launched the SOU Sustainability Center. Shaun was also a founding member of Rogue Climate, a MRG grantee. His work on environmental issues through student government and his dedication to community activism led Shaun to become highly active in economic and social justice issues across Oregon.
“I’m looking forward to supporting grassroots leadership in our communities that will work together to create systematic change.”
Lisa is a second generation Jewish Immigrant whose ancestors escaped Russia in fear of prosecution and genocide. Grounded in her roots, Lisa took her first public risk for human rights when, as a university professor, she challenged the unequal treatment of women faculty in the tenure and promotion process. That challenge resulted in significant change to ensure gender fairness. This passion continued over time and is the driver in her current work as the Executive Director at Beyond Toxics, in Eugene Oregon. At Beyond Toxics, Lisa is working to grow the environmental justice movement in Oregon and embed human rights and social justice in all environmental laws.
“Each time I read through a grant submitted to MRG, I feel honored to be a witness to the sweeping vision and revitalizing work that is the progressive force for Oregon’s future!”
The Travel/Critical Response Grantmaking Committee members review proposals for Travel and Critical Response grants within days of receiving them to provided much-needed support on a tight timeline.
Tova is passionate about bringing communities together and guiding them towards action for real change. She has realized this passion through a collection of diverse professional pursuits including: serving as a Community Organizer and Communications Director for Oregon Rural Action, in La Grande, working for the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Defend Oregon, and Bark in Portland, and volunteering for different organizations in Peru, Guatemala, and Israel. These experiences have broadened Tova’s perspective, shown her the value of supporting change-makers, and inspired her to become an MRG Foundation Grantmaker.
Penny has volunteered for MRG Foundation since 2000 as a general fund grantmaker, critical response and travel fund grantmaker, and a development support advisor. Penny has lived with her family at “The Hill,” a managed forest in Lookingglass, Southwest Oregon for over 40 years. She was a founder of Umpqua Watersheds and served as the first executive director for over 14 years, retiring from Umpqua Waterseds in 2007. She continues as a volunteer on the organization’s Outside In Corps of Advisors. When she’s not at “The Hill” Penny resides in Cahuita, Limon, Costa Rica with her husband John.
Ari Rapkin has worked for social justice in a few different ways, especially in domestic violence intervention, housing rights for low-income folks and LGBTQ rights. He is currently exploring how physical play and creativity can make change in the world.
Esther Stutzman is Coos and Komemma Kalapuya and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. She lives in Yoncalla, Oregon. Esther is the chair of Komemma Cultural Protection Association which is dedicated to researching the Kalapuya Peoples. Esther is a traditional storyteller and history keeper. She works as an artist-in-residence with art associations throughout Oregon and is a cultural resource consultant for Title IX Indian Education Programs in many locations within the state. She has been an elementary and secondary teacher, a cultural curriculum developer, university lecturer and is currently working on a Kalapuya curriculum.