November 15, 2022

OCF Invests in Thriving Entrepreneurs with $600,000 in Funding to Advance Economic Vitality in Oregon

Marcia McCoy with Designs By Le'yon, photo courtesy of Portland Indigenous Marketplace

Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Prioritized for OCF Support

Coinciding with National Entrepreneur’s Day, Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced $600,000 in grant funding to support “Thriving Entrepreneurs” throughout Oregon. OCF grants to 26 Oregon-based nonprofit organizations will provide mentoring, technical assistance, and access to capital for under-resourced entrepreneurs. These nonprofit organizations will support entrepreneurs around Oregon, with a focus on rural entrepreneurs, women and entrepreneurs of color.

“At Oregon Community Foundation we believe that philanthropy should play a key role in supporting entrepreneurship for economic vitality in Oregon,” said Megan Loeb, Senior Program Officer, Economic Vitality and Housing, Oregon Community Foundation. “Owning a small business is often a pathway for individuals and families to propel out of poverty. Supporting entrepreneurs, particularly entrepreneurs of color, women and those in rural communities, is an investment with significant returns for all of Oregon.” 

With National Entrepreneurship Month underway, Oregon Community Foundation is calling attention to small business innovation, particularly women, rural and minority-owned business ventures. Following is a snapshot of some of OCF’s 2022 Thriving Entrepreneur grantees helping to deliver innovation in Oregon:

Latino Business Alliance | $25,000

To support culturally specific business development training and technical assistance.

“This grant will provide invaluable startup capital for the Mid-Willamette Valley's working Latinx entrepreneurs, who have long been excluded from traditional lending options,” said Jose Gonzalez, Board Member, Latino Business Alliance.

Onward Eugene | $18,300

To support women entrepreneurs and a women-only pitch competition.

“The numbers don’t lie; female startup founders receive just 2% of all venture funding, 18% if you count mix gendered founding teams - even though women own 38% of all businesses,” shared Matt Sayre, Managing Director at Onward Eugene. “With the support of Oregon Community Foundation, Onward Eugene endeavors to address this inequity in funding for women entrepreneurs at a local level by eliminating gender bias in our annual pitch competition with a “female founders-only” category” Sayre added.

Portland Indigenous Marketplace | $25,000

To support Indigenous Community Circle programs.

"Receiving one of Oregon Community Foundation’s Thriving Entrepreneur's grant is especially important because that is exactly what we see in the amazing community of Indigenous and Black Entrepreneurs that this organization serves. We see thriving creativity and excellence,” said Lluvia Merello, Executive Director, Portland Indigenous Marketplace. “PIM serves over 100 artists and entrepreneurs and each one of them is thriving and breaking barriers, each one of them carry creativity and purpose in their work and we are so very honored and humbled to witness this all.”

XXcelerate | $25,000

Victoria Pustynsky, the CEO and Founder of Aurora Elixir. Photo courtesy of XXcelerate

To support coaching, mentoring, community, and education for rural Oregon female entrepreneurs. 

"A Thriving Entrepreneurs grant allows us to provide relevant, gender competent coaching, mentorship and education to build the capacity of women entrepreneurs growing and scaling their businesses in Oregon,” said Amy Jermain, Executive Director, XXcelerate. “With this support, XXcelerate can help catalyze meaningful growth so women have a better shot at attaining economic freedom and financial independence. Partnering with Oregon Community Foundation is instrumental in helping women become successful contributors to their communities and local economy."

See a complete list of OCF Thriving Entrepreneur grantees (as of November 15, 2022) online in OCF Press Room:

OCF’s Thriving Entrepreneurs Fund is open for contributions online at: