Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announces latest round of grants

By: Valerie Bauman - Jan 31, 2012
Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced its latest round of Pacific Northwest grants Tuesday, including more than $3.3 million for projects in Washington state.

The foundation awarded 58 grants for a total of $6.6 million to the Northwest region, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

The foundation has increased its emphasis on issues affecting Native American communities in this region, including a $240,000 grant to nonprofit lender Craft3 to support both technical assistance and a loan fund for Native entrepreneurs. The initiative focuses on building the economic strength of tribal communities to ensure that they can fully participate in the regional economy.

The foundation gave nearly $1 million to Native American communities in the five Northwest states.

“We didn't really set out to make grants in this particular area,” said Bill Vesneski, director of evaluation, planning and research. “What we found in the past couple of years is that grants in these areas, in tribal areas, have really emerged as some of the most innovative projects.”

The Allen Family Foundation has also made a significant contribution to the arts in Washington in this round of grants.

It dedicated about 40 percent of this round of Washington funds to art and cultural projects, including $500,000 to Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry; $50,000 to listener-supported radio station KEXP; $75,000 to the Seattle Opera Association; and $150,000 to support the 12th Avenue Arts building for the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation.

In an economic downturn, all nonprofits have been struggling to raise funds, but the arts have taken a particularly tough hit. Still, the foundation believes the philanthropic community has a responsibility to the arts because it is “nourishment for the soul,” said Sue Coliton, vice president of the foundation.

The Allen Family Foundation has also continued to place an emphasis on supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives. The organization is granting $400,000 to create a new school in the Lake Washington School District that will focus on training students in those skills.

Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen created the foundation with his sister, Jo Lynn Allen, in 1988. Since then, the Foundation has granted more than $438 million to at least 1,400 nonprofit groups.

Find a complete list of the foundation’s latest Northwest grants here.

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