Where We Live: The Meyer Memorial Trust

Oregon

Meyer Memorial Trust built its new HQ in North Portland's Albina District

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fritz Grubmeyer had a dream. The German immigrant learned the grocery business from his father in New York City, moved west and eventually changed his name to Fred G. Meyer.

“He actually started out with just a small coffee shop and it ended up becoming the thing that we all know now — Fred Meyer,” said Michelle Depass with the Meyer Memorial Trust.

When Fred Meyer died in 1978 at age 92, his stock in ‘Fred Meyer’ established the Meyer Memorial Trust. It was worth $63 million at that time. It’s worth more than $1 billion now, making it among Oregon’s largest charitable organizations over its 39 years.

Fred Meyer in 1950 (Courtesy: Meyer Memorial Trust)

“Meyer Memorial Trust has already granted more than $800 million to our great state and its people,” Depass said.

Partnering with other non-profits, Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded money for everyting from wildfire relief to farmers in eastern Oregon, social service organizations like Self-Enhancement Inc., indigenous tribes including the Grand Ronde and Warm Springs and many more,.

Meyer’s only directive: “In all giving, give thought.”

“Issues of equity are the focus for the Meyer Memorial Trust,” she told KOIN 6 News.

The Meyer Memorial Trust in 2013 (Courtesy: Meyer Memorial Trust)

That’s why Meyer Memorial Trust built its new $15 million headquarters in North Portland’s Albina District, the historic home of Portland’s African American community.

Minorities worked on the environmentally conscious project. When the trust moves in in January, the building will also be a community space — a purpose Depass believes Fred Meyer would approve.

“I think that Fred G. Meyer is looking down and smiling at us now,” she said.

There’s an interactive map on the Meyer Memorial Trust website that shows specific organizations that have benefited from the trust’s donations.

The Meyer Memorial Trust is independent of the Fred Meyer Organization, which is now owned by Kroger.

A Fred Meyer store, circa 1930 (Courtesy: Meyer Memorial Trust)

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