As 2020 comes to a close, we reflect on an unprecedented year that will surely have a lasting impact on our community for years to come. The COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement and historic wildfires illuminated the economic and social disparities many Oregonians experience due to poverty and systemic racism.
Over the last several years, we have put more intention toward investing in community-based organizations working to improve economic prosperity for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and rural communities. The events of this year have made it clear we have more work to do as a community to have difficult conversations, build coalitions and dismantle deeply rooted systems that continue to hold people back.
While staying true to our mission, we did our best to listen and respond to the needs of our community by increasing our grantmaking by 50 percent, resulting in grants totaling more than $1.7 million in 2020. We acted urgently and provided more flexibility in supporting nonprofits on the front lines helping Oregonians who were upended by the uncertainty created by COVID-19, wildfires, and other unexpected challenges.
We joined our philanthropic partners by contributing to pooled funds for greater impact and encouraged grant recipients to use PGE Foundation funds for general operating expenses and flexible program support. And driven by our commitment to equity, about 27 percent of our funding was granted to culturally-specific organizations.
We are inspired by the resiliency of our community and thank all our nonprofit and philanthropic partners for their compassion and leadership.
As we move forward, our new chair, former PGE CEO Peggy Fowler, will lead our work equitably serving Oregon families, following in the footsteps of our founding chair, Gwyneth Gamble Booth, who will continue to serve as emeritus board member.
We are honored to be a part of a community that pulls together during tough times and stands up for what’s fair and just.
From all of us at the PGE Foundation, we wish you a new year full of new possibilities.