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Building Trust and Community in Oregon

Meyer Memorial Trust


From 2018 to 2023, Spitfire supported the Meyer Memorial Trust’s (Meyer) strategic communications related to racial justice, environment, education, housing and community in Oregon. Between 2021 and 2023, Spitfire served as Meyer’s agency of record. In that time, Spitfire worked with Meyer leadership to navigate a number of leadership transitions and grantmaking shifts, while remaining responsive to pressing and ongoing community needs.

As the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and state violence against communities of color raged in 2020, Spitfire worked closely with leaders at Meyer to communicate the launch of the Trust’s largest-ever initiative, Justice Oregon for Black Lives, a five-year, $25 million dollar initiative committed to uplifting Black Oregonians and creating lasting structural and social change in the state. As this new fund developed, Spitfire was there to support Meyer program and communications staff and leadership in creating a call for proposals and accompanying FAQ, funding announcements and timely messages of reflection and solidarity with Oregon’s communities.


Spitfire began its partnership with Meyer when Michelle DePass joined the foundation as its new CEO in 2018. During DePass’s four years at the helm, Spitfire supported Meyer’s strategictransition toward equity and justice, helping to redefine, articulate and communicate the Trust’s new mission, vision and values, as its grantmaking shifted to push for a bold response to Oregon’s founding as a whites-only utopia. Over her tenure, DePass earned the title of “Game Changer” by 1859 Magazine and “2021 Executive of the Year” by Portland Business Journal.

When Meyer opened its new headquarters in Portland’s Historic Albina neighborhood, Spitfire acted as a thought partner to plan for ways that internal and external communication about the building, and the physical space itself, would reflect, amplify and cultivate Meyer’s values. And our partnership extends throughout the foundation. Spitfire worked with Meyer’s Building Community program team to produce a comprehensive report-out from a day-long meeting with grantees, capturing strategic direction on deep narratives and systems change needed to address structural racism in Oregon in 2020. 

Throughout our partnership, Spitfire supported Meyer in elevating its voice and communicating its values internally and externally. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Oregon, Spitfire acted quickly to provide counsel and action steps the foundation used to respond to grantees and stand with its community. We worked closely with Meyer to understand where and how the foundation can best use its voice to champion equity, partnering to land earned media coverage in the Oregonian and the Oregon Business Journal. Spitfire consistently supported Meyer’s responsiveness and communication in times of deep crisis – from climate chaos to white nationalist insurrection, a surge in hate, an historic uprising for justice, and the devastating impacts of the overturning of Roe v. Wade – while always calling attention to racial and gender violence and the legacy of colonialism and genocide


Spitfire services employed

Communication planning and execution


Thought leadership

Partner with Us

Issues Covered

Intersection with other issues (poverty alleviation, LGBTQ+, BLM)