The Oscar G. and Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation was established in 1965 as a way to improve the communities where the company had a presence and where family members lived. Over time, the Foundation expanded its reach as it identified specific initiatives the Foundation members chose to support. For many of its 50+ years, the Foundation has funded grants that provided opportunities for disadvantaged youth and early childhood development as primary recipients of its financial support. In addition to these, which have been priorities for many years, in recent years the younger members of the Foundation have taken an interest in expanding our outreach to include initiatives that address community challenges such as “at-risk” youth, families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness and environmental concerns.
A third initiative of the Oscar G. and Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation, as is the case with many family foundations, is to encourage and support the individual philanthropy of its members. Requests can be made to the board by individual members for a direct contribution or a match for a contribution they themselves have made.
Recently, the Oscar G. and Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation was included in a list of individuals and organizations in a blog posted on the website of the Washington Post. These organizations had been identified and labeled as ‘enemies of equality’ by an activist group known as Freedom for All Americans (FFAA). The FFAA accused these organizations of being funders of legislative initiatives across the country which have the effect of denying rights to people whose rights are protected under the law, and specifically LGBT communities. The donations which caused the Foundation to be identified by the FFAA were directed by an older member of the family who has strongly-held, faith-based, conservative values. The total of the gifts over three years was $45,000 and represented less than 1.5% of the total financial support given over those three years (about $3.2million) to all the other charitable organizations the Foundation has supported.
It is not the practice or intention of the Mayer Family Foundation to support organizations which discriminate. In fact, our Foundation is committed to promote equity and opportunity for all. That is how the business (Oscar Mayer Foods) has operated for the 98 years it was managed by the Mayer family. That is how the Foundation will continue its good work in the future.
The Foundation’s Board has responded to both the Washington Post and FFAA to assure them that the Mayer Family Foundation is not in the practice of discrimination; rather that “the Foundation is committed to promoting equity and opportunity for all”. Neither the members request nor the donation itself represent – and it is untruthful to construe that they represent – the overall values of our Family Foundation.
Our Family Foundation welcomes your inquiries. If you have questions or concerns about this situation, please click on the ‘About’ tab on this website and then click the ‘Contact Us’ tab to send your questions or concerns to us directly.
From the Exec. Director Rudy Espinosa at LURN
LURN Capital – Our work is going well. The last quarter of 215 and the first quarter of 2016 was dedicated to beefing up our internal capacity to do lending. We not only developed a strong set of loan policies and procedures, we also hired a full time associate, a part-time under-writer, and outreach workers to assist us in building a pipeline of entrepreneurs. We’re also hosting orientation workshops a couple of times of month with small groups of entrepreneurs interested in learning more about our micro-finance initiatives. Last week, we closed our 4th loan (to a street vendor who sells gelato ice cream and is interested in expanding her capacity and introducing healthier flavors), and this week we’re working on closing our 5th loan to a family-owned business called Tacos Arabes. They’re locally famous, though they’ve struggled to obtain capital to increase their operation. Our capital will help them purchase an additional truck so they can have two locations instead of one. (They’re dream is to have their own brick and mortar restaurant)
On the micro-equity side, we’ve continued to plow ahead in closing our first equity deal. The legal work required was certainly under-estimated, but our pro-bono legal team is confident that documents like our operating agreements, term sheets, etc. can be templates for future deals. Our first deal, Karina Jimenez from Viva los Cupcakes, just created her own LLC (Dulce Empresas, LLC) that will be the partner in our joint venture. I have a dinner meeting with our second entrepreneur, Oscar Ochoa, this Thursday evening that I hope will conclude with an agreement. I hope that his company, El Machete Chili Sauces, will be our second investment. As we move forward, one thing i’m foreseeing before the year ends is the need for more capital to lend and invest. I plan on beginning to “fundraise” in this respect later this summer with financial institutions and other intermediaries who may be able to provide Program-Related Investments or other low-cost debt so we can get it out to people.
Lastly, COMPRA Foods, our purchasing cooperative is doing well. We were able to leverage support from donors like the Oscar Mayer Foundation to receive additional resources from the Ahmanson Foundation so we can purchase a van. This will double our capacity to deliver produce to small, community stores that buy from us. We also just sealed a partnership with another community-based organization who is going to help us recruit an additional 20 stores to our roster of 12.