Become A Donor

Donors may establish funds or contribute to existing funds to meet nearly any type of charitable goals they might have. Types of funds are General/Unrestricted, Designated, and Donor Advised.

Oversight of all Salem Foundation distributions is provided by the Distribution Committee.  The Committee is made up of five local residents, each appointed by one of these: Oregon’s Governor, the Mayor of Salem, the Chair of the Marion County Board of Commissioners, the President of the Marion County Bar Association, and Pioneer Trust Bank.

General Fund/Unrestricted Funds

For donors who want to ensure their gifts are impacting our community’s greatest needs, a gift to the General Fund provides an excellent option. The General Fund is a permanent endowment that addresses the unmet needs of Salem.

Donors may also create a Named Unrestricted Fund which functions in the same manner as the General Fund.

Since 1930 the Salem Foundation has provided funding for a large variety of community based programs that serve the greater Salem area. In partnership with donors, the Salem Foundation supports nonprofit and other community organizations with funds for health and human services, affordable housing, youth enrichment and education, community arts and culture, and many other important areas of need.

Grants are awarded through a grant application process twice per year based on the decisions of the Salem Foundation Distribution Committee.

Designated Funds

Designated Funds are a very flexible vehicle and may be designated for nearly any charitable purpose the donor can imagine, as long as that purpose fits within the broader general guidelines of the Salem Foundation.

A donor may name one or more charitable beneficiaries, or may identify a class of beneficiary, to be the recipient(s) of monies distributed.

Distribution of funds may occur in a number of ways, the most common being distributing income earned by the fund or a percentage of the market value of the fund.

Donor Advised Funds

For donors who prefer a more active, hands-on approach to their giving, consider establishing a Salem Foundation Donor Advised Fund. The individual donor may give nonbinding advice to the Distribution Committee on projects to be funded within Committee Guidelines. Donor Advised Funds, since they are under the control of the Salem Foundation, are much simpler to administer than individual private foundations.

Gifts to the Salem Foundation

The Salem Foundation welcomes financial contributions from individuals, families, businesses and private foundations by cash donation, transfer of securities or other property, and through a will, trust agreement or life insurance policy.

Though the Foundation has been the fortunate recipient of numerous large donations, it also gratefully accepts modest gifts which will be added to the General Fund, directed to needs which genuinely benefit the community.

More Than $36 Million Distributed Since 1930

With over $34 million in assets under its umbrella and over $3.6 million distributed in the last fiscal year, the Salem Foundation is a vehicle for real change and impact at the community level.

Classified as a 501(c)(3) Public Charity, your gifts are tax deductible

The Salem Foundation accepts and distributes gifts from individuals, families and businesses for the benefit of Salem and the surrounding communities.

For more information or help with further questions about the Salem Foundation, please contact us: or 503-480-1946.

To learn more about the Trustee of The Salem Foundation, visit