WHO WE ARE
MERIT is a non-profit 501 (c)3 Internal Revenue Service designation and the only organization in Oregon certified to deliver the Kauffman Fasttrack small business training, we are located in Keizer in the center of the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon.
We are staffed by individuals that have experienced growing up in a low to moderate-income families. We are all bilingual and bicultural with a personal commitment to serving underrepresented individuals and families in underserved communities. The MERIT team in concert with the board have developed a Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) statement that that is engrained in our actions and embodies our combined personal experiences supported by the best practices of many individuals and organizations that support DEI.
MERIT’S Mission is to help people explore, launch and grow successful small businesses through training, support, financial education, access to capital and more.
We are currently expanding our effort to rural communities with populations of 30K or less. Our strategy is to begin by expanding into Umatilla, Malheur and Morrow counties in addition to Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. MERIT has been engaged in developing neighborhood businesses since 2008 in the surrounding rural communities in the Mid-Willamette Valley to include Woodburn, Independence, Dallas, Keizer, Salem and the surrounding area.
MERIT is continuously growing and making big impacts in our community. We take pride in our history and are excited about the future. Our mission, vision and values drive our dedicated staff and board to continue to serve our community with excellence. We appreciate our community partners and funders as we recognize that our impact would not be realized without their support. We are here to serve with open minds and open hearts.
At MERIT, Diversity Equity and Inclusion begins with the process accepting the richness we gain from the diversity of people from across different races’, age, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, migratory status, disability/abilities, political affiliation, Veteran status and socioeconomic background and allow ourselves to be transformed.
In accepting DEI and allowing ourselves to be curious and learn, we must be open to recognize the inequities and take swift action to remedy what we know must change. We will move forward in our work to ensure that our staff, clients, and stakeholders are actively engaged in our work in a manner that reflects their participation.
MERIT is committed to establishing an organizational culture that allows staff members to feel valued and supported in their professional and personal goals and inspired to learn. The Merit team believes that diversity is the foundation of curiosity and learning and to accept that notion we must open our hearts and minds to the uniqueness of the differences around us.