MERIT is a non-profit located in the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon. 

We respond to poverty by empowering economically, socially, and physically challenged individuals to increase self-sufficiency and build personal and business assets. ​

Our mission is to help people explore, launch, and grow successful small businesses through training, support, financial education, access to capital, and more.

We have been developing neighborhood businesses since 2008 in Salem and the surrounding rural communities in the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

MERIT is continually 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.


MERIT was created in response to the socio-economic challenges of communities within the Willamette Valley region. We have seen and recognized the barriers that keep people from building financial success. We work to dismantle the systems that actively obstruct the prosperity of historically marginalized people in our community.​

MERIT fosters the financial, emotional, and individual empowerment of all people while honoring the sacrifices made and challenges faced by underrepresented people working towards a better future. 

Recognizing the intersectional needs of our clients, we teach self-advocacy and empower families to build generational wealth and create more equitable communities.​

MERIT’s approach is informed by a continuous, active evaluation of our efforts’ impacts. We are committed to reflecting the diversity of our community on our board and staff and continuously learning ways to expand inclusivity and equity.