July 2, 2012
An example of Duluth flood damage
We’ve all either experienced it first-hand or read the stories and seen the photos of the recent flooding in northeast Minnesota. Estimates come in at over $100 million for the the damage done to area homes, businesses and infrastructure.
Grantmakers in the region and around the state have mobilized to support the clean-up and rebuilding efforts. Among the activity we’re tracking at MCF:
- Northland Foundation, AgStar Financial Services, Blandin Foundation, and Great River Energy have established the Business Flood Recovery Fund. Businesses impacted by the flooding may apply for grants of up to $5,000 to replace or repair inventory, equipment, supplies and buildings. The Northland Foundation has set an initial goal of $300,000 for the fund and continues to fundraise.
- Northland Foundation has also made a $15,000 grant to support the relief efforts of the American Red Cross.
- The Deluxe Corporation Foundation has donated $25,000 to the Red Cross to help victims of flooding in the Duluth area, and it’s coordinating a drive to collect donations of bottled water and cash.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has donated $10,000 to the Duluth-area Red Cross and $5,000 to the Cannon Valley Trail.
- Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota has donated $25,000 to Salvation Army Duluth.
- Catholic United Financial Foundation is pairing with Nechama Jewish Response to provide volunteer support to area homeowners.
- Minnesota Power Foundation, RBC Foundation, Delta Dental of Minnesota, U.S. Bancorp Foundation and others are sponsoring the United Way of Greater Duluth’s Twin Ports Region Long Term Flood Recovery Fund, to help the unmet needs of residents when insurance, government or personal funds are insufficient to cover rebuilding or rehabilitation of homes.
For updates as MCF receives them, keep checking back on the Disaster Giving section of mcf.org. As the Star Tribune reminded us on Sunday, the Duluth area is still in need of donations and volunteers, and we can all play a part in supporting the recovery.
Photo cc BringMeTheNews
November 17, 2011
National Philanthropy Day is being celebrated in Minnesota this Friday, Nov. 18.
I’m thrilled to see that Minnesota Helps – North Minneapolis Recovery Fund will be awarded the “Outstanding Contribution to Philanthropy” award. It’s a well-deserved honor that comes just six months after a tornado slammed into the north side of our city. Thus far, the fund has provided $1,337,160 to assist the residents of North Minneapolis.
Shortly after the tornado hit, local foundations and the Greater Twin Cities United Way joined together to create the fund to quickly assist those directly impacted by the storm.
The effort has been led by the following partners, almost all of them members of MCF (marked with an asterisk).
- The Minneapolis Foundation*
- Greater Twin Cities United Way*
- Best Buy Corporation*
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation*
- CenturyTel, Inc.
- Cummins Foundation
- Faegre & Benson Foundation*
- George Family Foundation*
- The Grotto Foundation*
- James R. Thorpe Foundation*
- Land O’Lakes, Inc.*
- Lunds and Byerly’s
- McKnight Foundation*
- North Star Fund
- Park Nicollet Foundation*
- Pohlad Family Foundation
- The Saint Paul Foundation*
- TCF Foundation*
- US Bank – Private Client & Trust Services*
- Wells Fargo Foundation*
Many of these partners made large donations and also matched contributions from city residents and others who answered the call for assistance. GiveMN.org waived credit card fees on donations, so 100% of every donation went to help those in need.
Thanks to all of the funding partners and to those who contributed to the fund. We all make Minnesota a better place to live.
Funds Still Available
And, funds are still available for nonprofits, faith based organizations and public entities providing support and financial assistance to those most affected by this disaster. Learn more about how to apply for funds.
-Susan Stehling, communications associate
October 28, 2011
The last few years have seen extreme weather worldwide, and Minnesota is no exception, with record-breaking flooding across the state and tornadoes striking Wadena and North Minneapolis. Philanthropy has played a pivotal role in helping Minnesotans get back on their feet after these weather-related disasters. Recently, MCF members involved in these efforts came together to share stories and discuss what they’ve learned. Here are ten of the top takeaways for how to best respond when disaster strikes:
- Make sure that your own organization has a disaster/business continuity plan.
- Have conversations with your board and staff about disaster response and recovery at least annually and be prepared to think and act flexibly.
- If you are a community foundation, know how to activate on line and other donation mechanisms (like www.givemn.org) quickly.
- Have a basic understanding about the roles of local, state and national government agencies in your service area related to disaster. In Minnesota, a great resource is Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a division of the Department of Public Safety.
- Provide matching funds for fundraising efforts and have a plan for announcing those matches in the media.
- When raising donations or matching funds, convey that dollars will be used for both short and long term recovery needs. Long term recovery dollars are the hardest for communities to find (and you may want the flexibility to decide about “patient” capital later).
- Leverage (don’t duplicate) short term resources that will be available if a disaster occurs including Red Cross, Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, Catholic United Finance Foundation.
- Consider how disaster recovery and community rebuilding aligns with your existing grantmaking priorities (you might be surprised!) and what you can do to shorten forms, expedite approval procedures and simplify reporting requirements while supporting relief work.
- Support the MNVOAD (Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) framework for organizing community based planning and response.
- Reach out to colleagues (especially those at foundations who have been thrust into disaster grantmaking by chance rather than choice) and don’t forget about these resource organizations for tools and best practices: Council on Foundations, Minnesota Council on Foundations, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
Join the conversation: Has your organization been involved in disaster response? What would you add to this list?
Stephanie Jacobs, MCF director of member services
Photo cc biondisign
October 26, 2011
Read the fall issue of Giving Forum for an update on what’s happening at Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, where grantmaking has started in the areas of Environment; Relief, Recovery and Development; and Arts and Cultures.
- Environment: Grants made in June focus on land-use solutions in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and neighboring Great Bear Rainforest in Canada; also Micronesia, to support efforts to preserve coral reefs and land-based resources. The next grants likely will be made in Asia, focused on marine- and land-use in Indonesia and Cambodia. Watch for a local subprogram focus on connecting youth with the outdoors.
- Relief, Recovery and Development: First “rapid response” grants made in September 2011 to Midwest community foundations, to help residents affected by flooding and tornadoes.
- Arts and Cultures – Native Arts, Teacher Education, and Folk Art: Organizations working on Native Arts in the Pacific Northwest are now being invited to apply for grants from the Native Arts program. Those doing similar work on Native Arts in the upper Midwest, including Minnesota, will soon be invited to apply.
Other program areas that the organization will address are under development. They will include: Aging services; children and families; animal welfare; and planned health.
Most, if not all, of these areas will include a component of local giving. Terry Meersman, vice president of programs for Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, explains:
“We’re clear about our program areas, and we’re clear there will be local giving. As much as possible, we’d like to be consistent in the areas we’re defining for national and global giving, but until we have things laid out completely, it’s hard to say that there will be an exact parallel structure locally.”
Read the Giving Forum article for much more information.
- Susan Stehling, communications associate
August 29, 2011
Thousands of families in the Horn of Africa are suffering and in need of hunger relief because of an ongoing drought that is the region’s worst in decades. Several MCF members are responding with donations to partner organizations providing on-the-ground assistance:
- The Mosaic Company has posted a $100,000 matching grant for the Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee to GiveMN. Every donation to ARC will be matched by Mosaic, with transaction fees also covered, allowing donors to double their impact. Donate now through GiveMN.
- The General Mills Foundation is donating $100,000 to the American Refugee Committee’s efforts, in the form of an initial $50,000 donation plus an offer to match donations from other Twin Cities companies up to $50,000.
- In response to the General Mills matching offer, Best Buy is donating $50,000 and carrying the matching challenge forward, with an additional $50,000 available to be matched.
- The Cargill Foundation has made a $100,000 donation to its longtime partners, CARE and the World Food Programme, two global organizations that fight hunger and poverty and are deeply involved in the Horn of Africa crisis.
MCF has set up a page to track grantmaker responses to the famine as we hear about them. Check back at mcf.org for further updates.
May 25, 2011
Hundreds of north Minneapolis residents have been left without permanent housing after Sunday’s deadly tornado. Minnesota grantmakers are mobilizing to collect funds and coordinate services to support those affected.
Here’s a sample of how MCF members have helped thus far:
- The Minneapolis Foundation, The United Way Twin Cities and other funding partners have set up a North Minneapolis Fund to match public giving up to $200,000 at giveMN.org. Read the complete news release.
- General Mills Foundation has committed $75,000 to support immediate response efforts in Missouri and Minnesota. Read more.
- Target Corporation has donated $50,000 in monetary support and product to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Read more.
- Mosaic has donated $25,000 for tornado relief efforts. Read more.
- Updates on aid as it is provided and how you can donate,
- Volunteer opportunities and where your help is needed,
- Assistance available to residents and small businesses in the affected areas.
May 13, 2011
In a crisis, good communication is more important than ever. Here’s an emergency scenario along with “steps to a solution” suggested by a group at a recent meeting of the MCF ComMotion Network: “Keep it Creative: Producing Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Run-of-the-Mill Communications Issues.”
Your foundation is hosting a two-day meeting of 100 grantees and your board of directors. The foundation is footing the bill for all expenses. The meeting is being held at a Twin Cities metro area hotel and grantees are flying in from all over the country. Some are bringing family and extending their stay – before or after the meeting. The program includes four popular and well paid keynote speakers.
The evening before the meeting, the hotel experiences a fire that puts it out of commission. You, as communications lead, learn about the fire at 2 a.m. What do you do to inform guests of this incident and set up “Plan B” for the meeting?
Steps to a solution:
- Activate your command team (should include communications, project lead, finance person with access and authority to make financial transactions, logistics person)
- Check with hotel regarding their crisis plan, their back-up space and transportation details
- Immediately update websites (hotel, foundation, conference, etc.) and phone messages
- Determine a physical staging site and use it until all participants can be transported to the new meeting location
- Dispatch someone to the airport to meet those whose itineraries you know
Ideally good communication and preemptive responses will ensure that there is minimal interruption. And while you need to be aware of legal and medical implications of communications, you must communicate.
Take a look at how the Northwest Area Foundation communicated the release of, “Gaining Perspective: Lessons Learned From One Foundation’s Exploratory Decade”. And check out Sylvia’s related post at “Transparency: A Risky Business”.
– Sylvia Burgos Toftness, Northwest Area Foundation
This is the third in a series of posts from MCF’s recent ComMotion meeting. Look for the next posting on Engaging Employees in a National Community Giving Program on Friday, May 20.
April 13, 2011
As the spring thaw threatens to raise rivers to record flood levels, Minnesota nonprofits and grantmakers are proactively mobilizing to ensure the smooth flow of philanthropic support to relief organizations within local communities.
The Minnesota Council on Foundations is supporting these efforts by hosting conversations with grantmakers and nonprofit allies, and also by publicizing news updates about activities that foundations, corporate grantmakers and their nonprofit partners are undertaking.
You can keep up-to-date with the latest resources and information on the spring floods specifically at the new mcf.org. In addition to disaster-specific information, we also have a general Disaster Giving page where resources can be found both for funders as well as individual donors on how to give responsibly and effectively in times of immediate need.
To stay in tune with all reporting by MCF on disaster giving, you can drill-down into the “disaster” category at mcf.org/news or subscribe to the RSS feed for disaster giving updates. As always, grantmakers who wish to send in their updates can submit their information to us via the website or e-mail.