Channel One Regional Food Bank Wins All-Star Grant

July 18, 2014

Baseball’s All-Star Game happened earlier this week in Minneapolis, and with it came the announcement of the nonprofit awarded the Twins “All-Star Fans Choose” grant.

Nearly 75,000 fans voted to help award the $500,000 grant, with Channel One Regional Food Bank ultimately selected. The food bank plans to use the $500,000 grant to add more than 20,000 square feet of warehouse space at its Rochester location and build a kitchen and classroom to better serve and feed people in need. Channel One serves 13 counties in Southeast Minnesota and LaCrosse County in Wisconsin and an average of 100,000 people a year.

Six other finalists were each awarded $50,000:

  • Camp Fire Minnesota in Chanhassen
  • Cookie Cart in Minneapolis
  • Hmong American Farmers Association in Vermillion
  • Madison Claire Foundation inWoodbury
  • Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in St. Michael
  • People Serving People in Minneapolis

The “All-Star Fans Choose” grant was part of an extensive legacy giving campaign, including the contribution of more than $8 million toward local projects and national charitable initiatives. This was made possible due to a partnership between MLB Charities, the Twins Community Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Congratulations to Channel One Regional Food Bank and all the finalists!


Giving USA Comes Bearing Good News!

June 19, 2014

gusaI attended the St. Paul stop on Giving USA’s 2014 road show this morning. There, Adam Wilhelm of Campbell & Company updated us on 2013 national giving trends, which can be summarized as good news.

According to Wilhelm and Giving USA 2014, total charitable giving in the U.S. rose 3% (adjusted for inflation) between 2012 and 2013 to $335.17 billion. This is an increase of 12% since the start of the Great Recession, and Wilhelm predicts the U.S. will pass the pre-recession high of $350 billion in charitable giving in a year or two.

Wilhelm says, “Wealthy individuals are feeling good about their accumulated wealth, so it is a good time to talk to them about their giving.”

According to Giving USA, wealthy donors are giving to their favorite charities — including universities, hospitals and arts institutions — so overall giving in those areas is up. Meanwhile, giving to social service and church groups — more dependent on the financially squeezed middle-class — is flat.

In 2013:

  • Giving by individuals — the largest slice of the pie at 72% — totaled $240.60 billion, up 2.7% over 2012.
  • Giving by foundations — now 15% of total giving — was up 4.2% to $48.96 billion. This increase was driven in part by a 10.5% increase in giving by community foundations.
  • Giving by bequest through a will or estate plan — 8% of the total — was up 7.2% to $27.73 billion.
  • Only corporate giving — 5% of the total — was down 3.2% to $17.88 billion, the result of a slow rate of growth in pre-tax corporate profits last year. Corporate trends of increased in-kind and global giving continue.

What Organizations are Benefiting?

  1. Religion was the top recipient of gifts, but total giving to religion continues to slide. It went down slightly in 2013 to 31% of the total or $105.5 billion, which represents the lowest percent given to religion in 40 years.
  2. Overall giving to Education increased by 7.4% (2013’s largest increase) to $52.07 billion.
  3. Giving to Human Services was fairly flat, increasing by .7% to $41.51 billion.
  4. Giving to Health was up by 4.5% to $31.86 billion.
  5. Giving to Public Affairs/Society Benefit (which includes giving to donor-advised funds) was up 7% to $23.89 billion.
  6. Giving to Arts, Culture and Humanities was up by 6.3% to $16.66 billion.
  7. Giving to International Affairs fell to $14.93 billion (due to fewer disasters worldwide in 2013).
  8. Giving to Animal Welfare and Environment increased to $9.72 billion (due to larger investments in climate change and anti-fracking initiatives).

Takeaways from event panelists included the following: 

  • Individual giving is a growth market. Giving by other sectors is not growing as quickly.
  • More and more often, individual donors are researching charities and want to see the impact of their gifts.
  • If your organization is not doing planned giving, it should at least be doing bequests. “It’s easy!”

Visit Giving USA for much more information or to purchase Giving USA 2014.

For more information on Minnesota giving, visit mcf.org/research

- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate

 



The Mortenson Family Foundation Seeks to Provide “A Better Chance”

May 29, 2014

7001552597_f784c2a642_zMCF member The Mortensen Family Foundation has opened an RFP for its A Better Chance grant program, to assist urban youth and families living in poverty in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This grant program is based on the foundation’s belief that:

  • Education is key to creating opportunities for parents, children and communities to thrive.
  • Educational achievement, alongside character development, happens through a comprehensive network of quality home, school and community support.
  • Continuous, intensive and relevant strategies along the cradle-to-career continuum of learning, or continuous, intensive and relevant support spanning consecutive years along this continuum, produces effective and sustainable outcomes.

To fulfill its goals, The Mortensen Family Foundation is seeking to partner with organizations that:

  • Serve youth and families living in poverty.
  • Deliver educational outcomes by providing high-achieving educational environments and connecting to youth and families’ homes, schools and communities.
  • Demonstrate strong program quality by using evidence-based strategies, evaluation processes.

Organizations may request up to $25,000 in program, project or unrestricted support. The foundation will not fund an entire project or organization budget, but prefers to be part of an effort supported by a number of sources.

Letters of Inquiry are due June 12. Read more about the program and how to apply on MCF’s website.

Photo cc Berkely Unified School District
  • Education is key to creating opportunities for parents, children and communities to thrive.
  • Educational achievement, alongside character development, happens through a comprehensive network of quality home, school and community support.
  • Continuous, intensive and relevant strategies along the cradle-to-career continuum of learning, or continuous, intensive and relevant support spanning consecutive years along this continuum, produces effective and sustainable outcomes.

- See more at: http://www.mcf.org/news/mortenson-better-chance#sthash.ABbtfNFk.dpuf


What Do the Latest Giving Trends Mean for Minnesota?

May 15, 2014

afpStaff of foundations and nonprofit organizations alike look to the annual Giving USA report for insights on the latest giving trends and what they mean for Minnesota.

Giving USA 2014 will be released on Tuesday, June 17, and the release will be quickly followed by “first look” events in seven cities — including St. Paul — across the nation.

If you’d like to be among the first to hear expert analysis and local perspectives on the 2014 findings, attend First Look: Giving USA 2014  presented by Campbell & Company in conjunction with the Association of Fundraising Professionals Minnesota (AFPMN).

The event in St. Paul will take place on Thursday, June 19, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., at the Town and Country Club, where a presentation of report findings will be followed by a moderated panel of local experts.

Registration is $20 for AFPMN members and $40 for non-members; breakfast is included. See afpminnesota.org/event/first-look-giving-usa-2014/ for details and a link to register.

The report is used by grantmakers and nonprofits to:

  • Benchmark fundraising performance against national data;
  • Plan for the future, based on long-term trends in giving;
  • Educate new staff members and board members in the broad context of philanthropic giving, so they have a better understanding of their organization’s funding patterns; and
  • Strengthen grantmaking and other philanthropic activities.

Giving USA: 2014 was compiled by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University for the Giving USA Foundation.

- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate


Take the First Step Toward Impact Investing

May 5, 2014

11697209523_14b9817f14_nThe Sundance Family Foundation (an MCF member) is on a journey toward impact investing. Since 2009, the small foundation has worked to incorporate socially responsible investments — investments that consider financial returns and social good — into their investment program. They’ve done so in stages and have learned a lot along the way.

MCF hopes other foundations considering similar investment strategies will learn from Sundance’s work. Outlined below is a very basic summary of the steps the foundation has taken since 2009.

Check Giving Forum (online and in your mailbox now) for a more complete article and follow online links to an even more detailed case study of the Sundance Family Foundation’s journey.

Step 1: Purchase a low risk program-related investment focused on community redevelopment after Hurricane Katrina

Step 2: Purchase a certificate of deposit from Sunrise Banks, a community development financial institution and an MCF member

Step 3: Find an investment firm willing to help establish socially responsible investment objectives

Step 4: Work with the firm to systematically identify and clarify investment goals and preferences

Step 5: Meet with the firm regularly to discuss opportunities, ensure shared understanding and increase investment in multiple types of socially responsible investment vehicles

Will you follow Sundance’s Lead?
Socially responsible investing is becoming more main stream and practical. Foundations like the Sundance Family Foundation are leading the way with its investments. Will your organization follow suit?

Learn more at the Mission Investor’s Exchange National Conference in the Twin Cities, May 13-15.

- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate

Photo cc LendingMemo

 

 


The “Secret Sauce” Behind McKnight’s Impact Investing Decision

May 1, 2014

Wolford_Kate_13Today on the blog we welcome Kate Wolford, president of The McKnight Foundation. McKnight’s board recently voted unanimously to develop an impact investing program. Here Kate explains the process behind the foundation’s decision to mobilize the “other 95%.” 

This March, McKnight announced its commitment to invest an initial $200 million, roughly 10% of current endowment assets, across four strands of impact investing. On the heels of a relatively quiet year of board and staff learning and program design, we have plunged into the vortex of an incredibly dynamic field of activity. I’ve been inundated with inquiries from prospective fund managers, invitations to a dozen seminars, and lots of related research.

Although the field is growing, impact investing is still finding its footing among foundations nationally. In a spirit of shared learning, I offer a few thoughts on how McKnight got to this point.

McKnight’s History
McKnight isn’t new to this arena. The Foundation made its first Program-Related Investments in the 1980s. Different from a grant, a PRI functions as a low-cost loan, provided at below-market rates to strengthen the recipient’s mission-focused work.

About five years ago, McKnight rebooted our PRI program — which by then had fallen somewhat dormant — and we’ve now invested about $21 million in PRIs aligned with goals in our Region & Communities and Mississippi River programs. (That’s in addition to grants totaling about $28 million last year across those programs.) Also, McKnight employs eight investment firms, representing over $1.3 billion of our portfolio, who are signatories of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

It’s Path to Today
A combination of factors led McKnight’s board of directors to embark on a systematic learning and program design agenda around impact investing in 2013, including:

  • A family foundation to the core, McKnight’s very active board still includes direct descendants of the founders. Fourth-generation family members are keen to align more endowment dollars with program goals, mobilizing our “other 95%” beyond grant dollars. (Federal tax laws require private foundations to distribute just 5% of net investment assets annually for charitable and administrative purposes.)
  • In 2012, McKnight adopted a Strategic Framework focused on strengthening our adaptive leadership and credible influence, and signaling impact investing as an emerging interest.
  • Among McKnight’s staff and some grantees, interest has been growing to explore more direct market-oriented levers for change, alongside our longstanding policy work.
  • Given the Foundation’s major program commitment to accelerate the Midwest’s transition to a low-carbon economy, as well as growing global efforts to shift incentives and investments away from fossil fuels, timing seemed right for us to explore related tools and opportunities.

Foundation-wide Engagement
Recognizing value in foundation-wide engagement, the board established a work group comprising our board chair, two directors who serve on McKnight’s Investment Committee, one director who does not serve on the Investment Committee, and several staffers representing key administrative, program and finance functions. During a year of intensive exploration, we learned about opportunities and challenges across asset classes, about the current field of impact investing, and about field enhancements philanthropy might be able to help incent or create. We explored a variety of ways to structure and staff a program.

And we sought out the informed wisdom of philanthropic colleagues; for example, former W.K. Kellogg Foundation president Sterling Speirn spoke with our full board about Kellogg’s experience in mission-driven investing.

Although the work group was most actively involved, its members updated our board at each quarterly meeting, and the board focused its annual retreat around the topic. One huge retreat outcome was unanimous board approval to develop an impact investing program composed of four stands with initial allocations of $50 million each — Mission-Related Investments (Public Markets), Mission-Related Investments (Private Markets), Mission-Driven Investments, and Program-Related Investments.

Conversations, Vigorous Debate, Thoughtful Implementation
These decisions were a long time coming and the result of deep learning and exhaustive conversations among our board and staff. Ultimately, I believe those conversations will emerge as our “secret sauce” — vigorous debate, and an inherent commitment to thoughtful implementation.

Although our process may at times feel like a constant churn of learning and refinement, we’ll do well to embrace this disruptive push and pull as precisely what it feels like to be adaptive leaders in emergent space.

Visit McKnight’s blog for a more detailed look at its process.



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