May 6, 2013
How much do you know about The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota?
In 1944, Jay and Rose Phillips started the foundation to help those living in poverty and to fight discrimination. The foundation honors that legacy and continues to gives back to the community, even as it looks to new models of addressing the issues to accomplish its ultimate goal. We sat down recently with Patrick Troska, executive director, to learn more.
Watch the video to hear about the foundation’s new focus on impacting community issues and how it leverages its resources to do so. And look for more videos with Minnesota’s philanthropic leaders to come!
-Chris Oien, MCF web communications associate
May 3, 2013
Don’t miss MCF’s spring issue of Giving Forum, online now and in your mailbox soon, for a close look at how the Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation, a small Minnesota-based family foundation, is using focus and evaluation throughout its grant process to make a real difference in the community.
Here is a brief summary:
- Discuss indicators of success , ensuring they remain relevant, measurable and within the foundation’s control.
- Check each letter of inquiry for fit against the foundation’s mission, priorities and indicators of success.
- If it looks like a fit, request a proposal with specifics on the program and the organization’s financial health and capacity.
- If that checks out, visit the potential grantee.
- When a grant ends, receive a final report from each grantee.
- Track outcomes and lessons learned.
For much more detail, see Giving Forum and ”Continual Learning Through Intention and Evaluation,” by Colleen O’Keefe, executive director, Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation.
- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate
April 29, 2013
The Cultural Data Project (CDP) — now in use by 7 Minnesota-based funders and 200 Minnesota arts and culture organizations — can lead to better arts organizations. In addition, use of the CDP can help foundations and corporate giving programs streamline their grantmaking and help nonprofits better understand their programmatic and financial health.
When the CDP launched in Minnesota on June 1, 2012, MCF members The McKnight Foundation and Target were the first two Minnesota-based funders to require that grantees enter data in the CDP.
Their early and enthusiastic support has resulted in data collection from several hundred arts organizations in less than a year. And, naturally the more funders that require grantseekers to use CDP, the richer the database and its usefulness for grantmakers, grantseekers and arts advocates.
While writing an article for the spring issue of Giving Forum, online now and in your mailbox soon, I was surprised by one example of CDP data use from Michigan.
In 2012, ArtServe Michigan, Michigan’s statewide arts organization, used CDP and other data to demonstrate that for every $1 invested by the state, the arts sector contributed $51 to the state’s economy. That informed efforts to increase arts funding and led to the tripling of the budget appropriation for Michigan’s arts board.
Wow! Think what that might mean for Minnesota in a few short years.
To learn more, don’t miss “Good Data Can Create Better Arts Organizations” in the spring issue of Giving Forum.
- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate
April 19, 2013
Don’t miss the spring issue of MCF’s Giving Forum, where our brand new lead article represents a complete conversation we had with program officers: “Gauging Impact and Using Feedback.” In addition we’ve re-posted the video segment that you may have seen on the Philanthropy Potluck Blog, Pollen or MinnPost.
But Giving Forum online is the only place to both read the article and watch the video.
In the pieces, program officers from MCF-member foundations answer questions about:
- how they evaluate grants and grantees,
- how they obtain and use grant results,
- what they’ve changed based on grantee feedback,
- how they share the results,
- why they think it is important for nonprofits to build evaluation into their work and more.
The insights of program officers from the following foundations are included:
How do you use evaluation at your foundation or nonprofit? Let us know.
- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate
April 10, 2013
This week MCF member The McKnight Foundation announced a new strategic focus to make the Midwest a leader in addressing climate change.
The new Midwest Climate & Energy program complements over 20 years of McKnight support for renewable energy in Minnesota and the Midwest. Aimee Witteman will direct the new initiative.
“Over the past five years, McKnight has invested over $60 million globally through the ClimateWorks Foundation network, which has yielded major advances in carbon reduction and helped draw other funding into key areas around the world,” noted Kate Wolford, foundation president. “Now building on the Foundation’s history as a place-based funder, we will concentrate attention and funding in the Midwest.”
“America’s Midwest contributes 22 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the national average,” explained McKnight board chair Ted Staryk. “With the right vision and collaboration, we have an opportunity now to use the Midwest’s industries, geography, and bipartisan political will to our advantage for greater economic prosperity and an overall better regional future.”
$25 Million in Grants Announced
McKnight is jumpstarting the Midwest Climate & Energy program with $25 million in funding to two key partners:
- RE-AMP received $5 million over two years to promote policies in the Upper Midwest that advance clean energy and combat climate change. A grantee since 2004, RE-AMP is a network of more than 150 nonprofits and 14 foundations working in eight Midwest states to reduce pollution that causes climate change.
- Energy Foundation, San Francisco, received $20 million over two years to win new clean energy policies in the Midwest and reshape the national narrative around energy and climate. McKnight has partnered with EF since 1993, with a primary focus on public policies to encourage markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Public, Private Integrated Approach
McKnight’s climate-related work will engage the region’s public and private leaders, decisionmakers, and communities. Key objectives are:
- Climate and energy policy: Support for grantees and networks to advance related Midwest policies in energy generation, efficiency, transmission, agriculture, and transportation.
- Community engagement: Support to advance community-level efforts that promote energy and transportation efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Resilient clean energy economy: Support to facilitate private-sector leaders and networks to develop, promote, and implement climate and energy objectives for the Midwest.
For more, read the Star Tribune’s coverage of the announcement or visit The McKnight Foundation website.
February 28, 2013
It’s time to tell The McKnight Foundation about your favorite artists — those who you believe have really made an impact in Minnesota. McKnight is accepting nominations for its 16th Distinguished Artist Award, with a $50,000 prize for the winner.
Annually the award honors one artist who has had a substantial impact on the arts in Minnesota over his or her lifetime. Artists in all disciplines—including ceramics, dance, film, literature, music, theater and visual arts—may be nominated.
After nominations are received, a panel with representatives from a variety of artistic disciplines who are well versed in the history of the arts in Minnesota reviews nominations and recommends a candidate to the foundation’s board of directors. Considerations include the quality of an artist’s work, the artist’s commitment to his or her field and ways the artist has enriched life for audiences and the community.
Past winners include:
Learn more about the award and how to make your nomination at The McKnight Foundation website.
Start thinking now! Nominations are due March 31.
January 23, 2013
In an open letter to its grantees and program partners, The McKnight Foundation announced its grantmaking plans for 2013.
These plans includes core giving of $79 million in the coming year, about on par with previous years, as the foundation continues to recover from the economic downturn. McKnight will also finalize $25 million in grants that will go toward addressing climate change and developing renewable energy.
The foundation also celebrated some key 2012 achievements, and tied them back to its new strategic framework grounded in adaptive leadership, meant to infuse new agility in how the foundation serves the community. These 2012 milestones include:
- Co-funding a University of Minnesota report on ensuring a network of 14 Twin Cities transitways planned for 2030 reaches its full potential.
- New grants to Twin Cities school districts and charter schools to create a seamless pipeline from pre-kindergarten through grade 3, and increase the percentage of successful third grade readers. McKnight also funded a case study that examines the impact in Minnesota from investments in early education.
- Loans that helped the State of Louisiana purchase coastal wetlands important to the native environment.
- The launch of the State of the Artist blog, which provides a new platform for important conversations about and among regional and national thought leaders in the arts.
Congratulations to The McKnight Foundation on these accomplishments, and on the recent launch of its new website! You can head over to it to read President Kate Wolford’s full open letter.