12.21 Fluff Free News Digest

Fluff-Free Fundraising

SERVING YOUR TIME?

Saint Peter of Pearly Gates fame met a woman at the applicant’s entrance. Saint Peter looks her up in the yearbook, and says, “You don’t belong here, you belong in hell.” She sighs and turns to go. But then Peter says, “However, I see you’ve spent your career in fundraising. So, we’ll call it time served. Welcome to heaven.”

PEOPLE AND POSITIONS

WHITE SMOKE FROM THE MCKNIGHT CHIMNEYS! – “The McKnight Foundation is thrilled to announce that

TONYA ALLEN will lead the Foundation as president, effective March 1, 2021. Allen comes to McKnight as a distinguished leader in philanthropy, most recently as president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation in Detroit. “Tonya is a dynamic and innovative leader who builds on the strength of McKnight’s long family history, values, and grantmaking,” said Noa Staryk, McKnight’s incoming board chair. “With her integrity, her brilliance, and her proven track record, we have complete confidence in Tonya as a trusted, capable, impactful leader who will move our mission forward.”

AP and our friends in Detroit agree that the Skillman Foundation, under the direction of Ms. Allen, is doing a great job in Detroit, during this particularly rough time. We look forward to watching her work with the Foundation and her new community. Welcome to an interesting community, Ms. Allen!

McKnight also announced SARAH CHRISTIANSEN is the new Program Director of its Midwest Climate & Energy program. A lot of different people at McKnight this year!

ACROSS THE METRO, BREMER PEOPLE STAY IN PLACE

In the Meantime, the Judge rules the Bremer trustees can keep their jobs. But NO MORE RAISES and no more “LET’S SELL THE PLACE” language. At least for now.

Nationally, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced JUSTIN GARRETT MOORE a new Humanities in Place program officer. Watch this combination of Humanities and Place-based grantmaking . It will continue to grow and many visual and performing arts groups in the Twin Cities will be involved.

Headwaters, Margaret Cargill, and In-Faith Community Foundation are looking for Associates.

Judge Shaun Floerke was named President/CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. Access Philanthropy is particularly pleased with this choice, as we were involved in the search process. Good luck, Judge Floerke. It was great working with the DSACF folks.

Ciresi Walburn Foundation reports they granted more than $2 million in their first year as an independent grantmaking operation. For them, just as important was the messaging and reporting they have been doing on education inequities in Minnesota. Have you seen their billboards?

George Soros’ Open Society Foundation has a new incoming president – Mark Malloch-Brown. He’s a British Lord, journalist by trade, and has worked with the UN for years. He is old friends with George.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation did a nice short piece on how significant program areas are now responding to DEI.

Performing Arts Program Director Emiko Ono and Program Officer Adam Fong on changes in our grantmaking strategy to better support equity and justice and help ensure the arts are an enduring part of our communities.
U.S. Democracy Program Officer Jean Bordewich on how the pandemic forced Congress to modernize, and what’s in store for the future.
Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing and Program Officer Jane Flegal explain why the United States should build back better in a call for post-COVID, climate-forward policy published this summer.

THE SAINT PAUL TRIO PLAYS JANUARY 12

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and partners ― the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation ― will open the first cycle of 2021 grantmaking later this month. Grant apps for this cycle open on December 15 and close on January 12 at 3 p.m.

“All three Foundations will consider funding for general operating, program, and capital support. Because each foundation has unique funding priorities and geographic focus areas, we encourage you to visit all of the organizations’ websites to view the full grant guidelines and speak with a Grant Team member prior to submitting your application.”

MACKENZIE SCOTT (BEZOS)

Did you see Access Philanthropy’s special report by all-knowing Research Director, Jana Simmons’ on Mackenzie Scott’s giving, and the grantmaking patterns of mega-mega foundations? Thought-provoking stuff, whether you’re interested in mega-mega grantmakers or not. The report is on the Access Philanthropy website, and has picked up 3,000 viewers (so far) on LinkedIn.

WARREN BUFFETT, THE SAGE OF OMAHA

Interesting little news bit. Mr. Buffett (major donor to Gates Foundation and four mega family foundations) is now investing heavily in pharma (no big surprise), but at the same time, he is disinvesting in banking. Hmm. Does he know something we don’t? And if so, will what he knows affect the banking industry’s grantmaking?

SPEAKING OF SHIFTS IN BANKING – TCF IS … WHAT NOW?

The TCF parent company merged with another banking company, Huntington Bank of Columbus, Ohio. Two not-so-good pieces of news: 1) Huntington has a less-than-desirable charitable giving record, and 2) the HQ will be mostly in Columbus, Ohio. The name will be changed to Huntington. So, if you are expecting years of future giving from TCF, maybe you should make other plans. What about the stadium? (Huntington Field?)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: SMALL FAMILY FOUNDATIONS’ TRENDS AND WORRIES

The National Center for Family Philanthropy recently hosted an online seminar on the future of family foundations. They made interesting observations that matched many of the concerns we hear from Minnesota family foundations, including questions, such as
What’s our role in the changes that our community and our near-in neighbors want to see happen (COVID-19 and DEI)?
What are our hesitations to engage in this work?
What fears do we have about moving forward with this work? Fear of failure? Fear of letting go of control? Fear of risk?
How fluid can we be about
o Use of capital (donor advised funds, loans, investments)?
o Funding processes and procedures (fluid deadlines, grant applications, general operating)?o Funding criteria (not just for high-level performing arts, but also for community arts)
Should we consider using different sets of decision-makers (outside trustees) or more than one funding program?
Should we collaborate with other funders, or partner with grantees (Microgrants model)?

Some researchers are finding funders, especially larger staffed foundations, are interested and may have already implemented changes in procedures and priorities. For most of the smaller foundations with whom we’ve engaged, there have been plenty of conversations, but no real changes just yet.

IN CASE YOU’RE STAYING UP AT NIGHT WONDERING…

PANTONE, the folks who determine which color will be most popular next year (there really is someone who does that), decided to have TWO colors next year, Illuminating (yellow) and Ultimate Grey.

NEED A QUICK FUNDERS LIST FOR YOUR YEAR-END APPEAL?

Access has more than 200 subscribable funder lists, from our most popular MN PLUS and MN Small Family Foundations, to smaller lists such as Funders in Minnetonka/Wayzata and Empowerment Funders. Drop our FLG (funder list guru) Mary Anne Welch an email. She can set you up for a reasonable low price!

NEED A QUICK YEAR-END ASK?

Walmart Foundation Deadline – December 31. “Walmart is accepting applications to its Community Grant Program. Through the program, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of local 501 (c) 3 organizations within the service area of individual Walmart or Sam’s Club stores for projects that benefit the community at large (e.g., food pantries, soup kitchens, or clothing closets). Eligible nonprofit organizations must operate on the local level and directly benefit the service area of the store from which they are requesting funding.” This is a big increase from the $250 gifts local stores once contributed. See the RFP

GIVING BY INTEREST AREAS

PEACE AND SECURITY — Peace and Security Funding Index, Candid, and the Peace and Security Funders Group report that the 24 interest areas under the Peace, Security, Conflict Resolution banner received $33 billion from the top 1,000 US funders, about 0.9% of all their grants. Top funders include Carnegie, MacArthur, Foundation to Promote Open Society, Hewlett, and Ford. Cybersecurity is a new and big area.

ARTS – The TRG Arts Group, an arts management consulting firm reports that its surveys show more people gave to the arts last year, but gave much smaller gifts. The firm believes this trend will continue through 2020 and into 2021.

CONCERNED ABOUT HOW YOU SAY IT? THAT’S LANGUAGE JUSTICE

Language justice is one of the key components of both racial and social justice. It is a particularly important issue in the fields of ableism and LGBTQI. How to Build Language Justice is a useful guide for building multilingual spaces in any community, organization, or movement. It‘s a 14-page booklet that provides some interesting ideas and rules of thumb.

IF WE WERE TOGETHER…

We could lift a glass on December 20 in honor of the United Nations’ International Human Solidarity Day. The UN says solidarity is one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples. So even if we aren’t together, and even if we’re not so much in solidarity with other Americans and other peoples, we can still raise a glass to the end of 2020. Hear! Hear!

Thank you for “serving your time” with us.