Workshop looks into fastest-growing segment of institutional philanthropy

Our annual Small Family Foundations Workshop drew 130 nonprofit professionals to the virtual live/online event in early April. Access Philanthropy, again, partnered with MN Council of Nonprofits to talk about foundations that give less than $1M annually.

AP President Steve Paprocki featured the profiles of 40+ small family foundations, talking about what these foundations are funding, what they want from nonprofits,  and how to approach them. He was joined by Marc Belton, a former executive with General Mills, to talk about his family’s foundation, and Peg Thomas, manager of the Sundance Family Foundation.

Truthfully, who else talks about small family foundation fundraising except for Access Philanthropy?

This is the largest and fastest-growing segment of institutional philanthropy in Minnesota growing at a rate of nearly 35 percent every two years. There are more than 1500 small funders (<$1 million in annual giving) in Minnesota, and most of them are small family foundations.

  • For example, the Anna M. Heilmaier Foundation annually gives away about $330,000, is operated by US Bank Philanthropic Services, and focuses on health, disabilities, and music. By the way, Alex Bakkum, who used to oversee the Heilmaier operations, has just moved to Cincinnati. He was from Moorhead, so we know he’ll be back again someday.
  • Another great SFF: Belton Family Foundation. Marc and Alicia’s foundation has been around for five years, but now they’ve hired staff, put up a website – and most importantly – they want to connect with the community they serve. They want to hear from you (wow!). Good for them!
  • Carlson Family Foundation: one of the best youth funders in the U.S. evidently may not be doing a grantmaking cycles with new organizations.
  • McKnight Foundation has named Tenzin Dolkar as its program officer for its Midwest Climate & Energy program. Does the name ring a bell? Dolkar used to work for Bloomberg Philanthropy’s American Cities Climate Challenge, where she served as a climate advisor to the City of Minneapolis.
  • From General Mills Foundation: “we are in the midst of planning efforts and assessing if any resources would even be available yet to deploy in FY21”
  • Securian Foundation: one of our favorite funders, Securian Financial saw a 44% drop in income last year due to the pandemic. No word on what will happen to their foundation giving this year.
  • Ethical Corporations in Minnesota: According to Ethisphere these Twin Cities corporations are recognized as highly ethical institutions:
    • 3M Co.
    • Allianz Life Insurance North America
    • Best Buy Co. Inc.
    • Thrivent
    • U.S. Bancorp
    • Xcel Energy Inc.
  • Minneapolis Foundation will be assuming administrative responsibilities for the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. The Phillips folks will continue with their own board and make their own grant decisions, but the Foundation’s financial and backroom stuff will belong to the Minneapolis Foundation. Since the Phillips Foundation broke into three separate entities (MN, CO, and CA foundations), it no longer needs a major backroom operation

    The Minneapolis Foundation is providing similar services to WCA Foundation and hundreds of donor-advised funds, and used to perform backroom and staff services for the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children. Next WCA deadline is May 3rd.

And, by the way, Access Philanthropy has the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of small family foundations located in and/or funding primarily in Minnesota. We have done comprehensive research on what small family foundations are like, what they like, and how to get them to like you. Link to Subscribe