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Foundations Announce Nearly $7 Million in Grants Statewide

Grants will help nonprofits remain responsive and resilient after a challenging year.

Jan. 12, 2021

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation today announced that, together, they have awarded nearly $7 million to nonprofits in Minnesota through the Foundations’ latest round of grants. Funding will support programs and services that address community need and hardships amplified by the pandemic.

“2020 was a year unlike any other, so we opened the door wider to learn from more nonprofits about what they believe to be critical during this time,” said Pahoua Yang Hoffman, senior vice president of Community Impact. “The Foundation received a 100 percent increase in grant applications and we reviewed all 637 of them to learn from each. Unfortunately, we could not fund them all.”

Of the $2.5 million in grants made by the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, $30,000 was awarded to the Science from Scientists program. The organization’s mission is to teach and inspire the next generation to identify and solve real-world problems by improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) literacy through student-centered and inquiry-based training by practicing scientists. Funding will ensure that the program continues for students in grades three through eight in Saint Paul’s East Metro schools.

2020 was a year unlike any other, so we opened the door wider to learn from more nonprofits about what they believe to be critical during this time.

Pahoua Yang Hoffman

F. R. Bigelow Foundation made $3.2 million in grants, including a $15,000 grant to Saint Paul-based Small Sums, an organization helping to provide East Metro homeless individuals, who have found jobs, with the specific things they need to start back to work. Additionally, the organization through its Keep Your Place program will work to prevent homelessness by serving low-income people at risk of losing their homes, specifically those who are behind in rent or living in supportive housing.

Of the $1.1 million granted by Mardag Foundation, $20,000 supported Mankato Youth Place (MY Place), a direct service organization serving kindergarten through ninth grade students who are experiencing poverty and trauma. The organization provides students with breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as food and care packages. During the pandemic, the organization has adapted to remain operational, changing its hours and program schedule to support distance learning and forming partnerships to provide opportunities for art, science, STEM, and physical activity.

All three Foundations made grants totaling $35,000 to the Diaper Bank of Minnesota, which works to increase awareness of diaper needs and advocates for improved conditions for the many families who need them for their babies. “While SNAP funds are assisting eligible low-income individuals and families, these funds cannot be used to purchase diapers, and with so many parents out of work due to the pandemic, the need is great,” said Hoffman.

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