2020 presented many challenges, but also united our community in new ways.
Along with our community, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation navigated various unknowns this year, including a pandemic and civil unrest. In the face of these challenges, we also experienced unparalleled generosity from our donors and innovation from our staff as we responded quickly to meet the needs of our community by Inspiring Generosity, Advocating for Equity, and Investing in Community-led Solutions.
The Foundation Staff on 2020
Hear our staff reflect on the silver linings from this year.
Capturing This Present Moment
Throughout the year, President & CEO Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., spoke with donors and community leaders across Minnesota to hear how they were serving their communities during these trying times.
Whether making masks, supporting students, connecting communities or expanding programs virtually, these conversations explore stories of resilience and innovation in the nonprofit sector.
Making Art in This Present Moment
Over 50 Minnesota artists responded in real-time to history as it unfolded by creating Art in This Present Moment. This series of grants supported artists of color who are changing and challenging dominant narratives through their craft.
Investing in Community-Led Solutions Through Grantmaking
We are honored to invest in and partner with the agents and agencies of change who are working daily to address our most pressing issues. In 2020 we and our partners granted more than $100 million to the community through our annual grantmaking, including $50 million in grants recommended by our donors. Along with our donors, we granted to 75 counties in Minnesota. Additionally, we changed our Building Community Capacity grant requirements to give nonprofits the flexibility to use grant dollars for any emerging need.
To communities by the Foundation and our partners
To organizations, initiatives and projects
Addressing Minnesota’s Pandemic Needs
The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for coronavirus funded both short and long-term needs in communities as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Our donors generously contributed to this effort.
Advocating for Racial Justice and Rebuilding for the Future
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we immediately made grants to support racial trauma healing. And in partnership with other local entities, the Twin Cities Rebuild for the Future Fund granted $2.5 million to nonprofits that had long-standing relationships with communities impacted by unrest following George Floyd’s murder.
Community Sharing Fund Marks 40 Years
This life-changing emergency grant program supports thousands of East Metro residents every year as they navigate financial setbacks. Hear from Program Manager Arbadella Williams and others how this unique fund has made a difference in the East Metro for 40 years.
Providing Students with Digital Access
Partnership for a ConnectedMN is a public-private partnership that is bringing tech devices and internet access to students across the state, especially communities most in need, including students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, students from low-income families, and students residing in rural Minnesota.
Transforming the Criminal Justice System
Along with The Minneapolis Foundation and Greater Twin Cities United Way, we announced a multi-year collaboration with the goal of driving transformational change in the criminal justice system, led by Huda Ahmed.
DONORS RESPONDED TO THE UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES OF 2020 WITH GENEROSITY.
You, our donors, made record-breaking grants to the community in 2020. You maximized your giving, granting to causes you care about, including COVID-19 relief and racial equity after the tragic murder of George Floyd. Your efforts supported causes such as the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund, the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, the Community Sharing Fund and the Twin Cities Rebuild for the Future Fund, to name a few, as well as 2,361 nonprofit organizations in our communities.
We’re truly grateful for your continuous support, and we appreciate you.
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“These are very different times that require different thinking. We've been fortunate enough to have this money, and we have an obligation to direct it. Obligations change when we have greater circumstances.”
- David, Foundation Donor
"I have a hot button now, and it is around anti-racism.”
- Abby, Foundation Donor
“It’s a great privilege to work with local organizations and focus on helping neighbors feel safe and happy in their homes.”
- Mya, Foundation Donor
Honoring Anti-Racism Activists
The 2020 Facing Race Awards aired across the state on Twin Cities Public television and honored four Minnesota anti-racism activists who are striving for justice and working to make this state more equitable for all.
VALERIE CASTILE is the CEO and president of The Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which works to help victims who have been affected by gun and police violence. Valerie eliminates racism and its effects by educating the public — including community groups, youth, police and elected officials. And it’s all done in memory of her son, Philando.
RESMAA MENAKEM is a healer, author, therapist, self-described cultural trauma navigator, communal provocateur and coach. He has served in leadership positions at African American Family Services, the Wilder Foundation, as a certified Military and Family Life Consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces, as a trauma consultant in public schools and as a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department.
ALEX MILES is a recent graduate from the Twin Cities Academy. He is one of the founding members of the Racial Justice Club — an organization he felt was essential to making sure all students felt safe and valued. This year, Alex expanded his efforts outside of the school by engaging with community resources and organizations, extending his reach and his message. And he has made a difference.
LESLIE REDMOND is the current president of the Minneapolis NAACP chapter, and the youngest president in the organization’s history. For the past three years, Leslie has worked with the chapter on elevating the Black community while pursuing a law degree and an MBA. She challenges the issues of mass incarceration, housing discrimination, health disparities and opportunity gaps for the poor and Black communities.
Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Lost to COVID-19
Last year, the pandemic left none of us untouched. For our healthcare workers, it has taken a particularly tremendous toll — including the loss of life.
The Frontline Families Fund was established by Dr. Michael Osterholm to direct financial support and educational scholarships to the children of healthcare workers who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Our interdependence and need for social healing were never more evident than in 2020. We learned what is truly essential.
The Foundation helped connect more generosity, more people, and more programs to work on a shared vision and values than perhaps any time in our history. We are proud of our donors, our staff, the board that enables our work, our partner organizations and the community we live in, for all that we collectively achieved last year.
Wishing all of you and your families a year full of healing, hope and renewal.
Our 2022 Building Community Capacity grants will be different as we transition to a new enterprise system and adopt a new Grant Portal.Read the News
Legacy letters provide a peek at the past and a direction for the future.Learn More