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Learn how the Management Improvement Fund helps small and midsize nonprofit organizations build and grow their capacity.

The Management Improvement Fund (MIF), a special fund of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, provides grants to small to midsize nonprofit organizations to finance the cost of consultation or technical assistance to expand organizational capacity, improve management capabilities to better serve the community, and nurture Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) leadership in the nonprofit sector.

Since 1991, there have been more than 600 grants from the Fund, totaling $6 million to nonprofit organizations across Minnesota.

This year, the Foundation has expanded its approach to supporting the management and leadership of Minnesota nonprofits by aligning the Management Improvement Fund and the Diversity Endowment Funds. This new alignment allows MIF to support more small to midsize organizations in their growth.

One of the priorities of the Fund is to reflect community-defined needs and identify mechanisms that work to enhance and improve conditions in low-income and BIPOC communities. This includes leadership development and executive leadership coaching, skill building, training and mentoring for staff, board members and volunteers of BIPOC-led organizations.

The Fund’s support also often includes funding to hire consultants to help nonprofits improve on their everyday work and some funding for current staff time. Here’s what two grant recipients had to say about the support MIF provided to their organization.

MIF Spotlight: Youth Leadership Initiative

The Youth Leadership Initiative received funding in 2021 to build their capacity for fundraising.

The organization was previously a program of the Amherst Wilder Foundation but was discontinued at the onset of the pandemic. Determined to continue serving young people, Youth Leadership Initiative sought funding partners to help them establish themselves as a nonprofit and create fundraising plans to sustain and grow the work of the organization.

“We used the grant to hire a fundraising consultant to help build a fundraising plan for the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) and to purchase Customer Relationship Management [CRM] to help with donor management,” said Nou Yang, YLI board chair.

“It [MIF] has greatly benefited our organization because we now have a plan to guide our fundraising efforts and a system to track and build donor relationships,” Nou said.

MIF Spotlight: ComMUSICation

ComMUSICation received two MIF grants, one in 2021 and another in 2022. Like many organizations, ComMUSICation went through a lot of change during the pandemic and after, including returning to in person programming, changing locations and the departure of its founding Executive Director.

“With the leadership transition, we needed to bring together the staff, board and community to craft a shared vision and goals,” said Executive Director Georgina Gonzalez. “Our 2021 funding [from MIF] supported our strategic plan process, which included engaging nearly 50 community members to share their challenges to accessing after school programs in Saint Paul. The process was incredibly impactful, it has helped us come together as an organization, clarify our purpose and create ambitious goals for our growth.”

For ComMUSICation, their MIF grants allowed them to bring on highly qualified consultants to guide them through key processes that have helped grow their small staff’s capacity.

“The application is short and the turnaround time is really quick, making it easy to secure funding to implement capacity building projects in a realistic time frame,” said Georgina. “This year, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary, a huge milestone for a small organization like ours. Our MIF grant is allowing us to build on the work of our strategic plan to grow our community through a high-visibility event at the Ordway Concert Hall and to leverage this celebration to support our future growth.”

Learn about the Management Improvement Fund

On April 26, 2023, our Grants Team held an information session to share more about the Fund’s broadened grant guidelines, eligibility and application process. Download a copy of the presentation or view the session recording.

Read more about the new changes, see the full grant guidelines and learn how to apply on our Grant Opportunities page.

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