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Community Sharing Fund

The Community Sharing Fund is how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation responds to emergency needs in our community.

The Fund partners with more than 100 community organizations to identify families and individuals facing short-term financial setbacks. Applications are only accepted from referring nonprofit organizations.

Learn more about how the Community Sharing Fund makes a difference and how you can support this important work.

Important Update on Application Re-opening

In 2022, we transitioned to a new enterprise technology system, which included adopting a new grant portal for our Community Sharing Fund applications. All caseworkers must register on the portal. Download registration instructions.

We are pleased to share that applications re-opened on August 1, 2022. Thank you for your patience while our applications were closed during this transition.

Because housing assistance remains a critical need, we are increasing the grant amount for housing assistance to $1,000 once we re-open the process.

The technology we use for CSF grant applications has changed, but the CSF grant guidelines have not. See below for application guidelines.

Community Sharing Fund Grant Guidelines

Nonprofit organizations assisting residents in Dakota, Ramsey or Washington counties can apply for a grant from the Community Sharing Fund through our online grant portal, under the Community Sharing Fund section.

Download our Community Sharing Fund application guidelines.

Download frequently asked questions.

Information for Referring Agencies

The purpose of Community Sharing Fund is to provide funding to individuals and families with verifiable emergency needs when other services or funds are unavailable. Grants are approved for rent, damage deposit, utility costs, medical expenses, childcare, transportation and other critical needs.

Criteria for Funding

  • The applicant is a resident of Dakota, Ramsey or Washington County, Minnesota for at least 30 days.
  • The request must be a health and human services related need.
  • The applicant has not received a grant from Community Sharing Fund within the last 18 months.
  • No other member of the applicant’s household has received a grant from Community Sharing Fund in the last 18 months.
  • The need has been created by an unforeseen event that has resulted in an emergency.
  • Community Sharing Fund is a resource of last resort. Eligibility for assistance from other funds and the family’s own resources are considered.
  • The grant will solve a problem that is not expected to reoccur in the near future.
  • If the emergency has resulted from a resolvable underlying issue, the grant will be approved only if the referring organization can verify that corrective action has been taken.
  • Grant amounts range from $100 to $750, and up to $1,000 for housing assistance.

Ineligible Requests

  • Community Sharing Fund does not fund attorney fees or travel costs and other expenses related to child custody issues.
  • Requests are not approved for payment of bail, traffic tickets and fines or other expenses related to illegal activities.
  • Requests are not approved for burial or funeral expenses.

How to Apply

Requests for Community Sharing Fund grants on behalf of individual clients are made through our online grant portal. All first-time users will need to register. Download registration instructions. Caseworkers are encouraged to review these guidelines and contact our team with questions regarding the appropriateness of a request. You may be referred to other community resources.


Clients should not be referred directly to Community Sharing Fund. Community Sharing Fund relies on agency staff to gather necessary background information and ensure that Fund criteria have been met. Direct referrals may complicate matters for clients because they will be referred back to a social worker in a human service agency.

Application Information

When submitting an application, the caseworker must submit the following information:

  • Your name and the name of your organization
  • A brief account of the current crisis, describing why it is an emergency, what precipitated the crisis, what other attempts have been made to solve the problem and why it is unlikely to reoccur
  • The amount requested and the basis of determination
  • The client’s name, address (including county and zip code), age, racial or ethnic group, number of dependents, monthly income, source of income and a breakdown of monthly expenditures
  • Documentation that supports the request

Funding Decisions

Once staff has received the application, please allow up to five business days for staff to review the application and contact the caseworker. Decisions on grants are usually made within a week from when the application is received.

Payment of Grants

Cash grants are not made to clients. Community Sharing Fund grants are payable to referring agencies [501(c)(3) organizations or government agencies] for use as specified in the grant agreement. Payments to vendors (landlord, utility company, etc.) are made by the referring agencies.

For-profit Organizations Only

If the agency is a for-profit organization, the caseworker will need to be contracted with an agency of 501(c)(3) status or a government agency. The contracted agency will be reimbursed. For example: the county or another nonprofit agency.


To learn more about the Community Sharing Fund, contact Arbadella Williams at 651.325.4260, ext. 4, or by email.

East Metro Financial Network

We believe supporting our community of caseworkers is important, so we convene a gathering of caseworkers four times a year as a means to provide support and resources to these life-changing individuals.

The East Metro Financial Network informs case managers and social workers about community resources that may be beneficial and interesting to them and their work. Each meeting features a speaker, an update about the Community Sharing Fund, and an opportunity for attendees to make announcements about relevant programs, events or resources.



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