Management Improvement Fund
THE MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT FUND, A SPECIAL fund OF THE SAINT PAUL & MINNESOTA FOUNDATION, IS DEDICATED TO STRENGTHENING NONPROFITS’ INTERNAL OPERATIONS.
Nonprofit organizations work hard to meet the needs of our communities and raise the funds needed to support the day-to-day operations of their programs, leaving them little time and resources to devote to essential professional and technical services.
The Management Improvement Fund supports vital capacity-building work and technical assistance that expand organizational capacity, improve management capabilities to better serve the community, and nurture Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leadership in the nonprofit sector. As a result, grant recipients can bolster fundraising, expand important programs and improve their services to the community.
Since 1991, the Fund has provided $6 million to more than 600 nonprofit organizations.
Anchoring Nonprofits in Stability and Strength
To strengthen the internal operations of nonprofit organizations, the Management Improvement Fund provides grants to small and midsize nonprofits to fund consultations and technical assistance to improve organizational capacity to better serve the community. The focus of funding is primarily on new or young organizations, especially those that are BIPOC-led.
2023 Update to Grant Guidelines
In 2023, the Foundation expanded the Fund’s scope by aligning our Diversity Endowment Funds with the Management Improvement Fund. Alignment between these funds gives us an increased capacity to support BIPOC leaders and address the needs of community partners that are often excluded from critical management and leadership improvement opportunities, as well as expand the types of projects funded.
As a part of this alignment, the Management Improvement Fund has broadened its funding guidelines so that BIPOC nonprofit leaders and organizations have what they need to thrive.
Information Session Recording
In this information session, our Grants Team shared more about the Fund’s broadened grant guidelines, eligibility and application process. Download a copy of the presentation.
Applying for a Grant
The Management Improvement Fund has a rolling application.
All interested applicants are highly encouraged to email the Management Improvement Fund at email@example.com before applying to ensure that the Fund fits your needs.
When you are ready to apply, visit our GranteeView portal to register and complete the application.
Organizations and groups applying for a Management Improvement Fund grant are reviewed with the following criteria in mind:
- Organizations seeking to benefit the Asian American/Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Latinx and Black communities will be prioritized
- New/emerging BIPOC-led organizations will be prioritized
- Organizational annual operating budgets of $5 million or less
- Organizations must primarily serve low-income persons
- Organizations that are not likely to undertake the effort without financial assistance from the Fund
- Time and staff capabilities to commit to the consultation and to implement changes
Funding will primarily be focused on organizations working in and serving the Twin Cities East Metro; however, West Metro and Greater Minnesota applications will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Many nonprofit organizations struggle financially to raise enough revenue for their programs to serve BIPOC and/or low-income individuals and families and don’t have the financial resources to pay for much needed professional consultation and technical services. Management Improvement Fund grants to nonprofit organizations help them stay strong and healthy, paying dividends to the communities they serve.
- The needs of nonprofit organizations vary widely due to the type, age and size of organizations as well as external factors influencing the nonprofit environment. Because of these differences, Management Improvement Fund grants offset the expenses of a variety of capacity-building activities.
- The Foundation acknowledges that the needs of our communities, and especially our BIPOC communities, cannot be properly addressed by a single source. More specifically, BIPOC communities have a multitude of needs and strengths requiring flexibility and responsiveness. A priority of the Management Improvement Fund is to reflect community-defined needs and identify mechanisms that work to enhance and improve conditions in low-income and BIPOC communities. The Management Improvement Fund is committed to being an ongoing, responsive opportunity for organizations to meet community needs.
The Management Improvement Fund makes grants for technical assistance and consultation to help improve the capacity and management of nonprofit organizations. Examples of these activities include but are not limited to:
- Organizational assessment
- Strategic planning
- Organizational restructuring / merger / dissolution
- Board development / governance
- Human resources / personnel assessment
- Marketing and communications assessment
- Program evaluation
- Translation services
- Accessibility consulting services
- Technology assessment
- Financial planning management / grantwriting services
- Community healing circles and spaces
- Planning and preparation work for receiving a 501(c)3 nonprofit status
- Innovative approaches for groups working together to better serve the community
- For BIPOC-led organizations: Leadership development and executive leadership coaching / skill building / training and mentoring for staff, board members and volunteers
The primary use of a Management Improvement Fund grant is to pay for consultation fees or training expenses. A limited percentage of funds may be allocated to expenses related to the successful completion of the proposed work, including interpreters, stipends, childcare, transportation and staff time. Applicants select the consultant and are encouraged to thoroughly assess their needs. Please note that Management Improvement Fund applicants must include the written proposal / bid from the prospective consultant(s).
The Foundation does not require that you select a consultant of our choosing. If you have not yet identified a consultant that you’d like to work with, we encourage you to tap into the networks of your board and leadership for recommendations. You can also visit Nexus Community Partners or Minnesota Council of Nonprofits to search for consultants in your area.
The Management Improvement Fund will consider grants up to $10,000.
Grant Requests Not Accepted
The Management Improvement Fund of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation will not consider grant requests for support of:
- Sectarian religious programs or organizations
- Direct work of individuals
- Organizations that are not classified as a 501(c)3 nonprofits or do not have a fiscal sponsor
- Organizations exclusively serving the West Metro (Anoka, Hennepin, Carver and Scott counties)
Read an overview of the Management Improvement Fund's criteria and application process.
Application questions and sample budget
Take a look at the Management Improvement Fund application questions before you apply.
No final reports will be required for grants awarded through the Management Improvement Fund. However, after your grant period has ended, you will be invited to participate in a grantee convening to share reflections on your grant.