Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations announce $1 billion giving milestone

Minnesota’s largest community foundation celebrates donor generosity and pays tribute to its first donor and the nonprofits that amplify the impact of giving back
View of Saint Paul downtown

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations today announced a major milestone: more than $1 billion in giving to communities across Minnesota since the Foundations’ inception over 75 years ago.

Founded in 1940 with a $5,000 gift from Jewish immigrant and Saint Paul resident Annie Paper, the Foundations are nearing $1.5 billion in assets, making the organization the state’s largest community foundation and one of the largest in the country. The story of Paper’s initial gift is chronicled in the Foundations’ 2018 Impact Campaign video, “Giving, Amplified.”

“We are thrilled to report more than $1 billion of giving and to celebrate the difference it has made in the lives of Minnesotans,” said Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., the Foundations’ president and CEO. “We are proud of this legacy and humbled by the generosity of our donors, the trust they place in us to amplify the impact of their giving and the dedication of the organizations that put those grants to work for the benefit of the residents of our region.”

The Foundations’ impact is broad. Last year, in partnership with donors, the Foundations made nearly 8,300 grants to support community needs in 71 of 87 Minnesota counties. Though the Foundations have strong Saint Paul roots, the donor base is far-reaching: 48 percent of donors reside in the west metro and 26 percent reside in the east metro, with the remaining 26 percent in outstate Minnesota or other states. Additionally, the Foundations support 17 affiliate community foundations—from Hibbing to Waseca—which provide regional granting strategies and local donor involvement opportunities.

“While we are thrilled to achieve this giving milestone, our real focus is forward-facing,” said Ann Mulholland, executive vice president of the Foundations. “As we plan for future investments, our focus will remain on creating even greater impact through community-led solutions that drive positive outcomes for Minnesotans. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the dedicated work of our community partners, the Foundations are well-positioned to provide vital support for generations to come.”

The impact of the foundations’ giving has made a difference for local and statewide communities. An example is the Healthy Children Healthy Nations fund, jointly led and administered by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Better Way Foundation, and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations. The fund is the first donor-advised fund dedicated to supporting innovation in—and expansion of—early childhood development and childhood nutrition programs in Minnesota’s Native communities.

At the community level, the difference a grant from the Foundations can make is exemplified through the work of hundreds of nonprofits organizations. One of those is The Sanneh Foundation. “We are committed to Saint Paul's East Side,” said Tony Sanneh, Founder & CEO. ”Every day we provide urban youth access to play, in-school academic mentors, and a free hot meal at our Conway Community Center. The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations were instrumental in funding and supporting The Sanneh Foundation during our early stages. And they continue to guide us in having the impact on our community and the next generation of leaders.”

“We are grateful to the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations for their support of new innovative ways we are fulfilling our mission,” said Nancy Brady, President of Neighborhood House. “In 2018 the Foundations supported our new social enterprise Beaningful, the coffee, breakfast, lunch shop inside Osborne370 that provides paid work experience in a learning environment for Neighborhood House participants seeking to join the workforce.”

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