Foundations Announce More Than $7.2 Million in Statewide Grants

Grants include funding for organizations and programs that elevate the voices and civic participation of communities that often go unheard

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation today announced that, together, they have awarded more than $7.2 million to nonprofits in Minnesota through the Foundations’ latest round of grants. Grants will further projects and programs that support civic participation and community engagement in identifying and solving local issues.

“At the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, we envision an equitable, just and vibrant Minnesota where all people and communities thrive,” said Ann Mulholland, executive vice president of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. “Communities thrive best when their voices are counted and their languages are preserved. This is why we are proud to invest in these community-led solutions that are working to make sure everyone is heard.”

Of the $2.9 million in grants made by the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, $25,000 was awarded to the Anika Foundation for the Census 2020 Outreach program. The Anika Foundation’s mission is to promote health equity, civic engagement and economic empowerment. The Census program will focus its efforts on engaging historically undercounted populations in the upcoming Census, including people of color and low-income individuals, with a particular focus on African Americans.

F. R. Bigelow Foundation’s 84 grants included a $15,000 grant to LeadMN, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ student association. Lead MN represents 180,000 two-year college students from every corner of Minnesota. Funding will support the startup of Everyone Counts MN. The project will convene civic engagement committees at 10 colleges across the Twin Cities metro, host a Census summit with trainings from local and national Census experts and develop and implement campus-based Census action plans specific to each college.

Of the 49 grants made by Mardag Foundation, $20,000 went to Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia, an organization with a mission to aid the efforts of revitalizing indigenous languages by creating, producing, and distributing high-quality indigenous language materials. Funding in support of preserving the Ojibwe language will result in the development of an Ojibwe Media Player App. The app will contain recordings of Elder speakers reading six children’s books, which can function as full readings or highlighted as individual vocabulary words paired with images.

The three foundations each made grants totaling $60,000 to the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging, an organization with a mission to create communities and systems that support aging with dignity and foster a spirit of well-being in Minnesota. Funding supports the organization’s Aging Together Minnesota initiative, which explores aging within diverse communities, in addition to engaging diverse older adults and the program staff who serve them. Aging Together Minnesota established a statewide Diverse Elders Coalition to make equity-based recommendations to the Council, the Minnesota Board on Aging, and other state policy-makers. The Coalition conducts short-term projects, as exemplified by the group’s current focus on 2020 Census engagement.

Editor’s note: Find a detailed list of grants made in 2019 to Minnesota nonprofits in the Saint Paul & Minnesota press room.

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