Nearly 300 people gathered recently to celebrate a record year of giving for the Minneapolis Foundation. For the first time in its 103-year history, the Foundation received more than $100 million in contributions from the community in a single year.
Foundation President and CEO R.T. Rybak told the crowd of donors, non-profit leaders and public officials, that the Foundation is firmly focused on putting these assets to work in the community, particularly in places that need in most.
“The Minneapolis Foundation has more resources available than ever before,” Rybak said. “That raises the pressure on all of us — our staff and our donors — to make an unparalleled year for fundraising an unparalleled year for community impact.”
A Vision for Growth and Impact
Five years ago, the Foundation averaged $40 million in charitable gifts every year. The Board of Trustees and staff believed that people, families and business in our community had both the desire and capacity to contribute even more. If the Foundation could increase contributions to new and existing funds it would mean more resources would be available to invest in the community.
In 2013, the Foundation launched its “Growth for Impact” plan, which set a goal to double annual contributions by the year 2020. The goal was met, two years ahead of schedule, when the Foundation closed its most recent fiscal year with $104 million in contributions to new and existing funds.
A record-breaking year for fundraising is worth celebrating, Rybak said. He added that it should challenge to all of us to “recognize that we still face significant challenges, see the opportunities to make a positive impact in our community, and do more, much more, to help make life better for people in Minneapolis and beyond.” After all, Rybak reminded the crowd, “our plan isn’t simply called ‘Growth’; it’s called ‘Growth for Impact.’”
One way the Foundation achieves impact is through the grants it awards to the community. And as contributions to the Foundation have increased, so too have its contributions to the community. “In 2016, we awarded nearly $53 million in grants,” Rybak said. “The following year, our grants totaled $57.5 million. And last year, together with our donors, The Minneapolis Foundation put $70 million into the community.”
A Giving Community
As he enters his third year leading The Minneapolis Foundation, Rybak said he doesn’t want people to think of the organization as just a foundation. “We are so much more than that. I want us to be a place where staff, donors, and so many others come together and create something greater than the sum of its parts. I want people to think of The Minneapolis Foundation as a Giving Community.”
Rybak underscored the importance of how the Foundation works: as a leader, partner and supporter. “Simply put, we build relationships to build assets to build impact. Then, when a challenge or opportunity arises, our giving community is ready to act with other foundations, businesses and business organizations, and the public sector.”
Over the past several years, the Foundation has worked to bring donors closer to the people and organizations having true impact in the community and responded quickly to community needs, such as school shootings and a disturbing increase in religious intolerance.
“There is almost nothing of consequence in the Minneapolis-St. Paul’s civic community that does not have help from one of our donors,” Rybak told the crowd and then announced two major investments that will give more ways to make an impact in the community.
First, he said the Foundation will match up to $1 million in contributions to InvestMPLS, a program that lets donors use certain funds to make impact investments that will help nurture small local businesses, foster school excellence and more.
Second, Rybak announced the launch of the OneMPLS Fund, which will give donors a new way to help make Minneapolis a more vibrant place where everyone can thrive. Contributions to the OneMPLS Fund – including $1 million from the Foundation over the next two years – will support high-performing non-profits and innovative initiatives working to advance social, racial and economic equity.
“This giving community has given so much, but we believe we can give more,” Rybak said. “Together, we’ve made significant investments to address the enormous and unacceptable gaps in our community, but we believe we can and will do more to make sure the story of our community is no longer a tale of two cities, but instead a story of One Minneapolis.”