You won’t find many people who love Minneapolis more, but even I have to admit our weather is, shall we say, extreme. Sometimes on one of those blistering cold winter nights, or a sweltering summer day, I ask myself: What was it like to live here before heating and air conditioning and everything else that protects us from the elements?
Part of the answer is: They didn’t do it alone. Native people thrived for thousands of years in communities built around the common good. Early settlers lived in villages where you didn’t build the barn alone but joined with neighbors in a barn raising. Partly because people here always needed each other, and partly because of the culture that grew up around those people, this place we now know as Minneapolis has always been a giving community.
So it is no surprise that Minneapolis was one of the first cities in the country to develop a community foundation, and that we continue to grow it today. Annual gifts to funds of The Minneapolis Foundation have more than doubled in just four years, from $36.2 million in 2013 to $77.7 million last year. Even more important, as money into the Foundation has increased, our donors have also given more to the community, contributing nearly $60 million to worthy causes in fiscal year 2016-2017.
The Foundation will continue to grow by giving our donors and partners even more ways to be part of that giving community. We will offer more opportunities to learn and align around the areas where we focus our discretionary giving—education, economic vitality, and civic engagement—and areas where our donors concentrate, including the environment, health and wellness, and the arts. We will also expand our focus on our Family Philanthropy Resource Center, which helps generations do good together, and giving programs like Fourth Generation and the 612 Youth Engagement Project, which are growing Minneapolis’ next wave of philanthropists.
Our city has great needs, but we continue to have an abundance of compassion. Our task is to align that compassion around actions that improve lives, and to proudly serve our community of givers at the heart of the giving community of Minneapolis.