R.T. Rybak reflects on how our role as a community foundation is evolving as we partner with people and organizations to cultivate change together.
From Grantmaker to Changemaker
Change is not an option in today’s fast-moving world. At the Minneapolis Foundation, we embrace that reality—because the pace of some of the changes we need in our community hasn’t been fast enough. Last year more than ever before, we pushed beyond traditional grantmaking to drive positive change in a variety of ways—from advocacy to convenings, impact investing, research, and more.
Our Grantmaking Strategy
Our approach to grantmaking reflects our mission of driving collective action to realize strong, vibrant communities. We focus on:
Racial & Economic Justice
Our Racial and Economic Justice grants fuel organizations that advance systems change, build wealth and stabilize communities, and promote narrative strategies focused on racial and economic justice.
Our Reimagine Education grants elevate student and community voices, provide opportunities for educators to build their understanding of race and implement strategies that create inclusive schools, and advance policy changes to make our K-12 education system more equitable.
As a community foundation, we are committed to responsive giving that’s accessible to all. One way we achieve this is through our OneMPLS Fund. This collective impact fund targets 1-3 issues every year, enabling people across our community to join forces in response to urgent local needs. Currently, the OneMPLS Fund is focused on Fair and Affordable Housing.
Our Partners in Action
Our work is powered by our fundholders—individuals, families, and businesses who care about strengthening communities in Minnesota and beyond.
Here's a glimpse of how we partner with them:
In addition to our core issues, we take on projects where we see opportunities to fuel community engagement and action on emerging local needs. Here’s one we tackled in 2023:
Minneapolis has entered a new chapter with opportunities for a major renaissance—if our community rallies around solutions to the post-pandemic challenges faced by cities everywhere. That’s why we hosted an event series with the Walker Art Center and commissioned a report on ideas for rethinking the future of downtown.
Grow with us
A new event series we launched last year provides our fundholders with opportunities to get closer to the issues they care about, from mental health to food justice.
Explore Our Stories
We published 26 stories and videos last year on our Learning Hub—a place where our whole community can learn and take action on important issues. We also launched a brand campaign to raise awareness of our role as a community foundation and how we partner with others to drive positive change.
We closed out 2023 by celebrating two huge wins for our community. In December, the EPA awarded $50 million to the Minneapolis Foundation—the largest grant in our history—for a program to fund environmental justice work in six Great Lakes states. We also partnered with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to launch a new statewide grant program supporting educators as they teach students about Native American culture and history.
We are profoundly grateful to you, our partners, for your contributions to this work, and we look forward to sharing updates about these projects and more in 2024.