Community-Focused, Community-Led

A man smiles in an art gallery

Minnesota Community Foundation supports local, volunteer-led foundations through the Community Affiliates program. Every year, these affiliate foundations infuse thousands of dollars into their local communities, with community members driving the grantmaking process of each affiliate. Community-driven fundraising and outreach efforts also help build permanent funds to invest in their region for years to come.

The Foundation's Community Affiliates team supports affiliate leaders by providing back-end operations support, and offer consulting and training in areas like board development, fundraising and strategic planning. They also create opportunities for affiliates from across the state to share their experiences and learn from each other.

New Ulm Area Foundation recently put these offerings into practice. When a generous donor offered a $250,000 matching grant, the community met their goal – adding $500,000 to New Ulm’s endowment and bringing new longevity and grantmaking power to the foundation.

But increased resources would only make a difference through community-informed grantmaking. To dig deeper into the opportunities and challenges facing New Ulm residents, New Ulm Area Foundation collaborated with Allina Health, United Way, the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, New Ulm Public Schools and other area stakeholders to hold a community visioning session.

This two-day session allowed New Ulm’s residents to collectively identify needs and brainstorm solutions. Committees were identified to keep viable ideas alive. New Ulm Area Foundation encouraged these committees to consider applying for their spring grant cycle.

“We were just thrilled by the ideas that people came up with – things we had no idea about. Of course, for us, this means thinking about our grantmaking,” said Nancy Quam, administrator for New Ulm Area Foundation.

Session learnings also inspired new action. This year, New Ulm Area Foundation, with guidance from the Community Affiliates team, will engage in a strategic planning session to address how best to steward community resources and invest in change.

a woman smiles in a library

See what's possible

Learn more about what The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations accomplished in 2016 in Together We - our community impact report.