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Minnesota Community Foundation

Our History


Our Beginnings

Minnesota Community Foundation has long been an innovative force in the state. Established in 1949 by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, the Foundation was created to meet growing demand for new and flexible ways of giving.

The new foundation, known as Minnesota Foundation until 2002, worked with individuals across the state to help them support their favorite causes and communities.

Our Relationships

Minnesota Community Foundation got its start sharing services and resources with the Wilder Foundation. This enabled both organizations to be as smart and efficient as possible and put the most dollars into the community. For many years, they shared a board of directors, executive director and staff.

Over time, the Foundation also provided administrative support for others, from the Hamm Foundation to the Weyerhaeuser Foundation to the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation. Its biggest client was The Saint Paul Foundation, which joined its forces in 1975, and later became an independent organization. The two foundations continue to share services, a combined board, leadership and staff.

Our Impact

Today, Minnesota Community Foundation builds on the generous spirit of Minnesotans by supporting scores of local community endowments and their volunteers across the state. And continuing its role as innovator, the Foundation is always thinking of new ways to work with others to make our communities stronger.

In recent years, Minnesota Community Foundation developed the first statewide online giving portal to ensure that more donations stayed in Minnesota and help move more of that activity online to save the sector money. In its short history, GiveMN.org has raised nearly $100 million for Minnesota nonprofits and programs around the state and given many organizations new visibility and tools to connect directly with donors. The launch of GiveMN also spurred one of the largest philanthropic events in the world — Give to the Max Day. The inaugural event raised $14 million in 24 hours alone.

Our impact also includes the creation of a competitive platform — Minnesota Idea Open — that inspires individuals to action to help solve some of our state’s biggest issues; support of a unique arts program that strengthens small organizations doing amazing work in their communities; celebration of individual philanthropists who are making a difference; and engaging community events that ignite new ideas and thinking.