In 2016, the Foundation made a strategic decision to refocus its efforts on a specific geographic area: North Minneapolis.

The “North Side” is an area rich with opportunity and assets but has experienced years of disinvestment.  It is also the neighborhood where Jay and Rose Phillips met and the family lived for many years. This historical sentiment coupled with community opportunities make our decision to focus on North Minneapolis a perfect evolution of the Foundation’s focus and interests, and creates a strong direction for the Foundation for years to come.


Learn about some of our grantees by exploring this map!

Olson Middle School

Olson’s My Story/My Brilliance curriculum puts student narratives at the center of curriculum design. It builds students’ relationships with teachers and proactively addresses challenges that might derail their academic progress.

Patrick Henry High School

Henry’s new project based learning academy is an ambitious redesign of high school aimed at graduating self-directed learners ready to take on complex 21st century challenges.

New Rules

Born out of a response driven from a community design process, New Rules provides shared workspace, retail and event space for North Minneapolis creatives and small business owners. Their HQ on Lowry Avenue North is a multipurpose space is equipped with State of Art Design Equipment, Commercial Kitchen, Juice Bar, Retail Shop and more. Stop by sometime!

Northside Achievement Zone

NAZ ties together a set of critical resources that – together – are changing the trajectory of Northside children and their families. Its efforts are showing increasingly impressive academic results for children and NAZ’s partner schools, and strong financial impact for NAZ-enrolled families.

North News

This longstanding community newspaper was reborn when Pillsbury United Communities purchased it in 2015. Each month, the “new” North News delivers in-depth coverage of critical issues, profiles of Northside leaders, student-generated columns, and community news.

Village Financial Cooperative

Village Financial Cooperative’s mission is to pave a way towards prosperity for all people. This emerging Black-led Credit Union based on the Northside of Minneapolis is sparking a financial renaissance within the local Black community and beyond. Members believe in reversing the racial disparities of our state and come from all backgrounds and walks of life across Hennepin or Ramsey County.

City of Lakes Community Land Trust

CLCLT is developing a commercial land trust to ensure that affordable space continues to be available for Northside entrepreneurs.

Created by Michael Arnold

We also wanted to explore how larger investments in a smaller set of issues could produce stronger and more measureable impact.  We wanted our overall work, including our grantmaking, to be more entrepreneurial and less transactional.  

Using a Human Centered Design process, the Foundation devoted time throughout 2016 to listen to the diverse concerns, hopes and ideas of North Minneapolis residents.  This process helped the Foundation identify its two primary North Minneapolis funding priorities:

  • Creating and expanding relevant and engaging learning opportunities for K-12 students.  The Foundation is particularly interested in ways to amplify the role of student voice and agency in educational design and decision-making.  Learn more about education funding.
  • Helping to grow a thriving economy in North Minneapolis by supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and expanding local ownership opportunities.  Learn more about small business funding.

For now and into the foreseeable future, the bulk of our grantmaking will be focused on these two priorities.  Our intent is to make fewer, larger grants, while moving solutions to scale, and employing more human capital through greater engagement in the community.

How We Make Funding Decisions

The experiences and wisdom of Northsiders helped to shape these funding priorities and we continue to look to these stakeholders to help us make funding decisions.  In 2016, the Foundation began to engage people who reside in, work in, or are otherwise deeply connected to North Minneapolis as grant reviewers and strategic advisors.  Going forward, the Foundation will continue to engage a cross-section of Northsiders as members of grant review panels, participants in strategy design processes, and grassroots research consultants.

We believe individuals and communities most impacted by injustice are the best equipped to generate and lead solutions to that injustice.  We are committed to living out this core belief in every aspect of the Foundation’s work in North Minneapolis.

How To Apply

Initial Inquiries

We encourage you to use our simple funding inquiry form to share your idea with us.  We will get back to you promptly! You are also welcome to contact staff directly by phone or email.

Special Opportunities

From time to time the Foundation will solicit proposals by releasing targeted “Calls for Ideas”.  You can learn about these opportunities by signing up for the Foundation’s newsletter at the bottom of the page.

Reporting Requirements

Information on the Foundation’s reporting requirements for current grantees.

Other Grantmaking

In addition to our North Minneapolis grantmaking, the Foundation awards grants in two other broad priority areas: Long-Standing Commitments and Trustee-Directed Discretionary giving.

  • You can learn more about the grants that make up the Foundation’s Long-Standing Commitments.
  • Trustee-Directed Discretionary grants are made by the board of trustees to meet their interests and the needs of their home communities here in Minnesota and in California.

How to Apply

The Foundation’s Long-Standing Commitments and Trustee-Directed Discretionary grants are by invitation only and no unsolicited proposals are accepted.