The desire to give is a defining human characteristic.

We honor diverse charitable expressions across the wide economic, racial, ethnic and social spectrum. We celebrate new and traditional forms of giving that respond to human needs, build community, increase knowledge and promote creative expression. We acknowledge the fundamental roles and responsibilities of engaged individuals and the public, private and nonprofit sectors in a just and equitable society.
We embrace philanthropy’s role in a civil society. We are leading advocates for public policy to sustain robust philanthropy. We work strategically through grantmaking and other means to improve the vitality and health of our communities, to educate our members and the field, and to achieve our collective mission of strengthening and expanding philanthropy. We express a shared commitment to excellence by formally subscribing to the Principles for Grantmakers of The Minnesota Council of Foundations.

Our Principles

Ethics & Laws

To sustain public trust by adhering to the highest ethical principles and practices and abiding by all state and federal laws that govern philanthropy.

Effective Governance

To achieve effective governance by ensuring performance in the areas of stewardship of assets, donor intent, fiduciary responsibility and sound decision-making.

Mission & Goals

To be purposeful in our philanthropy by having a clearly stated mission and explicit goals.

Engaged Learning

To foster continuous learning and reflection by engaging board members, staff, grantees and donors in thoughtful dialogue and education.

Respectful Relationships

To build constructive relationships with applicants, grantees and donors by ensuring mutual respect, candor, confidentiality and understanding.


To achieve transparency in our relationships with the public, applicants, grantees and donors by being clear, consistent and timely in our communications with them.


To reflect and engage the diversity of the communities we serve in our varying roles as grantmakers, boards and employers, economic entities and civic participants.

Self Assessment

To uphold the highest standards by regularly assessing ourselves against these principles and committing to implement them.