Hiawatha Academies Hiawatha Academies Way to Grow

We know that this is a time of uncertainty for our nonprofit partners, for the families and communities they serve, and for the front-line workers committed to creating a strong, vibrant community. Everyone has something to share during this time – to express even deeper care for each other and our community, especially the individuals and communities of color experiencing the greatest social, political, and economic inequality.

What we are doing
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mortenson Family Foundation is committing to deeper care by utilizing every option we have at the Foundation. Our board has committed to:

  1. Increasing total payout this year with a $1 million grant budget increase, 25% more than the standard 2020 grant budget of $4 million.
  2. Maintaining 2020 standard level of grant budget or increasing from the 2020 standard level of grant budget for our 2021 grant budget.
  3. Offering expedited payments on existing pledges payable in 2020.
  4. Making all 2020 grants unrestricted for Expanding Opportunities for Youth and Families, Sustaining Environmental Systems, and Strengthening Developing Communities partners.
  5. Modifying or eliminating grant reporting requirements, as requested by grant partners.
  6. Deferring interest payments on mission-related loans until 2021.
  7. Investing in Community Development Financial Institutions to ensure patient capital is available for small businesses.

How we are doing it
We know that how work is done may be as important as what the work is. So, we draw upon our mission of building partnerships to strengthen community-driven approaches that advance equity, opportunity, and sustainable systems.

In determining how to care deeply during this unprecedented time, we listened to our partners and community. We clearly heard that there is the need for immediate, intermediate and long-term support. We also clearly heard that being a dependable partner now and in the future is essential. And, we clearly heard that we should make our response equitable, not equal.

The additional $1 Million grant budget will be distributed in alignment with our current program allocations:

$725,000 for current Foundation partners distributed in the following allocations:

Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families: $450,000 In response to partners’ need for immediate flexible financial support first, $350,000 will be recommended in May to partners with budgets under $4 million. $100,000 will be recommended for intermediate-term support based on organizational needs determined during the renewing grant application in June and July.

Strengthening Developing Communities: $200,000 International partners expressed a need for intermediate-term flexible funding. $125,000 will be allocated across all current partners, with 80% going to those most closely aligned with providing comprehensive community outcomes. The remaining $75,000 will be allocated based on the developing needs of response and recovery activities. All grants will be allocated during the standard grant cycle and distributed in November.

Sustaining Environmental Systems: $75,000 Environmental partners shared that they would like intermediate-term support through matching grants of $2,500 - $10,000 based on organizational need and opportunity. Need would be determined by which partner has the greatest cash flow needs and which partner has reserves and endowments. Opportunity would be based on donor base capacity. The grants will be distributed with the standard August grants to partners.

$150,000 for broader unmet, critical community needs, distributed in the following allocations:

$25,000 to International Institute for the The Basic Needs Fund to provide financial assistance to immigrants and refugees who do not have access to other forms of public assistance due to unique circumstances.

$65,000 to Navigate MN for the MN Immigrant Families COVID-19 Relief Fund to help support families that do not have access to other forms of public assistance with rent, food, and other essential needs.

$25,000 to Nexus Community Partners for BIPOC Business Support throughout Minnesota. While there will be loans available, many small, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses may need technical support due to lack of access to resources to keep their businesses operating.

$35,000 to Alight for Coronavirus Emergency Response to provide protective equipment for front-line workers, public health messaging, medical supplies and preventative supplies in 19 countries.

$125,000 to support prior and new partners who fall outside of the priority giving areas.

While we don’t know what the future holds, we do know how resilient a community is when given the power and support to shape the future. We will continue to listen, continue to bring everything we have to care deeply for our communities, and continue to advance equity, opportunity, and sustainable systems.

Please contact us if have questions or want to share comments:

Donna Dalton
Executive Director – Sustaining Environmental Systems
Email Donna
(763) 287-5388

Ambar Hanson
Community Relationship Officer – Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families
Email Ambar
(763) 287-5770

Danyelle O’Hara
Community Relationship Officer – Strengthening Developing Communities
Email Danyelle
(612) 260-2067

“There’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together.”