“…for the benefit of future generations.”
Our Partners work hard to positively effect and improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. They are innovative, responsive, and caring. They are collaborative and look for sustainable solutions. They align with our values and demonstrate how working together is providing solutions to overcome some of our community’s greatest challenges.
Breakthrough Twin Cities’ (BTC) goal is closing the opportunity gap to ensure students have the resources to reach their full potential, classrooms are led by engaging teachers and society realizes the social and economic benefits of investing fully in youth. BTC prepares low-income, high-potential youth for success throughout middle and high school with demanding academic instruction and hands-on experiences in math, science, literature, writing and elective courses. BTC combines summer programming and monthly school-year Saturday sessions for students with mentoring and coaching check-ins, problem-solving and goal-setting, college counseling and career exploration. Students' families receive resources and tools to support their scholar’s success with parent/student conferences, help in advocating for their children and navigating high school and course selection, as well as family events celebrating milestones.
Additionally, BTC cultivates the next generation of educators by giving college and select high school students an opportunity to lead their own classrooms during the summer. They practice classroom teaching while serving as near peer role models for the students.
“Support from Mortenson Family Foundation has been critical in helping our students be so successful. It surpasses financial support and feels like a true partnership, where the Foundation is invested in the students, Teaching Fellows and whole organization being healthy and effective.”
The St. Louis River Estuary, the largest freshwater estuary in North America and headwaters of the Great Lakes, was designated an international “Area of Concern” in 1987, due to its historic legacy as dumping ground for industrial and sanitary waste. In 2010, Minnesota Land Trust partnered with the Minnesota DNR, state and federal agencies, tribes and environmental protection groups to initiate, prioritize and coordinate Estuary projects to restore over 1,400 acres of aquatic, wetland and terrestrial habitat by 2025. Key components of the initiative are restoring natural systems and habitats to the river where it enters Lake Superior and creating opportunities for people to engage with the river in a sustainable, healthy way. With the support of the Minnesota Land Trust, the St. Louis River has experienced a remarkable recovery. The river is now being considered for National Water Trail designation, potentially becoming the second in Minnesota and providing new resources, funding and support for recreation and restoration.
“Recovery of the St. Louis River Estuary is an undertaking that requires the dedication of many partners working collaboratively to restore a vital, but damaged, river marsh system. We are grateful for our partnership with Mortenson Family Foundation in helping reverse environmental damage, restore native habitats and provide places for people to reconnect with the river.”
The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Pathfinder International formed the Tuungane Project in Western Tanzania to tackle the interconnected challenges of population, health and environment, and create a sustainable future for people and nature. The Project works with the people of remote villages along Lake Tanganyika and in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem. Because the area’s land and water are largely unprotected and needed to support a rapidly-growing human population, the Project works to support community-driven solutions in these areas.
Since its start in 2011, the Project has trained thousands of smallholder farmers in Climate Smart Agriculture methods that increased their crop yields by an average of 50 percent, and reduced soil runoff and conversion of forest to farmland. Community groups have been organized with formal rights to co-manage the lake and fisheries, allowing people to have a say over a resource they need for the long-term. Thirty-three percent of the households now report that the amount of fish being caught is increasing in comparison to eight percent four years ago.
“Support from conservation-minded groups like Mortenson Family Foundation is the engine that drives our work in this important landscape and ensures that we can achieve those milestones that benefit both local people and critical habitats.”
Tuungane Program Director
ASIYA is a Muslim woman-owned business offering products for Muslim women. The idea began in the Brian Coyle Community Center gym in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, where founder Fatimah Hussein had been helping young Muslim girls gain access to sports activities for over a decade. Her mission was to enable Muslim girls & women to participate in sports while upholding religious beliefs. The name ASIYA pays homage to a revered woman from Islamic history, Asiya bint Muzahim, known for her courage and standing up to injustice.
Historically, access to culturally-appropriate activewear was a major barrier for Muslim girls, causing them to miss out on meaningful leadership and personal development opportunities that come from playing sports. Now Muslim girls and women can play hard without compromising their religion or culture or worry about their hijabs getting in the way. Since 2017, ASIYA has partnered with youth sports organizations and schools to outfit over 5,150 Muslim women in sports hijabs in 27 countries, sponsored 750 athletes, and customized 500 hijabs with team logos. ASIYA’s belief in the power of sport to help set girls up for success as students, community members and future leaders is a success story in the making.
"The Mortenson Family Foundation is providing the critical support that we need to expand our impact, helping more Muslim girls participate in sports and build valuable leadership and teamwork skills."
CEO & Founder