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Learn how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation partners with donors to invest in our community.

Editor’s Note: You may have heard of a community foundation — but may not know what it is, or how it differs from other foundations. In this ongoing series, we will be breaking down the many aspects of a community foundation.

A community foundation is an organization dedicated to supporting a specific geographic area or affinity group. Much of its work is done with individuals, families, organizations and companies interested in supporting their community, and have decided to partner with a foundation to amplify their giving. These fundholders are often known as donors.

Reasons donors might partner with a community foundation vary. Often donors turn to a community foundation when they want to have an increased charitable impact, and seek guidance from foundation advisors who know the community. Community foundations can also offer several different funds, many providing flexibility, potential tax benefits, and guidance for establishing a giving legacy.

Some of the reasons donors choose to work with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation include:

  1. Personalized service and giving recommendations tailored to each fund

  2. Localized community expertise specific to Minnesota

  3. Access to a suite of resources to help develop and refine giving

  4. Guidance for families on multigenerational giving

  5. Support in creating a legacy

  6. Exclusive invitations to donor events, where donors can learn about a variety of topics related to giving

Our donors contribute to the community in multiple ways, many of them personalized to their unique preferences. In 2023 alone, our donor advised funds recommended $57 million in grants to over 2,600 organizations, supporting organizations in nearly every county in the state.

How It Works

Depending on a donor’s giving goals, the Foundation can work with them to determine what fund type is right for them.

One of the most common ways for donors to organize their giving is with a donor advised fund (DAF). A DAF is a giving tool that provides donors with the flexibility to recommend grants to multiple causes and organizations, as well as engage more than one generation in giving.

In addition to a DAF, other fund types include designated funds, field of interest funds and unrestricted funds.

Ways to Support a Fund

Once a donor has established a fund, they can support it in a variety of ways. They may choose to contribute to their fund during their lifetime or through their will or estate plan, or choose to give both ways. They may choose to give cash or other assets. Donors often choose options that provide some tax benefits.

At the Foundation, we accept a wide variety of non-cash assets, including stock, real estate, life insurance, cryptocurrency and farm assets such as grain.

Donors who are interested in supporting a fund after their lifetimes, but who are also interested in an income stream now, may choose charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts.

Why Partner with a Community Foundation

When a donor partners with a community foundation, they are choosing to invest in the future of their communities.

By working with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, donors join forces with Minnesota’s largest community foundation. We work with our donors and their advisory team to create a charitable giving plan that matches their goals.

To learn more about the benefits of working with a community foundation and how the Foundation can work with you to best achieve your giving goals, contact one of our gift planners at 651.224.5463 or

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