See how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation works with Catchafire.
Since 1940, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation has served communities across Minnesota. Each year, we make over 8,500 grants to nonprofits across the state, investing in equitable and community-led solutions.
How We Work With Catchafire
Five years ago, the Foundation developed a partnership with Catchafire as a way to scale our existing capacity program and provide resources beyond the grant for nonprofits across the state.
By partnering with Catchafire, we offer a way for Minnesota nonprofits to gain capacity-building support and resources year-round, at no cost to them.
“We were starting to think of ways that we could help community and nonprofit partners in Greater Minnesota, even though we don't have the same level of unrestricted resources there,” said Chief Operating Officer Nadege Souvenir. “Catchafire provided us an opportunity to provide capacity and resources all across the state, and to smaller and emerging nonprofits that may not yet be eligible for our grantmaking channels. They need some things to get them there – help with their website, HR questions, translations. For us, this was something that naturally aligned with something we wanted to do. We wanted to make sure we weren’t showing up just in the East Metro but throughout the state.”
Through Catchafire, our nonprofit partners are able to connect with volunteers who provide their expertise in one-hour consultation calls and long-term projects in key areas like marketing, finance and strategic planning. This has a profound impact on nonprofits, helping staff and volunteers work together to achieve their mission.
“It’s an incredible program that allows nonprofits to say ‘I need help… today.’ We sponsor over 330 nonprofits as an active cohort just this year. They’ve given over 20,000 hours of value to nonprofits and expertise that they would otherwise have to outsource, and saved more than four million dollars for these nonprofits." - Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., President & CEO
Catchafire’s resources go beyond providing volunteers and project support; they also offer coaching, monthly trainings and leadership development for nonprofit leaders. Two of the Foundation’s nonprofit partners are members of Catchafire’s executive director support group, where nonprofit leadership meets biweekly to connect and network. During sessions, these leaders build a space where they can share learnings, strengths and challenges, leading to peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.
“The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation gifted Catchafire to us at just the right time,” said Rebecca L., executive director of Telling Queer History. In particular, I’m so grateful for the Executive Director support group because they have absolutely been a lifeline for me.”
The organization’s mission is to support the basic needs of those in the community, such as housing, food, clothing and coordinated services. By working with volunteers on Catchafire, the organization has received support on projects like SEO audits, website updates, board prospecting and donor letters. In exchange, staff can save time, money and focus on their mission.
“I don't know what I would have done without Catchafire,” said Vickie S., executive director of Basic Needs Inc. of South Washington County. “When I saw it was renewed, I was so happy. We plan on opening the Basic Needs Food Market in July. The help we have received has saved us time and money. In fact, we have done quite a few projects this year that have been completed by Catchafire consultants. We love using the program.”
For nonprofits that are new, grassroots or entirely volunteer-run, access to Catchafire is a game changer.
“ We would not be where we are today without the Catchafire program allowing us to access skills and experience that we don't have as a young growing nonprofit.”
Debbie B., executive director/founder of the Free Book Buggie
The Free Book Buggie provides books to children in the Twin Cities, with the goal of building home libraries and promoting the joy of reading. They aim to ignite a passion for reading, and to empower each child to explore a world full of opportunities.
“Our organization's impact is more evident because of the support we receive from volunteers and guidance from Catchafire staff. Catchafire has enabled our organization to obtain valuable professional skills and experience to sustain our young organization and allow us to focus on our mission. We are all volunteers, and the projects and guidance we have received has been paramount to our success as a nonprofit over the past three years. We have connected with wonderful volunteers to help us get a vast array of projects completed and have retained a number of those volunteers over the long term due to their passion for our mission.”
Since their first project in February 2021, the nonprofit has saved over $95,000 in project support. Volunteers have helped the nonprofit on projects related to data and analytics, accounting and graphic design.
“Catchafire has allowed us to address issues that impact day-to-day as well as future sustainability,” said Dana T., program coordinator of Community Partners in Two Harbors. “Our small staff is stretched to fill the gaps now. Without access to professionals to help solve the problems that cause these gaps, we just continue to bandage the problem with short-term solutions. Catchafire volunteers give us bandages and solutions to work beyond filling a gap temporarily.”
Since 2018, volunteers on Catchafire have helped generate over $4.2 million in value for Minnesota nonprofits. We’re excited about year five of our partnership and all the collective impact we will make in the year ahead.
Learnings From Our Recent Event With Catchafire
We recently joined an event with Catchafire to discuss our use of data collection to inform our grantmaking strategy. You can watch the recording here and hear from Nadege Souvenir, our Chief Operating Officer.
During our discussion, Nadege shared how the Foundation built the East Metro Pulse, a survey tool, an available resource for the community that informs our community building strategies.
Strengthening and building a community through strong nonprofits is critical for healthy communities.
Our partnership with Catchafire has helped our grant dollars go further, as they expand support to organizations of all sizes and geographies in the state. When great forces come together, we can build the resilience of the nonprofit sector and better serve the needs of our communities.
If you’re interested in learning more about our partnership with Catchafire, check out our impact page.
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