Skip to main content

Learn how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is working with nonprofits and shining light on anti-racism advocates in this video with President & CEO Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D.

Fall is in full swing and our President & CEO Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., has been visiting some of our nonprofit partners doing great work in their communities. Those visits have inspired us to take a deeper look at the health of our nonprofit ecosystem.

It’s also that time of year when the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation celebrates our annual Facing Race Awards, honoring anti-racism advocates who are working to change narratives about race in Minnesota.

Listen as Dr. Jolly shares highlights from the Foundation’s latest work with donors, volunteers and community members just like you.

Hello everyone. I'm Dr. Eric Jolly, and I'm here to share with you a brief update from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.

It's fall in Minnesota, which means the kids are back in school, farmers are managing their harvest, fall sports are in full swing, and the work continues here at the Foundation.

In recent weeks, I've had the great pleasure of visiting several Minnesota communities. I've listened closely to people across several sectors about the challenges and opportunities they face.

I've met with leaders in public safety, universities and school administration, volunteers who are supporting their community, and people who are running the nonprofits that give us a higher quality of life.

A few observations that have stood out to me in my travels. Well, first, we are a state full of incredibly hardworking, creative, and committed problem solvers. And while our communities are different in so many distinct and quite frankly beautiful ways, we share many common challenges such as access to childcare, available healthcare and housing shortages just to name a few.

The responsiveness and resilience of our nonprofit ecosystem in Minnesota is critical to our state's health and our ability to face these challenges. In truth, this is an incredibly challenging time for nonprofits.

This is not news to those of you who are leading and working in nonprofits, and I want to thank you for all your work and all that you do to strengthen and build our community.

For those of you who are not as familiar, our nonprofits are facing several issues, including government reimbursement rates that are lagging behind inflation, and many organizations cannot meet the commitment to pay competitive wages and keep their workforce stable.

There's a shifting public perception about the value of nonprofit work. Nonprofits across the state are facing challenges in recruiting board members and volunteers.

In all of this as we all know, there's a rising cost of doing business and all of this in the context that we are seeing overwhelming and growing community need for our services.

For those of you who are fund holders, I hope that this provides additional context and insight as you make your year end giving decisions. Minnesota is a generous state and our continued support of the work of our nonprofit partners will benefit all of us.

Now, I want to close my time with you on a high note.

Fall also means it is time for our annual Facing Race Awards. For the last 17 years,

the Foundation has recognized those in our community who are taking concrete action to combat racism.

This year's recipients are Trahern Crews, Rayona Kardell, Rose McGee, and Asha Shoffner.

The Facing Race Awards are available for streaming on our website at

Let me share that this is not your typical award show. Instead, we've put together a documentary that shares the moving and beautiful stories of the recipient's respective work of advocating for change, providing compassionate care, delivering pies, and making nature accessible to everyone.

I left the show reminded of how so many actions, big and small can be tools for addressing racism and advancing equity. I invite you all to watch it at

Thank you for taking a moment to keep up to date with our work at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.

Learn More

Taking Action at the Foundation

Partnering with Leaders Across Greater Minnesota

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation supports local, volunteer-led community organizations throughout the state through our community affiliates program. These foundations grant thousands of dollars to their local communities every year.

Sustaining the Future of Minnesota Nonprofits

The Foundation believes it's not only important to support nonprofits through our grantmaking but also ensure organizations have what they need to thrive. That’s why the Foundation has made sure to keep a pulse on the health of the nonprofit ecosystem and provide capacity building resources.

Celebrating Anti-racism Advocates Making a Difference in Our Communities

Through the annual Facing Race Awards, the Foundation honors anti-racism advocates doing the work to change narratives in their communities about race. The Facing Race Awards, established in 2007, are just one way the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation advocates for equity. Through these Awards, we celebrate and learn from those leading the way forward.

More Stories

What Is a Community Foundation?

Learn how a community foundation works and can help you achieve your charitable goals in this short video.

Watch the video

Operationalizing Equity

Chief Operating Officer Nadege Souvenir discusses how the Foundation weaves equity into everything we do.

Learn More

2023: A Year of Collective Collaboration

2023 was a year of collaboration. See how partnerships led to aligned action in our 2023 year in review.

View Our 2023 Year In Review

Foundations Announce $11.6 Million in 2023 Second Round Community Grants

Grants will provide funding resources for community organizations that provide critical resources to Minnesotans across the state.

Read the announcement

Max Foundation Trains Coaches and Educates Students on Mental Health

The Marvin family honors their loved one by starting a foundation to educate others about the importance of mental health.

See their impact

Local Foundation Invests in the Future of the Iron Range

The Mesabi East Foundation is investing in the future of its community by offering scholarships to graduating seniors.

Learn More

Carrie Jo Short Transitions to New Role at the Foundation

Longtime Community Impact team leader Carrie Jo Short transitions to Investments team to support new investment portfolio project.

Read the Q&A

Fostering Mary’s Teaching Legacy

Learn how one family established a scholarship fund to celebrate the lasting impact the former educator had on her students and loved ones.

See More



* Indicates a required field