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Nonprofit Trends

During the Foundation’s most recent grant round, our team saw several key issues and trends emerge.

During our twice-yearly open grant round, our Community Impact team pays close attention to key issues and trends that impact our communities. This allows us to invest in community-led solutions that address the most pressing needs and opportunities.

We’d like to share some of these insights to encourage increased community involvement and giving, in support of the thousands of organizations doing important work.

Hear from our Vice President of Community Impact Alfonso Tomás Wenker about some current nonprofit trends.

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Building Community Capacity in Six Areas

In each of our six areas of focus, here are a few trends and a sample of nonprofits that received funding in our first grant round of 2024. View the full list of nonprofits funded by the Foundation’s Building Community Capacity grants.

Community Connectedness

Community connectedness encompasses arts and culture, civic engagement and the environment.

  • We are seeing a surge in grant applications in these areas as multiple factors are putting a strain on nonprofit organizations. Across the board, there is an urgent need for culturally relevant and responsive, community driven initiatives.
  • Many arts organizations are facing the challenges of lower attendance and finding ways to refine programming and scale.
  • Civic engagement leaders shared the urgent need to invest in advocacy, organizing and building the power of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders – necessary and essential work to maintain and grow our democracy.
  • We see an opportunity to provide funding for environmental organizations that are supporting BIPOC conservation professionals to tackle environmental justice issues.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • African American Leadership Forum
  • ArtStart
  • Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP)
  • Mississippi Park Connection
  • West Side Community Organization (WSCO)
  • Young Dance

Economic Opportunity and Security

In the area of economic opportunity and security, the Foundation seeks to invest and partner in solutions informed and formed by the people facing the highest barriers to wealth creation, economic security, and family-sustaining career pathways.

  • Organizations have challenges accessing credible data to inform economic decisions in our region. Funding for nonprofits that provide this data is down, and some have had to reduce staff.
  • The process to get government support and reimbursement is unnecessarily cumbersome for nonprofits.
  • A new coalition is helping community development financial institutions (CDFIs) work together more intentionally. CDFIs provide access to financial products and services for residents and businesses in low-income communities.
  • More nonprofits are focused on wealth creation, like programs for youth employment and helping retiring business owners transition smoothly.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • Asian American Business Resilience Network (AABRN)
  • East Side Neighborhood Development Company (ESNDC)
  • Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD)
  • Tree Trust
  • Small Sums
  • Rondo Community Land Trust (Rondo CLT)


Education is a changing landscape as the pandemic’s after-effects continue to shape the sector.

  • Schools are struggling to meet needs due to teacher and staffing shortages.
  • Students are facing a mental health crisis, leading to lower academic performance and highlighting the need for more mental health professionals in schools.
  • Graduation rates continue to be lower for low-income BIPOC youth, alongside a lack of racial diversity among current teachers.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • Montessori Center of Minnesota (MCM)
  • New Heights School
  • East Side Learning Center (ESLC)
  • Central High School Parent Advisory Council (The Advisory Council)


The healthcare landscape is also evolving.

  • While health systems are stabilizing after the pandemic, workforce challenges remain. Staffing shortages persist, especially for direct care workers.
  • Landmark legislation is expanding access to care, including mental health care, making it even more crucial to support organizations providing culturally specific, community-based care — as well as those that are addressing mental health and substance abuse disorders.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • Family Tree Clinic
  • Minnesota Community Care
  • Minnesota Recovery Connection
  • Portico Healthnet

Housing & Transportation

Our primary goal in the housing and transportation priority area is to increase community vitality by strengthening our region through affordable, quality housing, addressing homelessness and investing in equitable transportation options and benefits.

  • The Twin Cities — and many areas of Minnesota — face a housing crisis, with rising costs and stagnant wages, which disproportionately impacts low-income residents, people of color and seniors.
  • Many residents are cost-burdened by housing. Eviction rates are high, many are experiencing homelessness, especially those who are BIPOC. And, unfortunately, administrative complexities present a barrier to supportive housing resources reaching those who need them the most.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • Breaking Free
  • Theresa Living Center
  • St Paul Transportation Management Organization

Human Services & Family Support

Investments in human services organizations are not just a response to immediate crises but a long-term investment in the well-being and equitable growth of our region.

  • Remarkable population growth and demographic shifts present both opportunities and challenges. As communities evolve, it becomes increasingly vital to ensure sustainable development that benefits all residents, especially those historically marginalized.
  • There are still racial disparities in access to food and mental health support. BIPOC communities, especially Black and Native American residents, are more likely to struggle with food insecurity and mental health issues.
  • Community-led efforts like gardens, food co-ops, and culturally sensitive mental health services are key to building a more equitable future.

A sample of nonprofits in this category:

  • A Better Road Foundation, Inc.
  • Como Park Living at Home Block Nurse Program
  • Face to Face
  • The Karen Organization of Minnesota
  • Open Access Connections
  • Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities (UGMTC)
  • We Resolve
  • White Bear Area Food Shelf

While our communities are facing extreme challenges, most of which disproportionately impact low-income and BIPOC communities, we also have a resilient and creative nonprofit ecosystem, full of brilliant people working toward positive change. We are proud to invest in community-led solutions working on our community’s most urgent needs.



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