Building Community Capacity Grant Guidelines
WE OFFER GENERAL OPERATING AND CAPITAL SUPPORT TO NONPROFITS SERVING THE EAST METRO through two open grant rounds a year.
2024 Open Grant Round Updates
Each year, we consider where we can make the most impact as we listen to our nonprofit partners share their greatest needs and challenges. We recognize our partners are in the best position to determine internal priorities — and flexibility is essential.
As a result, in 2024, our Building Community Capacity grant program will prioritize general operating and capital requests. Our grant guidelines have been adjusted to reflect that we will not accept program support requests to allow us to make room for this greater flexibility. Our general focus areas remain unchanged.
Our first grant round of 2024 will be open January 16 through February 7 at 3 p.m. The Grants Team held two virtual information sessions and one Q&A lunch hour in January to share our process and answer your questions. We encourage potential applicants to view the event recordings to learn more about our funding priorities and grant guidelines.
In 2024, we will continue to listen as we innovate and grow under new Community Impact leadership. Do not hesitate to email any Community Impact Grants Team member if you have questions or feedback. Thank you for the work you do every day to foster thriving communities across Minnesota.
Informs, Forms, Benefits
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation believes that our community should not only benefit from our work, but inform and form it as well. Creating solutions to today’s issues requires a collaborative approach. Our work is also rooted in a commitment to racial equity.
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is proud to serve and fund Saint Paul’s East Metro region, which is defined as Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties.
Grants can be made to 501(c)3 organizations, education or governmental units and religious institutions. Grants can also be made to groups working through an eligible fiscal sponsor.
While an organization may be eligible to apply, attention and preference will be given to organizations:
- Prioritizing those experiencing the most marginalization, especially due to race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, age, ability, immigration status, etc.
- Establishing a clear connection to the Informs, Forms, Benefits framework, which states that those experiencing barriers should not only benefit from the work we support but inform, form, and lead it as well.
All applicants will need to register to use GranteeView. Registration is open now, and we encourage all prospective applicants to complete registration early.
Grant Requests Not Accepted
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation will not consider grant requests for support of:
- Sectarian religious programs or organizations
- Work by an individual
- Capital projects located outside Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties
- Program/project specific requests
Types of Grants
Our current grant opportunity includes funding for general operating support for the whole organization and capital support.
General Operating Grants
These grants provide flexible funding for nonprofits.
To be eligible for general operating support, organizations must primarily serve the East Metro area with 50% or more of all services provided by the entire organization benefiting East Metro (Washington, Dakota and Ramsey counties) residents.
These grants are designed to support your organization’s investment in buildings, facilities and equipment. Foundation investments are typically limited to buildings owned by nonprofits or held by long-term lease agreement. These grants are generally paid over multiple years.
Capital projects must be located in the East Metro AND 50% or more of all services provided by the entire organization are benefiting East Metro residents. We will consider capital grants for projects located in Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties for:
- Land acquisition
- Construction costs
- Technology hardware and software
Current & Past Grant Status
Current grantees are eligible to apply for funding that would begin after the end of their current grant period. Nonprofits who have received three years of consecutive funding are eligible to apply for a grant. Questions? Please email a member of our Grants Team.
Areas of Community Vitality
We support work that addresses at least one of six areas of community vitality. Data and our experience suggest that the following elements play key roles in community health and vitality.
Creating opportunities for equity in arts, civic dialogue, community problem solving as well as supporting natural and built spaces where people live, work and play
- While community connectedness can be fostered in many ways, the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation is prioritizing three broad strategies: arts and culture, civic engagement and environmental justice.
- The Foundation shares Grantmakers in the Arts’ view that “[a]ll peoples, their cultures, and their art contribute to the meaning and understanding of our humanity and should be honored and celebrated.”
- Priority will be given to arts and culture organizations that seek to amplify narratives and voices across BIPOC communities and other communities experiencing marginalization (e.g., people with disabilities, low-income communities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, formerly incarcerated people, etc.) through the arts.
- Our civic engagement priorities include work designed to build the capacity and power of marginalized community members through organizing and training. The goals for this work should be focused on advancing equity.
- The Foundation’s environmental justice priorities include work that contributes to an intergenerational, multi-racial movement that promotes a safe, clean community and workplace environment. The Foundation also seeks to aid East Metro communities to build and strengthen enduring community connections between people, to heal and revitalize the community while restoring natural spaces, and to encourage stewardship of natural resources through education programs.
Economic Opportunity and Security
Strengthening support for low-income individuals and families through community development, workforce education and training and creating sustainable employment pathways
- 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. In the East Metro, this includes BIPOC, women, veterans, young people, people with disabilities, formerly incarcerated people and LGBTQ+ people.
- Specific priorities for wealth creation include strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem, increasing local ownership of businesses and homes, and expanding access to culturally appropriate services. Regarding economic security, the Foundation recognizes the importance of anchor institutions embedded at the neighborhood level. For workforce development, we will prioritize employment pathways that meet the needs of individuals and employers alike.
Exploring high-quality educational opportunities for everyone, from cradle to career, and more equitable access for racial and cultural communities
- The Foundation recognizes how important it is for students and young people to feel cared for, protected, valued and seen after a difficult period in their learning and growth. This is complex and urgent work, and the Foundation will prioritize organizations that blend academic, social and emotional supports for young people most impacted by educational inequity.
- The Foundation will also support the policy change and other systems change efforts of organizations working toward ensuring a robust early childhood system that gives children and families access to high-quality early care and education programs.
Increasing health equity through quality, affordable health services, particularly for low-income, uninsured and under-insured individuals
- The Foundation continues to prioritize health organizations that focus on health equity and increasing access to affordable, culturally relevant health services. The Foundation hopes to better align its health grants to be inclusive of programs and organizations that serve low-income families and provide free or affordable, culturally relevant services and holistic care.
- Given the increase in severity, cost of and demand for mental health services, urgent care and/or crisis prevention, access to reproductive health care, trauma-informed health care, and free or reduced services for uninsured or underinsured communities, the Foundation will prioritize these programs and organizations to continue to serve our most vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Housing and Transportation
Strengthening our region through affordable, quality housing, addressing homelessness and investing in equitable transportation options and benefits
- The Foundation embraces the vision for housing justice articulated by the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness.
- The Foundation will prioritize work that ensures the most marginalized people experiencing housing instability and homelessness are able to access housing that is “safe, decent, affordable,” and “free of prejudice” while also receiving the additional supports and services they need.
- Work within the transportation sector that explicitly addresses intersections of racial justice, climate justice, economic opportunity and health equity will also be prioritized.
Human Services and Family Support
Meeting basic needs for individuals and families, helping them be safe, stable and independent
- The Foundation will prioritize grants that assist residents in navigating life transitions, find safety and stability, and promote independence.
- In addition to supporting work that centers the voices of the people most impacted by an organization’s work, special priority will be given to disability support services, child welfare support services, family and parent support services, food relief and assistance, older adult services, immigration and legal services, and re-entry supports for formerly incarcerated people.
Grant applications for the first 2024 grant round will be accepted Jan. 16, 2024, through Feb. 7, 2024.
For all dates, view our Grant Resources.
Before applying, all interested applicants are invited — but not required — to email a member of our Grants Team to ensure that your grant fits the requested need.