(August 29, 2011) – Education received the largest share of Minnesota’s philanthropic giving in 2009 – about 26 percent – according to new research by the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF). Education was one of only two subject areas for which funding didn’t decline in 2009, the most recent time period for which complete data are available.
Foundations and corporate giving programs in the research sample gave $243.1 million to education in 2009, topping human services giving, which had led eight major subject areas in 2008. The sample includes 100 of Minnesota’s top grantmakers and a portion of their grants that represent about two thirds of the state’s philanthropic giving for the year.
“Education has received the largest share of Minnesota’s grant dollars in all but three of the last 33 years,” says Bill King, MCF president. “One of those years was 2008. It was a time when many grantmakers were focused on the effects of the economic downturn, and human services grantmaking edged out education.”
As in past years, corporate grantmakers were the state’s largest donors to education, giving 55 percent of the 2009 total. Target Foundation and Corporation and General Mills Foundation were Minnesota’s largest education grantmakers, giving $49.7 million and $43 million of the sample, respectively.
Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation, stresses the importance of collaboration in the company’s education funding, which focuses on school leadership, lay leadership and student advancement.
“Strengthening the state of education in Minnesota is on the radar screens of philanthropic organizations and others,” says Luger. “It’s important that we all stay aware of everyone’s efforts in the area, so we can reduce redundancy, increase collaboration and improve outcomes whenever possible.”
Private foundations gave $85.7 million or 35 percent of total education funding. Community/public foundations gave $24.7 million or 10 percent. The Minneapolis Foundation increased its education giving nearly 50 percent in 2009, moving it into the top five funders of education initiatives.
“Minnesota is struggling with one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the nation, and this discrepancy is driving our focus on education,” explains Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, vice president of community philanthropy at The Minneapolis Foundation. “Education has a tremendous ability to level the playing field. We truly believe it is the key to individual success and regional prosperity.”
Elementary and secondary education received the largest share of education grant dollars at $89.8 million, or 37 percent of the total for education; but funding for elementary and secondary education dropped by eight percent from 2008. Higher education and professional schools received the second largest share of education grant dollars at $67.2 million or 28 percent, which represented a 40-percent increase.
“Education is one of the most critical issues facing our state today,” says King. “The sense of urgency we all feel around this issue is reflected in grantmakers’ continuing high level of support for students of all ages.”
Education grantmaking in Minnesota includes contributions to educational institutions (schools, colleges and universities), libraries, and other organizations that provide education-related services. Other recipients include alumni associations, English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) programs and adult literacy services.
MCF conducts Giving in Minnesota research annually to examine long-term trends in charitable giving. For more information on education grantmaking, visit www.mcf.org/research/giving. MCF’s complete Giving in Minnesota, 2011 Edition, will be released in October.
About the Minnesota Council on Foundations
The Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF), a regional association of grantmakers, works actively to strengthen and expand philanthropy and increase the vitality of our communities. MCF members represent three-quarters of all grantmaking in the state, awarding more than $900 million to nonprofits annually. Members include family and private independent foundations, community and other public foundations, and corporate foundations and giving programs. For more information, visit www.mcf.org.