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Public Policy & Government Relations

Minneesota State CapitolMCF has been involved in government relations since its inception in 1969. Read about the six principles that have guided our work for over 40 years.

Grantmakers of all types engage in public policy as a leadership strategy to advance their missions in ways that are more far-reaching and enduring than grantmaking alone. This is particularly true in Minnesota where grantmakers use philanthropic tools to pursue a broad spectrum of public policy and systems-change work addressing difficult community issues.

2015 Advocacy Agenda

Expand philanthropy, charitable giving 
and Minnesota's community of grantmakers.

Create a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota by eliminating disparities.

  • Lead efforts to enact state legislation to increase resources available to support community and economic development by providing a tax credit for contributions to the permanent endowments of community foundations through the Endow Minnesota Program. [State]
  • Advocate for protection and expansion of state and federal tax incentives to maximize the impact of charitable giving.[Federal/State]
  • Advocate for federal legislation to increase resources available for community benefit and relieve administrative inefficiencies by establishing a flat excise tax for private foundations. [Federal]
Create a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota by eliminating disparities.

Education. Eliminate race and other demographics as predictive factors in educational achievement through
systemic changes that meaningfully engage the most affected communities and serve students throughout
  1. Early Childhood Education. Establish a statewide system of early childhood education to assure that all young Minnesotans are physically, socially and cognitively prepared for school and lifelong learning. [State]
  2. Out-of-School Time. Establish a statewide system for providing afterschool and summer learning programs designed to close opportunity and achievement gaps, develop 21st Century skills, and support families by providing safe and productive activities for out-of-school engagement. [State]
Health. Eliminate race and other demographics as predictive factors in health outcomes by advancing crosssector
strategies that meaningfully engage the most affected communities and create healthy places and
conditions that address social determinants of health and policy position to educate grantmakers and support
cross-sector strategies.

Democracy-Building and Civic Engagement. Preserve and strengthen democratic processes and civic
participation by relieving barriers of structural racism or economic inequity that limit equitable treatment in
voting, elections, judicial and census processes.
  1. Felon Re-Enfranchisement. MCF supports the right to vote for convicted felons who are not incarcerated and are living in the community on probation, parole, or other provision for community release. [State]

Expand Philanthropy, Charitable Giving and Minnesota’s Community of Grantmakers.

Promote Charitable Giving. Expand charitable giving by advancing policies that encourage charitable
giving as an essential expression of civic engagement in democratic society that should be valued and promoted through tax policies and regulations.

  1. Endow Minnesota. Lead efforts to enact legislation promoting community and economic development establishing a tax credit for contributions to permanent endowments of community foundations. [State]
  2. Tax Reform. Support tax reforms, particularly at the federal level, that incorporate provisions of the America Gives More Act and any other changes that, on the whole, can be demonstrated to promote increased charitable giving. [Federal/State]

Strengthen Nonprofits and Charities. Advance policies that enable the nonprofit and philanthropic
community to fulfill its role in strengthening communities and sustaining a thriving democracy.

  1. Nonprofit Excellence. Support opportunities to promote public trust for the nonprofit community by advancing policies for effective, ethical and accountable practices that are consistent with Minnesota Council of Foundation’s Principles for Grantmakers and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

MCF Public Policy Infographics

  • Charitable Giving Deduction. About one-third of Minnesota residents - at every income level - reported making contributions by itemizing and claiming deductions on their federal tax returns. In 2011 Minnesota residents donated $3.2 billion.
  • The Minnesota Paradox. Minnesota ranks high nationally for voter turnout, high school graduation, health outcomes, home ownership and many other social and economic indicators. Yet, the underlying data tell a different story . . . one of disparities and underlying inequities.

Why is Public Policy Important for Grantmakers?

Resources to Get You Started

Opportunities to Get Involved with Public Policy

  • Support Endow Minnesota
    Find out more about this new legislative initiative to foster increased giving to community foundation endowments.

Websites to Track Legislation

  • Minnesota Legislation
    Use this section of the North Star site to track the status of state House and Senate bills.
  • Federal Legislation
    Track U.S. bills, search by bill number or keyword, link to congressional directories and more.
  • Minnesota Budget Project
    Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
    This site encourages active, effective and timely participation in Minnesota's public policy debate.

More Public Policy Resources

Tracy_bob_smallStaff Contact
Bob Tracy, director of government relations and public policy

Is your foundation considering public policy or government relations as strategies to ensure funding impact? Bob Tracy can answer questions and connect you with other grantmakers doing similar work. Contact Bob.

Photo Minnesota State Capitol, CC manyhighways

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