Principles for Minnesota Grantmakers


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This is part of "Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations."

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The desire to give is a defining human characteristic. As members of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, we honor diverse charitable expressions across the wide economic, racial, ethnic and social spectrum. We celebrate new and traditional forms of giving that respond to human needs, build community, increase knowledge and promote creative expression. We acknowledge the fundamental roles and responsibilities of engaged individuals and the public, private and nonprofit sectors in a just and equitable society.

As a community of grantmakers, we embrace philanthropy's role in a civil society. We are leading advocates for public policy to sustain robust philanthropy. We work strategically through grantmaking and other means to improve the vitality and health of our communities, to educate our members and the field, and to achieve our collective mission of strengthening and expanding philanthropy. We express a shared commitment to excellence by formally subscribing to the Principles for Grantmakers.


1. Ethics and Law Principle

To sustain public trust by adhering to the highest ethical principles and practices and abiding by all state and federal laws that govern philanthropy.

2. Effective Governance Principle

To achieve effective governance by ensuring performance in the areas of stewardship of assets, donor intent, fiduciary responsibility and sound decision-making.

3. Mission and Goals Principle

To be purposeful in our philanthropy by having a clearly stated mission and explicit goals.

4. Engaged Learning Principle

To foster continuous learning and reflection by engaging board members, staff, grantees and donors in thoughtful dialogue and education.

5. Respectful Relationships Principle

To build constructive relationships with applicants, grantees and donors by ensuring mutual respect, candor, confidentiality and understanding.

6. Transparency Principle

To achieve transparency in our relationships with the public, applicants, grantees and donors by being clear, consistent and timely in our communications with them.

7. Diversity Principle

To reflect and engage the diversity of the communities we serve in our varying roles as grantmakers, boards and employers, economic entities and civic participants.

8. Self-Assessment and Commitment Principle

To uphold the highest standards by regularly assessing ourselves against these principles and committing to implement them.

Adopted by the MCF Board of Directors in 2006; developed from the original 1996 version.

More Information

As part of our continuing efforts to help foundations maintain and improve the effectiveness of their work, the Minnesota Council on Foundations has prepared a comprehensive resource to help private, corporate and community/public foundations understand their legal requirements and obligations.