Transformative Grantmaking

Since our establishment in 1986, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) have become a model for rural philanthropy, delivering more than $382 million in grants in Greater Minnesota.

$382.6 M

Grants Empowering our Communities

Place-Based Development

The Minnesota Initiative Foundations are inherently and proudly rural. We believe in the power of our neighbors, with the right tools in hand, to move their communities forward.

Nationally, just seven percent of funds from major philanthropies reach rural areas even though 20 percent of Americans live outside of big cities and make outsized contributions to the economy. As place-based grantors, the MIFs address the rural philanthropic gap in Minnesota.

The McKnight Foundation, our first and most steadfast supporter, has been instrumental in shaping our model of philanthropy. The MIFs have leveraged McKnight’s partnership to broaden grantmaking initiatives and cultivate relationships with more funders.

Each MIF has a diverse grant portfolio, funding work that helps create more welcoming communities, improve learning outcomes for young children, support systems for entrepreneurs, and much more. We are collective grantmakers, as well, giving funding partners a direct avenue to reach all of Greater Minnesota. Statewide collaborative grant programs have included early childhood capacity-building, small business and main street improvement and child care expansion.

Additionally, five of the six MIFs support a total of 126 community funds that, in turn, do their own grantmaking.

Thriving Communities

The MIFs continue to lead the way in rural philanthropy, aligning grantmaking with community and economic development while also being responsive to emerging challenges.

The transformative impact of the MIFs’ grantmaking, supported by many funding partners, continues today, providing a solid foundation for sustained growth, resilience and thriving communities in Greater Minnesota.