Portfolio Approach

We want to be useful across the entire region we serve.

Toward this end, we take a portfolio approach in all of our grantmaking, meaning we look across all of our grants to ensure we are supporting creative problem solving on lots of issues, in lots of ways, in communities all around the region.

While every funding decision we make is based on our criteria, we know that there are more good ideas and talented people out there than we could possibly support. As we are making decisions, we will sometimes consider how the proposal fits with others we have funded to ensure we are getting a portfolio of investments that support positive change across the region.

These considerations might include:

  • How a proposal might build on or amplify previous investments.
  • How a proposal might allow us to make a difference on an issue or in a community that has not received significant other funding from us.
  • How our organizational commitments to racial equity and rural equity are reflected in our decision making, including our particular commitment to Native people and Native nations.
  • How we are supporting work within and across sectors and through organizations of different sizes, including supporting efforts led by the communities most impacted by the work.
  • How the donor intent of Archie and Edyth is evident in our grantmaking – like their interests in education and the arts and their connection to place, particularly St. Paul and Granite Falls.

Our equity approach applies to all aspects of the portfolio, ensuring our funding is weighted toward communities with greater need. For example, we know there are fewer foundations serving North Dakota and South Dakota than there are serving Minnesota, so we look for opportunities to invest more per capita in those two states.

We continuously review data on where applications are coming from and where our money is going. We want to understand where we are not meeting our aspirations to be broadly useful and equitable. Based on what we see, we create pro-active engagement strategies to ensure people know about what we have to offer and to ask whether we need to make changes to our approach to serve those communities well.

All of our grantmaking is to advance our organizational purpose of inspiring and supporting creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make the region better for everyone. We know there is amazing work happening all across the region, and we want our portfolio of grants to reflect that.