The year 2011 marked the 54rd Anniversary of the Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation.
Family and friends from near and far were saddened by the passing of Eleanor J. Andersen on January 12, 2011 at the esteemed age of 99. Eleanor was the last surviving founder of the Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation. Her lifetime of devotion to the arts, the well-being of women and children, the state of Minnesota and, most of all, her family, will be missed.
The Foundation fully implemented the strategic grantmaking plan developed over recent years. At a foundation-directed retreat in March, Directors met with community leaders in the area of environmental justice. Representatives from the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED) at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota and Interfaith Power and Light, provided a landscape of possibilities to help determine where the Foundation could best meet needs.
With the information, the Foundation developed a goal of creating an environmental atlas of the Twin Cities area, assembling data describing environmental burdens and risks and socio-economic profiles. Additional meetings were held and a proposal was developed by CEED in conjunction with the mapping capabilities of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the grassroots efforts of the West Side Citizens Organization. As a result, the partnership was awarded a grant of $62,000 ($31,000 a year for two years) to develop the atlas. Additionally, a template for environmental justice advocacy will be developed so that other communities can benefit from a similar process and an effective research tool.
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits received the second installment of $20,000 for the re-implementation of its Train the Trainer program, a part of its Minnesota Participation Project. Civic participation efforts were targeted in Saint Paul for municipal voting in 2011 with preparation for national, state and local elections in 2012.
Directors met with the Executive Director of The Advocates for Human Rights to determine where the Foundation could best meet local needs in the area of human rights. After much discussion, the Foundation decided to research efforts in the reduction of Islamophobia in Minnesota. The research continues.
Other grants of note were approved. The Hackley Public Library in Elmer Andersen’s hometown of Muskegon, Michigan was awarded a grant of $45,000 over three years for its capital campaign. The Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota Duluth was awarded a grant of $15,000 over three years. A discretionary grant of $3,500 was awarded to the Fremont County Skatepark project in the city of Lander, Wyoming. Other discretionary grants were $2,000 to the Wyoming Outdoor Council (Lander); $2,000 to the National Outdoor Leadership School (Lander); and the second of three $4,000 payments to the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project (Seattle).
Beginning in December 2010, Legacy grantmaking was conducted at two rather than all four board meetings. Directors continued using the honed consent agenda procedure and, to streamline the decision-making, offered pre-meeting input on the increasing number of proposals received for consideration.
Anticipated in 2012 are reduced grantmaking due to market conditions and investment performance, further research into local efforts in the area of human rights, and attendance at the Council on Foundation’s Family Foundation Conference in Miami, Florida (in February!).