The year 2013 marked the 56th Anniversary of the Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation.
In 2013, the Foundation nearly completed the first rotation in its social justice grantmaking program which began in 2010:
A final report was submitted by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) for the $40,000, two-year grant in the political power and process focus area, which concluded with national, state, and local elections held in November 2012. Voter engagement efforts were fully implemented by the Minnesota Participation Project of MCN resulting in the increased voter participation of underrepresented communities. Whether the positive outcome was a direct or more attributable result of the project, the compelling state constitutional amendments on the ballot, the impetus of a presidential election, some combination, or other factors, was not determined. Evaluation of grantmaking continues to challenge the Foundation.
With the completion of the grant cycle with MCN, the Foundation researched the landscape in the area of increasing the political participation of underrepresented communities. Political participation includes voter participation as well as community organizing, running for elective office, being involved in campaigns, and inspiring others. A grant is likely to be awarded in December 2013.
Also in 2013, the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED) submitted a final report for the $62,000, two-year grant to develop an environmental justice atlas of the Twin Cities. Final drafts of the maps were received with a public unveiling scheduled for January 2014. In December 2013, an additional grant proposal from CEED for use of the atlas by grassroots organizations is likely to be considered.
In December 2012, the Council on American Islamic Relations Minnesota (CAIR-MN) was awarded a one-year $25,000 grant for development of training programs to reduce Islamophobia in Minnesota. A final report will be reviewed in December 2013 with continued funding possible.
Through the work of CAIR-MN and the selection and voting process of the Mission and Excellence Awards program of the Minnesota Council Nonprofits, the Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation was the winner of the 2013 Responsive Philanthropy Award. Julian Andersen and Tom and Mari Oyanagi Eggum attended the awards luncheon at the MCN annual conference in Duluth, Minnesota and received a unique, hand-blown glass art piece before 700 attendees. Along with those of the other nonprofit award winners, a video highlighting the work of the Foundation was shown.
Grant payments of note include the final of three $15,000 payments for the capital campaign benefitting the Hackley Public Library in Elmer Andersen’s hometown of Muskegon, Michigan. The Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota Duluth received the final of three $5,000 payments. The Elmer L. Andersen Research Scholars program at the University of Minnesota received the fourth of five $5,000 payments. Sugarloaf received the second of three $3,000 payments. And the City of Lander, WY received $5,000 for construction of the Fremont County Skatepark.
Several new multi-year grants were awarded: a three-year $18,000 grant to the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project; a four-year $40,000 grant to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library for a capital campaign, a five-year $15,000 grant to the Anoka Technical College Foundation for scholarships, a three-year $12,600 grant for a student service program; and a four-year $20,000 grant for the Muskegon Museum of Art capital campaign.
The year 2013 was a year of a few firsts in the life of the Foundation: The Foundation contracted for the design of its first-ever website which will debut in 2014. Also, an annual report is being professionally designed for the first time. Additionally, after much discussion, a logo for the Foundation was designed.
Research continues in the likely change to on-line grants management. Prospective grantees will be able to submit applications on-line. Board members will have easy and ready access to Foundation information through a private portal.
Anticipated in 2014 are decisions on grant awards in all three areas of the social justice grantmaking program; the debut of the website; the completion of a professionally designed annual report; the purchase of an on-line grants management package which will include training for staff; and the retooling of internal financial reports using Excel.