Weather Forecast


Grantmaking to the arts up 20 percent in Minnesota

According to new research by the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF), Minnesota grantmaking to the arts rebounded significantly in 2010, growing to $129 million, which is 20 percent above 2009 levels. The rise follows an almost steady decline in arts giving since 2004.

Grantmaking to the arts, culture and humanities increased the most dramatically of any of eight subject areas in 2010 according to early conclusions from MCF's research, Giving in Minnesota, 2012 Edition. The 2010 research year includes the fiscal year of any Minnesota foundation or corporate giving program that ends between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011. This is the latest time period for which complete data are available.

"It's great news for Minnesota that as the economy turned around, arts grantmaking did the same," says Bill King, MCF president. "We saw a similar decline followed by a rise in giving to the arts during 2001's recession and recovery."

All grantmaker types increase funding to arts organizations

Corporate grantmakers gave half of all grant dollars to arts organizations in 2010, increasing their support to nearly $63 million. As has been the case since 2002, Target Foundation and Corporation was Minnesota's largest 2010 arts funder, providing around $34 million. 3M Foundation and Corporation was the fifth largest arts grantmaker in the state - the first time in recent years it has appeared in the list of top five arts funders.

Private foundations contributed $44 million to arts, culture and humanities. The McKnight Foundation gave almost $10 million and ranked third in overall arts grantmaking. Vickie Benson, arts program director for The McKnight Foundation, says, "Over the years, McKnight's commitment to artists has been unwavering. As times and needs change, we work to adapt our strategies to keep up, but our primary goal remains steadfast - to provide Minnesota's artists with resources and opportunities to succeed."

Community/public foundations donated $22 million to the arts, an 85-percent increase over 2009. Several large gifts accounted for most of the jump: The Minneapolis Foundation made sizeable donor-advised contributions to the Minnesota Orchestra, Yale University and the Guthrie Theater. The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation made a generous gift to the Arts Partnership, a collaboration of the Minnesota Opera, The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, The Schubert Club and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

"Arts have long been important to our lifestyle and culture as Minnesotans," says King. "They are an essential part of the mix that makes our state a place where people want to live, work and play."

Performing arts receives largest share, but museum funding up 76 percent

As in past years, the performing arts subcategory received the largest share of arts grants dollars, almost $48 million in 2010. Much of this 25-percent increase over 2009 is due to capital grants made to the Minnesota Orchestra, which topped the list of arts recipients in 2010.

Giving to museums increased significantly to $24 million, making this subcategory the second largest within arts. Gifts by several grantmakers to Smithsonian Institution museums contributed to the rise. Giving to six of nine arts subcategories grew in 2010, with significant increases to historical societies and the humanities.

For more information on arts grantmaking, visit Analysis was based on more than 27,000 grants of $2,000 or more, made by a sample of 100 of the largest grantmakers in the state. MCF's complete Giving in Minnesota, 2012 Edition, will be released in October.

About the Minnesota Council on Foundations

The Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) works actively to expand and strengthen a vibrant community of diverse grantmakers who individually and collectively advance the common good. MCF members represent three-quarters of all grantmaking in the state, awarding almost $1 billion annually. Members include private family and independent foundations, community and other public foundations, and corporate foundations and giving programs. To learn more, visit