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Foundations have big impact

The Detroit Lakes area is fortunate in that several of the top 50 charitable foundations have a footprint in this area.

The West Central Initiative, for example, was ranked No. 48 and gave more than $3.6 million in grants in the fiscal year ending May 31. It has more than $57 million in assets.

Ranked at No. 10, the Otto Bremer Foundation gave $38.3 million last year and has assets of $899 million.

Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota and Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota gave grants totaling about $10.5 million.

Thrivent Financial Foundation & Corporation gave grants totaling $17.2 million. It has more than $88 in assets.

The biggest giver in the state is Target Foundation & Corporation, which distributed grants worth $147 million last year.

No. 2 is the General Mills Foundation & Corporation, which gave $106 million in grants.

The McKnight Foundation was No. 3 with $86 million distributed.

Another big donor is the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which gave grants totaling $28 million last year. It was No. 13 on the list of top donors.

The Northwest Area Foundation gave $13.5 million, and Blandin Foundation gave $12.4 million.

Best Buy Foundation & Corporation gave $12 million.

Why does it matter what these foundations gave?

Because those grants, large and small, help build the community in ways that may not be visible, but show up in a better way of life.

It might be better community leadership, or government, or education, or medical facilities, or the arts.

Or a host of other things, like positive things for kids at the Boys and Girls Club, or college scholarships for good high school students.

Grants from charitable foundations reward those organizations that are well-run and effective at pursuing positive change, at all levels, and that helps everyone, from the grassroots on up.