As a private foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation provides grants for nonprofit organizations and public entities in Minnesota’s East Metro area of Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties.
F. R. Bigelow Foundation believes that our community should not only benefit from our work, but inform and form it as well. Creating solutions to today’s issues requires a collaborative approach. Our work is also rooted in a commitment to racial equity.
We offer general operating, program and some capital support. The Foundation considers grant applications from nonprofit organizations and public entities fostering a vibrant East Metro region and seeking to achieve racially and economically equitable outcomes in the areas of arts & culture, economic & community development, education & youth development, health, housing and human services.
Our primary geographic focus is the Greater Saint Paul metropolitan area, which includes Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties, with a particular emphasis on serving people who live or work in the city of Saint Paul.
F. R. Bigelow Foundation has six focus areas and will consider proposals that address one or more of the following:
Arts & Culture
Strengthening the arts & culture sector to serve all individuals and all communities across the East Metro region by supporting capacity building, capital projects and community programs
- The Foundation shares Grantmakers in the Arts’ view that all “peoples, their cultures, and their art contribute to the meaning and understanding of our humanity and should be honored and celebrated.”
- Priority will be given to arts and culture organizations that seek to amplify narratives and voices across BIPOC communities and other communities experiencing marginalization (e.g., people with disabilities, low-income communities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, formerly incarcerated people, etc.).
- Please note that the Foundation has not historically supported specific productions, performances, exhibits, artist fees, etc. through this application-based process.
Community & Economic Development
Building a strong and vital East Metro through community building, physical development and strengthening support for low-income individuals, families and underrepresented communities through workforce development and training
- The Foundation seeks to invest and partner in solutions informed and formed by the people facing the highest barriers to wealth creation, economic security and family-sustaining career pathways. In the East Metro, this includes BIPOC, women, veterans, young people, people with disabilities, formerly incarcerated people and LGBTQIA+ people.
- Specific priorities for wealth creation include strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem and increasing local ownership of businesses and homes.
- Regarding economic security, the Foundation recognizes the importance of anchor institutions embedded at the neighborhood level. For workforce development, we will prioritize employment pathways that meet the needs of individuals and employers alike.
Education & Youth Development
Supporting under-served children, youth and young adults by investing in access to high-quality education and youth development both in and out of school from cradle to career
- The Foundation recognizes how important it is for students and young people to feel cared for, protected, valued and seen after a difficult period in their learning and growth. This is complex and urgent work, and the Foundation will prioritize organizations that blend academic, social and emotional support for young people most impacted by educational inequity.
- The Foundation will also prioritize support to organizations working to build a robust early childhood system that gives children and families access to high-quality care and education programs.
Increasing health equity through quality, affordable, culturally relevant services, particularly for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and socially marginalized individuals
- The Foundation continues to prioritize health organizations that focus on health equity and increasing access to affordable, culturally relevant health services.
- The Foundation hopes to better align its health grants to be inclusive of programs and organizations that serve low-income families, provide free or affordable, culturally relevant services, and holistic care.
- Given the increase in severity, cost of and demand for mental health services, urgent care and/or crisis prevention, access to reproductive health care, trauma-informed health care, and free or reduced services for uninsured or underinsured communities, the Foundation will prioritize these programs and organizations to continue to serve our most vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Improving access for low-income individuals and families to affordable quality housing, preventing and ending homelessness
- The Foundation embraces the vision for housing justice articulated by the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness.
- The Foundation will prioritize work that ensures the most marginalized people experiencing housing instability and homelessness are able to access housing that is “safe, decent, affordable,” and “free of prejudice” while also receiving the additional support and services they need.
Investing in basic needs for individuals and families, helping them be safe, stable and independent
- The Foundation will prioritize grants that assist residents in navigating life transitions, finding safety and stability, and promoting independence.
- In addition to supporting work that centers the voices of the people most impacted by an organization’s work, special priority will be given to disability support services, child welfare support services, family and parent support services, food relief and assistance, older adult services, immigration and legal services, and re-entry supports for formerly incarcerated people.
Grants can be made to 501(c)3 organizations, education or governmental units and religious institutions. Grants can also be made to groups working through an eligible fiscal sponsor.
While an organization may be eligible to apply, attention and preference will be given to organizations:
- Prioritizing people experiencing the most marginalization, especially due to race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, age, ability, immigration status, etc.
- Where work is informed, formed and led by the people most impacted by it.
- Seeking multi-year grants that place a priority on sustaining the work supported by the Foundation.
All applicants will need to register to use GranteeView. We encourage all prospective applicants to complete registration early.
Types of Grants
The Foundation will consider grant applications for:
General Operating Support
These grants provide flexible funding for nonprofits in which at least 50% of the organization’s services benefit residents in the East Metro (Dakota, Washington and Ramsey counties).
These grants are designed to provide support to a program or project serving 50% or more East Metro residents. The Foundation will consider proposals for established and/or new programs/projects.
Any organization is eligible for this type of grant regardless of overall geographic focus. In other words, the organization can do 75% of its work in Hennepin County or elsewhere, but would be eligible to apply for a project serving mostly Dakota, Washington or Ramsey County residents.
The Foundation supports capital projects located in the East Metro with 50% or more of services from that facility benefiting East Metro residents. Grants are designed to support investment in buildings, facilities and equipment. Foundation investments are typically limited to buildings owned by nonprofits or held by long-term lease agreement.
These grants are generally paid over multiple years.
How to Apply
We have two grant rounds each year.
1. Talk to the Grants Team
Before applying, all interested applicants are encouraged to email a member of our Grants Team to ensure that the grant program fits your needs.
2. Find Application Materials
Review grant round dates, application questions and other materials to help you apply.