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How to Use

A developmental framework to advance your philanthropic work.

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When you become a member of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, we ask you to subscribe to these principles. Based on your progress along the spectrum of the developmental framework, you may recognize your organization at any of the three phases where we are called to understand, to begin or to aspire.

By joining MCF, you signal that you accept the spirit of these principles and you are on a path of learning and organizational growth.

Understand: Each of us and our organizations must take time to understand the context of philanthropy within a complex society. Without understanding our environment, we cannot do the work required to advance prosperity and equity.

Begin: You and your organization might begin today. Maybe you’ve begun the work long ago. The principles will be augmented with a second resource, the Practice Options for Philanthropy, coming in 2022. The Practice Options will further define concrete actions and examples for grantmakers to achieve these principles.

Aspire: Whether you are ready to lead or follow, we can achieve more, together. High goals give us room to grow and provide more opportunities for positive impacts across our communities.

Private foundations, public charities, family foundations, corporate giving programs and other organizations make up MCF’s membership. Each type of organization will interact with these principles in unique ways. Additionally, staff, board, volunteers and donors will arrive at different developmental levels. Though the work varies by organization—we invite you to join us on a path toward a universal goal: build public trust while collectively advancing prosperity and equity.

When organizations become MCF members, they agree to the following language: Applying High Standards – Principles for Philanthropy: As a member of MCF, you signal that you accept the spirit of the Principles for Philanthropy and you are on a path of learning and organizational growth, appropriate to your community context.

View the Practice Resources page for tips and tools to support your work.