George Family Foundation Awards $995,000 in Latest Grant Round

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

In its fall 2020 grantmaking round, the George Family Foundation awarded a total of $995,000 to 40 organizations, bringing its total giving to more than $5.2 million for the year — a record number.

During 2020, the Foundation increased its grantmaking by 8.3%, adding $685,000 in emergency funding to respond to urgent community needs. These included the impact of the global pandemic on the nonprofit community and the urgent call for racial justice following the death of George Floyd.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, we felt a strong need to invest additional dollars to support some of our smaller grantees that have been especially challenged this year,” said Penny George, co-founder and board chair of the George Family Foundation.

In the recent grantmaking round, the Foundation continued to support the general operations of many long-term partners. It also issued three new grants to further the mission of the Foundation: the National Academy of Medicine, to explore innovative financing strategies that reward better health and wellbeing; GirlVentures, an outdoor youth development organization focused on girls and young women, to build their environmental stewardship; and Appetite for Change, to support mindfulness programming for African American youth.

The grant gave Appetite for Change the ability to facilitate virtual healing circles focused on trauma recovery and resilience that were culturally based and specific to African American youth. “Healing circles cover topics that are highly relatable and impactful for our youth,” said Taronda Richardson, youth training and opportunities program manager at Appetite for Change. “We strongly believe this current emphasis on the social-emotional needs of our youth will create pathways to restoration and strengthen their commitment to goal attainment.”

Founded by Penny and Bill George in 1994, the George Family Foundation is a private family foundation with nearly $63 million in assets that supports integrative health and healing, authentic leadership, spirituality and mindfulness, youth development, the environment and community.

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, Penny and Bill George are co-chairing the board as the Foundation moves into an important year of transition. The Foundation recently announced that Gayle Ober, president, plans to retire at the end of the year, and it has begun the search for a new president. More details are available on the George Family Foundation website.

The grants approved at the fall 2020 board meeting include:

$60,000 to YWCA Minneapolis to support the Girls Incorporated program.

$50,000 to Audubon California to support general operations of the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary.

$50,000 to Compassion & Choices to support general operations to help ensure everyone in Minnesota and across America has the options they need to die in peace and with dignity.

$50,000 to National Academy of Sciences to support A National Academy of Medicine Project to advance financing that rewards better health & wellbeing.

$50,000 to the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation to support the Itasca Project's Minnesota Young American Leaders program.

$40,000 to ISAIAH to support the Building an Inclusive and Equitable Minnesota program.

$40,000 to the Mindful Life Project to support general operations on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$30,000 to Big City Mountaineers to support programs for women and girls to attend expeditions and camps in the Boundary Waters.

$30,000 to Café Momentum to support general operations.

$30,000 to Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa to support the Conservation Corps Minnesota Summer Youth program.

$30,000 to Enriching Lives through Music (ELM) to support general operations on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$30,000 to MacPhail Center for Music to support the After-School Strings program on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$30,000 to The Dallas Foundation to support general operations for Bonton Farms.

$30,000 to Vote Run Lead to support the RUN 51 Minnesota program.

$25,000 to Carleton College to support the Class of 1996's efforts to raise $690,000 in honor of their 25th reunion and to be used for scholarships for students with high financial need.

$25,000 to Karuna-Shechen to support Shechen Clinics in Nepal, India and Bhutan and in honor of Matthieu Ricard.

$25,000 to Mayo Clinic to support general operations for the Mayo Clinic Center for Women's Health.

$25,000 to the Mind & Life Institute to support general operations.

$25,000 to the Penny George Institute Foundation to support training and education for Penny George Institute for Health and Healing practitioners.

$20,000 to Girls Inc. to support general operations on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$20,000 to Junior Players Dallas to support general operations on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$20,000 to POETIC to support general operations on behalf of the Next Generation Fund.

$20,000 to Urban Strategies, Inc. to support general operations for Green Garden Bakery.

$15,000 to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative to support Nicollet Square supportive services.

$15,000 to Children's HeartLink to support general operations.

$15,000 to the Eagle Valley Land Trust to support general operations.

$15,000 to Global Minnesota to support general operations.

$15,000 to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to support the annual fund.

$15,000 to Pathways to support general operations.

$15,000 to the Minnesota Orchestra in honor of the leadership of Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Paula DeCosse.

$15,000 to Minnesota Public Radio to support the annual fund.

$15,000 to Twin Cities PBS to support the annual fund.

$15,000 to the University of St. Thomas to support the annual fund.

$15,000 to Walk-In Counseling Center to support general operations.

$15,000 to Wilderness Inquiry to support the Project FIT: Building Healthy Families and Thriving Communities through Shared Outdoor Adventure program.

$10,000 to Appetite for Change to support mindfulness programming for the Youth Training and Opportunities program.

$10,000 to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens to support general operations.

$10,000 to Carleton College — Additional grant of $10,000 to support George International Fellows due to COVID-19.

$10,000 to GirlVentures to support GirlVentures Outdoor Adventure and Leadership Programs: Empowering Girls from Diverse Communities to Become Environmental Stewards.

$10,000 to Somali Success School — Additional grant of $10,000 to support general operations due to COVID-19.

$10,000 to Twin Cities Medical Society to support Honoring Choices Minnesota’s Rural Community-Based Advance Care Planning Phone Facilitation Helpline pilot program.