Join Working Group to Create New Common Grant Application

Monday, August 8, 2022

For the last 30 years Minnesota foundations and nonprofits alike have relied on MCF’s common grant application and report to streamline the grantmaking and grantseeking processes. The Minnesota Common Grant Application has helped nonprofits to avoid duplication of efforts, decreased staff time spent on fundraising, and provided Minnesota’s foundations an aligned method for garnering interest from nonprofits.

Starting in Fall 2022, the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) is hosting a collaborative inquiry process to update and create a new common grant that will offer benefits for foundations and nonprofits, alike.

A working group of nonprofit and foundation leaders will convene to develop recommendations and future actions. If you’re interested in joining the Common Grant Working Group, submit your name no later than 8:00am, September 6, 2022: Foundation Interest Form | Nonprofit Interest Form

Goals of the Common Grant Working Group

  • Define objectives that a common grant will achieve
  • Define what the final product will be
  • Contribute to creating a new common grant, as defined by the working group
  • Create a model for a regional common grant which could inform other states


In the 1990s, the Minnesota Council on Foundations developed its first Minnesota Common Grant Application form. The most-recently updated version (MS Word Doc) was introduced by MCF in December 2000. Minnesota grantmakers developed the form to make the grantseeking process simpler and more efficient for nonprofits. For ease of use and to eliminate unnecessary duplication of work, grantseekers were encouraged to reproduce any part of the form including the cover letter, proposal and budget. At its peak usage in the early 2000s, over 100 Minnesota grantmakers accepted the common grant form for funding proposals.

The December 2000 version of the common grant included three narrative sections including organization information (6 questions) purpose of grant (7-9 questions, depending on proposal type) and evaluation (4 questions). A cover sheet, cover letter, budget, financial statements and other documentation were also included with the common grant form.

Join the Working Group

MCF seeks approximately 16 working group members to join the co-chairs, representing both foundations and nonprofits from across Minnesota. Members will attend five virtual meetings (listed below) and perform 1-2 hours of independent work between sessions. Nonprofit committee members will receive a stipend for participation.

If you’re interested in joining the Common Grant Working Group, submit your name no later than 8:00am, September 6, 2022: Foundation Interest Form | Nonprofit Interest Form

The 2022 Common Grant Working Group is chaired by Theresa Gardella, Vice President of Programs and Operations, Nexus Community Partners and Danyelle O’Hara, Community Relationship Officer, Mortenson Family Foundation.

The working group is staffed by Minnesota Council on Foundations staff: Susie Brown, President; Kristen Cullen, Director of Membership and Communications; and Paul Masiarchin, Vice President and Director of Member Services.

Applicants will be notified in mid-late September about next steps. Please hold the working group dates on your calendar, until that time. Thank you!

Working Group Meetings

  • Meeting #1: Focus Group with MCF Members: Mon, Oct 31, 9:00-11:00
  • Meeting #2: Focus Group with Nonprofits: Fri, Nov 11, 9:00-12:00
  • Meeting #3: Working Meeting: Tues, Dec 13, 1:00-4:00
  • Meeting #4: Working Meeting: Wed, Jan 18, 9:00-12:00
  • Meeting #5: Working Meeting: Wed, March 8, 1:00-3:00


Reach out to Paul Masiarchin, MCF’s Vice President and Director of Members Services.

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