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Learnings from the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund

Read the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund Learning Report

MCF has released a report that offers insights and key takeaways about the pooled fund created in response to COVID-19. Read the 23-page report, Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund: Learnings From Collaborative Funding to Support Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As a community of learners, MCF collaborated with the consulting firm Seiche to produce the learnings report, which highlights stories of impact, issue areas funded and interviews with grantees and grant makers. The report narrates perspectives of past, present and future learning opportunities throughout this experience.

In the report Susie Brown, MCF President, describes some of the ideas behind the formation of the fund, “I wanted to make sure that we were doing something that was responsive, appropriate and added value. I hope the people who were involved actually witnessed and experienced that things can be done differently to the benefit of the community.”

View the full report, released April 2021.

MDRF Background and Overview

In March 2020, the Minnesota Council on Foundations and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation convened to discuss the impact of a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state of Minnesota. The outcome of the discussion led to the inception of the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund (MDRF) for coronavirus, created to support community needs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Funds were primarily raised through philanthropic entities. In total, over $11 million was raised for this fund. This grant opportunity is now closed and all dollars have been distributed.

Grant rounds were intended to support the recovery and resilience of Minnesota's nonprofit sector. The MDRF envisioned a nonprofit sector that is strong, vibrant, equitable and able to deliver in many ways that strengthen our communities, including arts and culture, social services, basic needs, advocacy, education, health and wellbeing, and more, during the pandemic and into the future.

About the MDRF Partners

The Minnesota Council on Foundations and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation partnered to deliver the MDRF to Minnesota's communities.

MCF hosted, convened and facilitated strategic decision-making guided by the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund Advisory Committee. Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation partnered with MCF to collect and hold fund contributions in the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for Coronavirus—until the time of distribution. 

MDRF Eligibility

The MDRF provided grants to community intermediaries, because they have a deep understanding of the needs in their communities and the relationships to distribute resources quickly and effectively to a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Community intermediaries re-granted the funds as general operating support to nonprofit organizations and/or provided technical assistance to nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. Eligible community intermediaries supported multiple nonprofit organizations and had a history and proven capacity to serve in this role. Eligible technical assistance providers delivered services to nonprofits in areas such as financial management, legal assistance, fundraising, language translation, navigating public programs, and nonprofit management. Learn more about the grantmaking process, grantees and local impact by reading the full report.

Other COVID Funding in Minnesota

Through various state and federal programs, Minnesota communities received various opportunities to support individuals, nonprofits and businesses impacted by COVID. Learn about government funding programs for COVID.

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