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MCF Leads: Democratizing Philanthropy With a New Common Grant Application

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The Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) is pleased to introduce an updated version of the Minnesota Common Grant Application. First introduced in the mid-1990s, this common application continues MCF’s tradition of advancing toward greater accessibility and equity.

To create the common grant application, MCF convened a working group of eight foundation and eight nonprofit representatives. Over the course of nine months, the working group and MCF staff received input from over 70 additional nonprofit and philanthropic leaders who joined focus groups, small group meetings and subcommittees to advance the concept.

An Adaptable Tool With One Main Goal

The goal of the common application is to reduce the burden on nonprofits seeking grants. If an applicant could fill out one application that many funders accept, or find questions worded the same way across applications, it would save hours of wordsmithing and data gathering.

The common grant is offered with the same spirit of invitation that’s behind MCF’s Principles for Philanthropy. MCF invites funders to use any portion of the tool as part of your commitment to removing unnecessary barriers between grantseekers and grant dollars. Using the common grant is one way to demonstrate your alignment with MCF’s Principles for Philanthropy.

The Minnesota Common Grant is a tool for democratizing philanthropy, one step at a time. When funders commit to use this tool, together, Minnesota’s philanthropic sector advances toward a more equitable grantmaking approach. The value of the common grant lies in philanthropy’s collective commitment.

Learn More About the New Minnesota Common Grant
  1. Sign up for MCF’s member briefing to learn about the common grant on September 26 at 2:00 p.m.
  2. Check out the new Minnesota Common Grant Application and learn how it can fit into your organization’s grantmaking process.
  3. Reach out to Paul Masiarchin, MCF’s Vice President and Director of Member Services, with your questions or ideas at

The Minnesota Common Grant will be updated on a regular basis. Let us know how you’re using it, what’s working well, and what could be improved. Your peers can benefit from your comments and testimonials as we all learn and grow along the way.

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Contact Information

Have questions about the Common Grant? I would love to connect with you!


Thanks to the Medica Foundation for their sponsorship of this project.

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