Mortenson Family Foundation Now Accepting Letters of Inquiry for Environmental Grant Consideration

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Goal

Mortenson Family Foundation is seeking to protect, preserve and restore biodiversity and habitat in Minnesota's watersheds in order to improve water quality. To achieve this goal, we believe:

  • Terrestrial and aquatic habitat and biodiversity are intricately connected to water quality. 
  • The greatest positive environmental impact on our water will occur by addressing the complex needs of land and water systems through a variety of strategies at a watershed scale.
  • Groundwater can be an important part of freshwater systems.
  • It is incumbent upon all of society--including individuals, private sector and public sector--to orient their habits, behaviors, and actions in a comprehensive way toward the health and sustainability of our watersheds.  
  • Because effective sustainable solutions are connected to society's relationship to natural systems, we will most effectively protect our fresh water systems when all segments of society have - and take - the opportunity to form personal relationships with nature and water.

Organizational Partners

We are most interested in partnering with nonprofit 501(c) (3) organizations that exhibit a majority of these characteristics:

  • Focus on sustainability by considering the ecosystem’s ability to provide ecosystem goods and ecosystem services in perpetuity.
  • Deliver multiple environmental outcomes and benefits, including, but not limited to, protecting and preserving habitats, storing carbon, and protecting at-risk species. Although not as high priority, organizations that focus on a specific watershed attribute for a single outcome will be considered.
  • Provide either direct service (i.e. land conservation, water quality improvements, agricultural interventions, etc.) or builds capacity to affect positive change for a watershed through environmental education, research or policy.
  • Provide access to the benefit of their work. 
  • Address issues at the scale of an entire watershed.
  • Work in partnership with private and public sectors, including across the political spectrum.
  • Ability to sustain programs and impact without continued funding from the Foundation.

To achieve our goal, we will partner with organizations defined above.  Although they may complement the overall Foundation goal, the following strategies fall outside of our desired focus:

  • Research without a focus on watershed properties.
  • Conferences, festivals, and events 
  • Strategies that focus on watersheds outside of Minnesota.  The Foundation understands ecosystems are not defined by governmental boundaries and that projects outside the state may impact watersheds in Minnesota.  For example, if a project on the St. Croix River was focused only on benefitting a Wisconsin watershed, the project would fall outside of our desired focus. 

Application Process

The application process begins with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI).  You may access the online LOI form at   The deadline to submit a Letter of Inquiry is 4:00 pm CST on July 1, 2016.

When you arrive on the webpage, please choose either to "Create New Account" or use your existing password to log on.  Once you create a new account or enter your password, please click "apply" on the left-hand navigation bar.  On the application page, click “Apply” under Environment 2016 to access the LOI form.


Please call or write Donna Dalton ( or 763-287-5388) with questions, comments or feedback on the guidelines.  Please contact Kristina Roberts ( or 612.260.2156) with questions, comments or feedback on the online grant process.