Solidarity MN Unites Philanthropy in Effort to Support Urgent Needs Facing Minnesota Immigrants and Refugees

Monday, May 8, 2017

Solidarity MN–a coalition of foundations recently formed  in response to the challenging and uncertain climate for immigrants and refugees–today announced that it will provide aid to relief organizations and invest in the strength of immigrant and refugee leaders. The coalition will immediately begin making micro grants totaling $100,000.

Solidarity MN coalition leaders say the group seeks to uphold the core principles of democracy, equity, and inclusion with a focus on strengthening a resilient community.

Greater Twin Cities United Way is serving as the coalition’s fiscal sponsor and is responsible for distributing the grants. United Way President and CEO Sarah Caruso said, “These grants are not meant to solve every challenge currently faced by immigrants and refugees but to serve as a supplement to current philanthropic efforts.” She added, “The vision of Solidarity MN is to galvanize support for immigrant and refugee communities through a unified philanthropic voice and to invest in the strength and resilience of leaders working around the clock to meet the unique needs of immigrant and refugee families.”

R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation said, “This is an effort by the Minnesota philanthropic community to act urgently and provide needed support to immigrant and refugee communities who are facing considerable uncertainty.” He added, “In order to maintain and improve life in Minnesota for all of our residents, we need the cultural and economic contributions and constant innovation that immigrants and refugees make daily in our state.”

The social and economic contributions of immigrants and refugees to our state are vast. More than 400,000 Minnesotans were born abroad, representing over 8 percent of the state’s population and more than 10 percent of the workforce. As of 2014, Minnesota immigrants earned $12.2 billion, paid $1.1 billion in state and local taxes, and contributed nearly $9 billion to the economy.

“It is hard to imagine Minnesota without the great contributions that immigrants and refugees make. That’s why it’s so critical that we support community members at this crucial moment,” said David Nicholson, Executive Director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice.

John Keller, Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota said, “As someone who sees every day the contributions and challenges that many immigrants and refugees face, it’s inspiring to see such unity and urgent support from Minnesota's foundations, banding together to respond to address this unprecedented situation.” He added, “Minnesota must strive to be an even more intentionally welcoming state."

The group anticipates a timeline of summer or early fall to release a separate Request for Proposals (RFPs) to allow organizations to apply for larger grants. Organizations and community leaders interested in applying can find more information and apply at


About Solidarity MN
Solidarity MN is a collaboration of Minnesota foundations aligned in our commitment to community. Motivated by the core principles that strengthen the fabric of our society, we are compelled to uphold values of inclusion, equity, and democracy. Together, we seek avenues to advocate for the prosperity, safety, and inclusion of our immigrant and refugee neighbors, friends, and family. The work of Solidarity MN centers around community engagement to help ensure that the collaborative’s core objectives are rooted in the wisdom and voice of communities most impacted.

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Solidarity MN is a partnership of the following:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation

Bush Foundation

Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota

GHR Foundation

Greater Twin Cities United Way

Headwaters Foundation for Justice

Initiative Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Minnesota Council on Foundations

Northwest Area Foundation

Pohlad Foundation

Southwest Initiative Foundation

The Minneapolis Foundation

The Saint Paul Foundation

United Ways of Greater Minnesota

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota