Skip to main content

Principles for Philanthropy

Collective commitments to ourselves, each other and the community.

A banner reading "Principles for Philanthropy" with multicolored text bubbles

Preamble: An Invitation From MCF Members

These principles are offered with a spirit of invitation. Fellow philanthropic organizations, we hope you will join us, the members of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, in making these commitments – to ourselves, each other and to the community. At a time when our country is greatly divided, we believe these principles provide unity to carry us into the future.

Our organizations are guided by these principles. The value of these principles lies in our collective commitment. When we commit, together, to ethical leadership, equity and justice, continual learning and the rest of the principles contained herein, there is vast potential for our positive impact. By naming our commitments, we invite accountability from one another and the broader community.

Since the last revision to the Principles for Philanthropy in 2006, the work required of the sector has greatly evolved. Our historical and current realities require the field of philanthropy to rethink and redefine our collective work. We are called to address structural inequities and systemic racism; we are asked to engage and share power with community; we are challenged to deploy more of our assets. We are called to do better, with humility and generosity.

These Principles for Philanthropy were developed using a developmental framework, whereby each organization has its own starting point. Together MCF members commit to accepting these principles as a common baseline from which we will undertake individual, organizational and collective growth.

Wherever you see your institution on the spectrum of organizational development, the Principles for Philanthropy offer an opportunity for learning and improving, as described on the pages linked, above. Through MCF, the philanthropic sector transforms our efforts to collectively advance prosperity and equity.

We are better together. We hope you will join us.

Adopted by the MCF Board of Directors, June 2021