Minneapolis, MN

Dear Minneapolis Grant Seeker,

Thank you for your interest in Carolyn Foundation.  Here you will evaluate your fit with Carolyn Foundation and how to apply for a grant.  Your understanding of our priorities and processes will help you decide if applying to the Carolyn Foundation is a fit for your program.

Our first priority is low-income middle-school age youth grades 6-8, approximately ages 12-14 living in the city of Minneapolis.

  • Middle school age students are an under-served population with just 3% of students involved in “out of school” programs.
  • Middle school is a critical developmental stage that can place or keep young people on the “right track” for long term success.
  • Many other foundations and agencies are targeting their resources at younger and older youth.
  • The availability of best practice data enhances our evaluation process. Click these links for information and data:
  • Once We Know It
  • Quality Matters
  • Middle School Transition

***PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: While our middle school focus remains the same, we have added clarification to our evaluation criteria.***

Carolyn Foundation is committed to partnering with schools that are providing a good education to students most in need. We know that the benefits of additional programs and resources in these schools will be used wisely and support a high quality system of education. To this end we will give priority to middle schools closing the gap for low income students in Minneapolis. These schools can be found on page 15 of the Minneapolis School Finder (http://minneapolisschoolfinder.org/MSF_Schools_closing_the_gap.pdf). We will NOT fund programs in low performing schools unless it’s part of a recognized and respected overall school redesign/launch. Programs in mid-performing schools will be considered on an exception basis depending on available funds.

Because we believe in and support school autonomy and strong school leaders, all in-school program requests must include a letter of support from the school leader explaining how and why the program fits with the schools priorities.

In addition to our continuing emphasis on developmentally appropriate programs designed for middle schoolers, we also recognize the importance of culturally relevant programs, staff and organizations that empower young people to develop agency, independence, and empowerment. We prefer programs that explicitly demonstrate an equity, inclusion, and empowerment lens in their work.

Our second priority is Community Vitality.

***PLEASE NOTE: OUR GUIDELINES FOR THIS PROGRAM HAVE CHANGED. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting an application.***

Carolyn Foundation wants to fund organizations in Minneapolis whose missions are to bring actual people together to build a shared community through arts, culture and community engagement by:

· Intentionally connecting and/or bridging diverse groups;
· Engaging in deliberate cross cultural work
· Supporting underrepresented, marginalized, minority, and/or immigrant groups to develop and share their culture and experiences with others

Our preference and intent is to provide general operating support to small and medium-sized organizations whose missions align with our priorities:

· Small-sized organizations with budgets less than $1,000,000 or;
· Medium-sized organizations with budgets between $1,000,000 – $4,000,000 and;
· Organizations where the leadership (executive and board) and staff represent/reflect the target constituency

Our intent is to fund 3-5 organizations per funding cycle.

Types of organizations that do not fit our funding priorities:

· Large general arts/cultural organizations
· General arts organizations
· Media and Journalism
· Business networks, economic development activity
· Social service/basic needs

Recent grant cycles have been very competitive. If you still have questions regarding our guidelines and/or your organization’s fit with our priorities, please contact Becky Erdahl at 612-596-3279.  Before submitting a proposal, please read all the information in the FAQ section for important information you will need during the application process.

Application Deadlines:

  • February 1 – for grants paid in June.
  • August 1 – for grants paid in January.

Deadlines are online submission dates. We do not accept paper or emailed applications.  If the deadline falls on a weekend, the applications are due the next business day.


Becky Erdahl, Executive Director