In 2016 the Foundation decided to experiment with a different kind of impact: deeper in an issue area, rather than broad across many facets of the nonprofit sector. The Board identified early childhood as a place to start in greater St. Cloud. Early childhood was selected because of promising community efforts already underway, the wisdom of early investment in preventing or mitigating problems later, and the interests of Foundation board members. After taking several months to learn about the field of early childhood in central Minnesota, the Foundation further defined how it aims to make a tangible difference.
Focus and Priorities
The focus of the St. Cloud Initiative is to improve the quality of, and access to, early child care and learning (birth through 2 years old) in the St. Cloud area, especially for those who need it the most.
We believe that the members of our community “who need it the most” do not fit neatly into a single descriptive category. Our intention is to target children and families who have been traditionally underserved and/or have the fewest resources to address the needs of our youngest residents. They may, for example, be low income/poor; of color; immigrants or refugees; or lack a stable support system from family or friends.
The Foundation has further defined two priority funding interests:
1. Strengthen parenting skills to enhance children’s development, focusing on relationship attachment, brain development, and social emotional growth (birth through 2 years old);
2. Increase the number and quality of early childcare programs (birth through 2 years old).
In evaluating grant requests, the Foundation will pay particular attention to how well the request aligns with the focus and priorities of this initiative and can demonstrate results. By narrowing our grant interests over the next two years, the Foundation is hoping to have a clear impact - one that can be described in specific terms and supported by evidence that shows a change for the better.
For 2017 and 2018, the Morgan Family Foundation is limiting its competitive grantmaking to the field of early childhood through its St. Cloud Initiative. The Foundation expects to award a total of approximately $300,000 over the two years of this initiative. Two-year grant requests will be considered, and are particularly encouraged if the proposal is a collaborative project involving more than one organization in the service design or delivery. The minimum grant amount is $10,000. The maximum grant award is anticipated to be $100,000 over two years. Requests for building construction or renovation are not eligible for funding as part of this initiative, but other types of requests will be considered, such as for a program, project, or non-capital capacity building.
Virtually all Foundation grants are awarded to charitable, nonprofit organizations that are recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) public charities. Occasionally grants are made to units of government, like a public school district, college or university. If an entity wants to apply but does not have 501(c)(3) status, please contact the Foundation for eligibility. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals or for lobbying legislation or influencing public elections.