By: The GrantAdvisor Team

The results are in! The GrantAdvisor team is thrilled to release a list of GreatFoundations in Minnesota – funders that the community has identified as doing great work in the state.

The goal of GreatFoundations is to celebrate the amazing vibrancy of our sector and the foundations who are going above and beyond to ensure grantseekers and grantmakers have strong, productive relationships. We hope the GreatFoundations list will not only highlight best practices, but also identify areas that need improvement to advance equity and accessibility in the grants world. 


The survey to collect reviews at calculates an aggregate score based on three factors: accessibility, overall relationship, and accomplishment of philanthropy goals. The GreatFoundations share these qualifications:

-located in MN
-have received 5+ reviews since the site launched in 2017
-have an aggregate score of 85% or above on

The GrantAdvisor team analyzed 460 anonymous reviews of 81 Minnesota-based foundations written by grants professionals, and found…

The Top 10: (all tied for 1st place!)

  1. Mary’s Pence (21 reviews)
  2. Blandin Foundation (18 reviews)
  3. Hugh J Andersen Foundation (12 reviews)
  4. Minneapolis Foundation (12 reviews)
  5. Pohlad Family Foundation (12 reviews)
  6. Medica Foundation (11 reviews)
  7. The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (9 reviews)
  8. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN Foundation (8 reviews)
  9. Headwaters Foundation for Justice (8 reviews)
  10. Patrick & Aimee Butler Family Foundation (8 reviews)

Common themes among all 10 of these GreatFoundations were:

-Staff accessibility: Foundation staff members return phone calls or emails in a timely manner, and their contact information is visible and easy to find.   
-Align its values with process: The Foundation is doing what it says it stands for – they’re “walking the talk”. 
Asks for feedback and uses it: The Foundation is open to suggestions, and the staff acts on advice from grantseekers to make their grants process easier and/or more accessible. 
User-friendly application process: The grant application is easy to navigate. It is a realistic process for grantseekers regarding amount of time spent and resources needed to complete it.  

Looking forward…

The GrantAdvisor team continues to read the reviews you write on, track trends, and suss out best practices and barriers related to grantmaking and grantseeking. Interested in running a GreatFoundations campaign in your state? Reach out to us at!

Together, we can continue to advance this work of making the grants process more transparent and equitable!