3 Twin Cities Foundations Experiment With New and Dramatically Different Approach


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"I've never experienced poverty," says Andrew Dayton, son of former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. "And my perspective is I'm not the best person to make a decision about how to fight poverty."

His Constellation Fund is one of three foundations in the Twin Cities, and one of the youngest, that have turned philanthropy into something more akin to a business, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Instead of simply handing out grants, the foundations work with advisers to rate grant applicants based on 200 metrics, then write checks for up to $200,000 to fight poverty.

"A lot of philanthropy is really rooted in relationships, and getting access to people with resources, frankly people like me," Dayton says.

The other two foundations in the area, the Venn Foundation and the Constellation Fund, work with advisers to issue low-interest and no-interest loans, among other "program-related investments," or PRIs, to keep giving to other worthy initiatives as they're paid off.

But Andrew Dayton's approach is different from that of the John and Denise Graves Foundation, an emerging Minneapolis-based family foundation that has focused on launching new ventures and helping them grow sustainably.

"New ideas need time and space to form," says Bill Graves, who leads the foundation. Read the Entire Article