Photo: Breakthrough Twin Cities
Mortenson Family Foundation builds partnerships to strengthen community-driven approaches that advance equity, opportunity, and sustainable systems.
When our four sons were young, I regularly worked on volunteer projects. When I say regularly, I mean with enough consistency that one of our sons remarked, upon finding out that I was a volunteer, “They don’t pay you for that? I thought that was your job.”
While I might have thought then that I was taking away precious time together with our sons, I know now that I was providing them with a deeply held set of values that include service and caring for others. They all married wives who share a remarkable sense of commitment to the community.
Those early experiences also communicated the importance of dedicating time to making the community a better place for everyone. While I could have chosen to share my time with organizations that touched our family directly, I found myself most interested in giving my energy to families who could use some additional support to stabilize their health and well-being.
Now, as my own children have children, I see them sharing their time and talents, and modeling for their children that we all have gifts to contribute to make the community better for everyone. We are a family who all independently want to make a difference in others’ lives.
What makes our work rewarding is that as we come together as the Mortenson Family Foundation to express our shared values and interest, we are caring for others. We provide opportunities for youth and families in our own backyard of the Twin Cities, resources throughout the state of Minnesota for environmental issues that we care about deeply, as well as support for families in developing communities that we may never visit.
The Mortenson Family Foundation’s intention is to exist in perpetuity and to have generation upon generation of our family working to strengthen communities for which we care. That is time well spent, and precious beyond measure.
In 1999, Alice and Mort Mortenson created the Mortenson Family Foundation as an expression of gratitude – for the privilege of living and working in a vital and vibrant community, and for the great joy their family brings to their lives. For Alice and Mort Mortenson, service is the hallmark of their love for humanity. The two consistently shared their beliefs about community service and sharing with their children and grandchildren. The Foundation offers their family an opportunity to work together and with members of the community to make a positive, lasting difference in their communities for generations to come.
Mortenson Family Foundation was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a means for the Mortenson family to join together to express their common values. The initial contributions to the Foundation were provided by individual family members and M. A. Mortenson Company, a national engineering and construction company. While related to M. A. Mortenson Company through family connections and Company contributions, the Foundation intends to be an independent entity governed by the family to express its values.
The Board of Directors formalized the Foundation’s systems and structure. Donna Dalton joined the Foundation as Executive Director.
The Foundation launches a planning process to identify its main areas of focus, resulting in the three grantmaking programs we have today.
The Foundation formalizes its mission to build partnerships to strengthen community-driven approaches that advance equity, opportunity, and sustainable systems. The Board of Directors begins a journey to understand how to advance equity within the Foundation and in support of the community.
Mauritz A. Mortenson, Jr. (“Mort”) passes away. Mort loved his family, the company he built, and his community. He is dearly missed but leaves all of us with a legacy of service and generosity.
The Foundation expands its team to bring on Community Relationship Officers for each of its areas of interest.
The Foundation celebrates its 20-year anniversary and the milestone of cumulatively providing 375 grants of $18,884,000 to the community.
The Foundation responded to community needs during a pandemic and racial reckoning by committing an additional $1 million to COVID-19 response and $3 million to grants to increase equity within the community.
Two new investment committee members join three existing family members and embark on creating a framework to guide our impact investing and measurement of outcomes.
The Board of Directors hires Ambar Cristina Hanson as the new executive director of the Foundation.
The Foundation invites community members to join the Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families grant committee. It continues working toward expanding all committees to include community members.