Advancing Equity

Northside Achievement Zone
Northside Achievement Zone

Mortenson Family Foundation began its equity journey in 2018 when the Foundation Board approved a mission that included advancing equity. When we started our journey to advance equity, we knew we needed to turn the mirror to face us and work within our own organization to understand the ways that we, as individuals and an institution, perpetuate racism and inequality.

We continue looking in that mirror as we learn, reflect, and challenge our beliefs, actions, and systems to advance equity. The senseless killing of George Floyd has impressed upon us the importance of accelerating our work to create more equitable systems and to be even more comprehensive and thoughtful about the change.

The Mortenson Family Foundation has committed to taking these actions:


  1. Commit an additional $3 million, staged over three years, to supporting recovery and community-building to thrive and prosper. In 2021, we distributed $600,000 in grants to cultural Community Development Financial Institutions to increase economic well-being within  Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities. The remaining $2.4 million will be distributed over the next two years to provide grant support to entities that are led by and for community to create community participatory grantmaking and distribute grants within community.
  2. Continue to increase the percentage and dollar allocation of our grantmaking that goes to organizations led by and for community and leaders of color.
  3. Continue to increase the percentage and dollar allocation of our grantmaking that goes toward advocacy and change movements.
  4. Include community members on grantmaking committees.


  1. Increase the percentage of our investments managed by and for  BIPOC communities.
  2. Commit investment dollars to community rebuilding.


  1. Continue to hire staff from  BIPOC communities and engage vendors from  BIPOC.
  2. Our Foundation team will work to increase equity within philanthropy.

We thank our partners for their engagement and input along the way and we look forward to continued partnership with community in this work. Philanthropy often demands accountability from nonprofit partners for their work with no promise of accountability in return. As part of our equity journey, we hope to change this narrative as we build strong partnerships that are mutually accountable in service of the Foundation’s mission to strengthen community-driven approaches that advance equity, opportunity and sustainable systems. We recognize the significant work that is needed to end racism and create equitable systems. These actions represent a few steps, which are just the first of many more we know will be needed.