Working with The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.
Started in Saint Paul in 1940, The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (SPMF) is a statewide initiative that serves all of Minnesota’s communities. Each year, the Foundation makes over 8,500 grants to nonprofits across the state, investing in equitable and community-led solutions.
What Catchafire does for SPMF
The Foundation’s Building Community Capacity grants currently support nonprofits in the East Metro area. Five years ago, The St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation developed a partnership with Catchafire as a way to scale their existing capacity program and provide resources beyond the grant for nonprofits across the state.
By partnering with Catchafire, the Foundation offered a way for Minnesota nonprofits to gain capacity building support and resources year-round, at no cost to them.
“We were starting to think of ways that we could help the community and nonprofit partners in greater Minnesota, even though we don't have the same level of unrestricted resources there. Catchafire provided us an opportunity to provide capacity and resources all across the state.”
Chief Operating Officer, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
Nonprofits are able to connect with volunteers who provide their expertise on one hour consultation calls and long-term projects in key areas like marketing, finance, and strategic planning. This has a profound impact on nonprofits, helping staff focus on their mission while volunteers get the work done.
“It’s an incredible program that allows nonprofits to say I need help…Today, we sponsor over 330 nonprofits as an active cohort just for this year. They’ve given over 20,000 hours of value to nonprofits and expertise that they would otherwise have to outsource. And in dollars, that's saved more than four million dollars for these nonprofits to achieve things that they never would have imagined budgeting for at a level that brings national expertise to solve Minnesota’s needs.”
Eric Jolly, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
Catchafire’s resources go beyond providing volunteers and project support; we also offer coaching, monthly trainings, and leadership development for nonprofit leaders. Two of the Foundation’s grantees are in our executive director support group, where nonprofit leadership meets biweekly to connect and network. During sessions, attendees build a space where they can share learnings, strengths, and challenges, leading to peer to peer learning and collaboration.
“St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation gifted Catchafire to us at just the right time. In particular, I’m so grateful for the Executive Director support group because they have absolutely been a lifeline for me.”
– Rebecca L., Executive Director, Telling Queer History
Since posting their first project in September 2021, Basic Needs Inc. of South Washington County has saved over $94,000 in project support by working with volunteers. The organization’s mission is to support the basic needs of those in the community, such as housing, food, clothing, and coordinated services. By working with volunteers on Catchafire, the organization has received support on projects like SEO audits, website updates, board prospecting, and donor letters. In exchange, staff can save time, money, and focus on their mission.
“I don't know what I would have done without Catchafire. When I saw it was renewed, I was so happy. We plan on opening the Basic Needs Food Market in July. The help we have received has saved us time and money. It has been so helpful. In fact, we have done quite a few projects this year that have been completed by Catchafire consultants. We love using the program.”
– Vickie S., Executive Director, Basic Needs Inc. of South Washington County
For nonprofits that are new, grassroots, or entirely volunteer-run, access to Catchafire is a game changer.
“We would not be where we are today without the Catchafire program allowing us to access skills and experience that we don't have as a young growing nonprofit. Our organization's impact is more evident because of the support we receive from volunteers and guidance from Catchafire staff.
Catchafire has enabled our organization to obtain valuable professional skills and experience to sustain our young organization and allow us to focus on our mission. We are all volunteers, and the projects and guidance we have received has been paramount to our success as a nonprofit over the past three years. We have connected with wonderful volunteers to help us get a vast array of projects completed and have retained a number of those volunteers over the long term due to their passion for our mission."
– Debbie B., Executive Director/Founder, The Free Book Buggie
The Free Book Buggie provides books to children in the Twin Cities, with the goal of building home libraries and promoting the joy of reading. They aim to ignite a passion for reading, and to empower each child to explore a world full of opportunities.
Since their first project in February 2021, the nonprofit has saved over $95,000 in project support. Volunteers have helped the nonprofit on projects related to data and analytics, accounting, and graphic design.
Thanks to the generosity of The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, nonprofits are able to receive the resources they need to build sustainable practices and become grant-ready for the future.
“Catchafire has allowed us to address issues that impact day-to-day as well as future sustainability. Our small staff is stretched to fill the gaps now. Without access to professionals to help solve the problems that cause these gaps, we just continue to bandage the problem with short-term solutions. Catchafire volunteers give us bandages and solutions to work beyond filling a gap temporarily.”
– Dana T., Program Coordinator, Community Partners
Since 2018, volunteers on Catchafire have helped generate over $4.2 million in value for Minnesota nonprofits.
We’re excited about year five of our partnership and all the collective impact we will make in the year ahead.
Learnings from the Foundation
We recently hosted an event with The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation to discuss how the Foundation built the East Metro Pulse, a biannual survey tool, to inform their community building strategies. You can watch the recording here and hear from Nadege Souvenir, the Chief Operating Officer of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.
Strengthening and building a community through strong nonprofits is critical for healthy communities. Our partnership with The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation has helped the Foundation’s grant dollars go further, as they expand support to organizations of all sizes and across geographies in the state. When great forces come together, we can build the resilience of the nonprofit sector and better serve the needs of our communities.
If you’re interested in learning more about our partnership with The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation or developing your own capacity building program with Catchafire, let’s connect. Email [email protected] to learn more and request a demo.
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