Foundation Highlight: Carlson Family Foundation

Grant Advisors Ray Sweeney and Frank Klimko are constantly on the lookout for good opportunities offering vigorous funding streams. Regularly, our site will highlight a foundation or federal agency which may fall under the radar, but provides funding that can help you achieve your programming goals.

Over the past few weeks, we highlighted the the MAC AIDS Fund, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics for Grades Pre-K–5 grants, the National Forest Foundation, Whole Foods Markets, Dedalus Foundation and the Best Buy Foundation.

This week, we want to talk about the giving efforts of the Carlson Family Foundation (formerly The Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation). Created by the late Curtis L. Carlson, an entrepreneur who founded the Gold Bond Stamp Company (now named Carlson) that helped revolutionize the way retail goods were marketed. He also purchased and made Radisson Hotel and TGI Fridays into national chains.

Deadline: The trustees meet three times each year — April, July and October; proposals must be received by Jan. 1, April 1, or July 1, to meet the deadlines for the respective meetings; Funding: Varies, the foundation made about $5.7 million in grants last year.

The foundation has identified the following funding priorities: education, children and youth at-risk and youth mentoring. Applicants interested in mentoring grants should keep in mind the foundation focuses on: supporting youth mentoring programs exhibiting characteristics of high quality and excellence; fostering innovation and creativity within the field of youth mentoring and supporting efforts to increase the number of adult mentors to serve youth.

Homeless youth programs are a priority. The foundation gave $10,000 to Teens Alone, Hopkins, MN for mental health, counseling/support groups and $2,500 to Bridge for Youth, Minneapolis for general support. The foundation also makes some grants outside of Minnesota. For example, it awarded $40,000 to World Childhood Foundation in New York City and $15,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, Raleigh, NC. The foundation website is at:

Contact: Joanie Weis, grants manager, 952/404-5605, email: jweis@carlson.com; 550 Tonkawa Rd., Long Lake, MN, 55356-9724.

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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