Strategic Approach

We support problem solvers who build on the assets of their communities to create equitable economies where opportunity is shared by everyone.

Resourceful Problem Solvers, Resilient Communities

We support resourceful problem solvers working in resilient communities that have a wealth of wisdom, passion, and expertise—Native Americans, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and people in rural areas.

Shared Prosperity

They’re building equitable economies, where prosperity is defined by local communities and shared by all—with good jobs, thriving businesses, and vibrant cultures.

Dominant Culture and Economic System

The dominant culture and economic system sidelines the communities our grantee partners serve.

They are relentlessly resilient, but have long been denied access to resources, power over decisions that shape their futures, and respect for their cultures and ways of life.

The systemic racism, violence, and exclusion that began in this land centuries ago continues today—resulting in traumas, financial instability, and other barriers that make it harder for the communities we partner with to thrive on their own terms.

Breaking from Business as Usual

Our grantee partners build upon the unique assets of their communities and cultures to redefine and reach success on their own terms. We honor their histories, respect their perspectives, and value their experiences.

Their holistic approach to the work not only builds equitable economies, it also lifts up the voices of their communities, strengthens their health and well-being, and liberates them from policies and practices designed to disadvantage them.

Our Four Portfolios

For years, we’ve listened to and learned from grantees across our region to invest in lasting change. Through grantmaking and mission investments, we focus on four portfolios of funding:

  • Opening Access to Capital

    With a focus on connecting people to resources in their community in order to build the local economy.

  • Expanding Work Opportunity

    So people have pathways to quality jobs that allow them to thrive.

  • Supporting Enterprise Development

    That drives entrepreneurship and provides ownership, jobs, and training opportunities to people who have been denied them in the past.

  • Promoting Financial Inclusion

    So families have the tools they need to climb out of poverty and stay there.

Cross-Cutting Priorities

Across all four portfolios, our grants and investments are driven by the priorities we share with our partners who are doing the work.

We strive to advance the following priorities within each of our four portfolios:

We support programs and policies to improve and expand access to good jobs and financial capability, alongside efforts to influence the systems that impact our communities, such as government programs and policies that impact workforce development or the web of banking and financial services that affect people’s ability to get a loan. This approach helps dismantle barriers faced by some today—and establish new pathways to prosperity for many more tomorrow.

To share and advance the work of our grantees, we lift up innovative programs and policies that serve as models for nonprofit, government, and private sector leaders championing similar reforms in communities across our region and country.

We connect our grantees with other leaders so they can generate new opportunities for impact by exchanging ideas and resources, exploring innovations, and collaborating in unexpected ways.

We listen closely to the organizations we support and learn alongside them so we can continually refine and improve our grantmaking, and ensure those who are doing the work have the support they need to achieve meaningful change.

Mission Investing

We also support our four portfolios’ funding framework with investments from our endowment.

In 2004, we began using assets from our endowment to make investments that address persistent gaps in capital to seed and grow businesses in our region. Mission investing offers economic and social returns and advances work across our four portfolios’ strategy to promote good jobs and financial capability. We have committed roughly 10 percent of our assets to mission investments.

Explore Mission Investing

Outcomes:

Achieved by Learning from and with Grantees

Our approach enhances grantees’ ability to carry out their missions and create lasting change for individuals, families, and communities:
Changes in Communities

We aim to help our grantees build stronger local economies anchored in the culture of the community and able to help people who have traditionally faced barriers to prosperity.

Changes in State, Local, and Tribal Governments

We support organizations working with decision makers to create more equitable systems, shrink opportunity gaps, and create more opportunities for underserved communities.

Changes in Individuals

We lift up the work of organizations committed to helping people attain knowledge and skills, increase their personal income, and build their assets in order to break out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness and build a secure future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

See our theory of change to understand how our strategic approach guides our work
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