Minnesota Nonprofit Relief Fund

June 2022 Update

Unfortunately, neither the House nor the Senate chose to include a Nonprofit Relief Fund in their final legislation.

The Problem

To date, nonprofits have been largely left out of state and federal relief programs. While many industries and sectors had access to one or more programs with dollars specific to meet their needs, the nonprofit sector has had no designated relief dollars for recovery. New MCN data shows that 44 percent of nonprofits are still seeing an increase in demand for services, but 47 percent of nonprofits said they could only operate for 12 months or less before exhibiting financial distress. This is not sustainable.

To continue providing the support our communities need during COVID‐19 and to accelerate a more equitable recovery, Minnesota needs to invest in our nonprofits.

The Solution 

That is why MCN, with key partners, is proposing the creation of a Nonprofit Relief Fund, leveraging $200 million in federal relief dollars for nonprofits statewide.

Grants would range between $50,000‐$150,000 and prioritize small, rural, human services, and culturally-specific nonprofits. Half of the funds would be for organizations in the seven-county metro area, and the other half reserved for Greater MN nonprofits. (More on eligibility in the full Nonprofit Relief Fund Proposal, page 6.)

Take 2 minutes to sign your support!

How the Fund supports Nonprofits

  • How are Relief Funds distributed? We are basing the Relief Fund on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) 2020 Small Business Relief Fund, which was a lottery process. DEED will accept applications, access eligibility, and determine which organizations ‘win’ the lottery for each of the six grant categories. (Read more about the distribution process and grant categories in the full Nonprofit Relief Fund Proposal, page 7.)
  • Where does funding come from? Funding would be at the state level, either through the state's general fund or remaining money from the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP).
  • Why $200 million? You may recall that we had a similar request at the end of the 2021 legislative session, for $50 million. The increase to $200 million is due to new data from MCN’s latest COVID Impact Report detailing the continuing financial needs of nonprofits to serve our communities, new data from the IRS Masterfile of nonprofits, the ongoing lack of COVID relief funding for nonprofits, and the state’s positive budget forecast.
  • How are you ensuring accessibility? In spring of 2021, MCN held listening events and sent a questionnaire to nonprofit partners to discern what features of such a fund are most important to equitable access. Based on the feedback we received, we are working to ensure these features would be included in a Nonprofit Relief Fund:

    • Make the application as simple as possible;
    • Require no or very minimal reporting from individual nonprofits;
    • Provide general operating support; and
    • Prioritize the categories noted above (small, in Greater MN, human services, and culturally-specific nonprofits).

What can you do?

Please take two minutes to sign your nonprofit's support so we can ensure essential general operating grants are available to nonprofits most in need.

Sign your support

You can also contact your legislators and encourage them to support The Nonprofit Relief Fund. For more information, please contact Marie Ellis, MCN public policy director, at 651-757-3060 or [email protected].

Related readings: