Dorsey & Whitney Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Dorsey & Whitney Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dorsey & Whitney, a corporate law firm. Its funding focuses on grantmaking on arts and culture, civic and community, education, social welfare, and disadvantaged populations.

Funding Areas: Arts and culture, civic and community, education, social welfare, disadvantaged populations

IP TAKE: The Dorsey & Whitney has an open application process and is committed to offering general operating support in the Bay Area and other communities where the law firm has a presence.

PROFILE: Established in 1982, the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the corporate law firm Dorsey & Whitney, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota but has offices throughout the U.S. and internationally. The Bay Area is one of the communities in focus. This foundation makes grants to approximately 200 organizations each year and also supports organizations through partner and non-partner attorney matching programs. Grantmaking areas of interest include arts and culture, civic and community, education, social welfare, and disadvantaged populations.

Grantmaking interest are broad, and the foundation supports organizations that reflect the diversity, talents, and interests of its attorneys. Overall, the funder has goals of promoting the wellbeing and cultural vitality of the communities where its employees live and work. Also, the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation prioritizes organizations with which its attorneys are actively involved. Bay Area organizations that have received grants from the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation include Rebuilding Together Peninsula in Menlo Park, Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto, and KQED in San Francisco.

Foundation grants are often between $5,000 and $20,000. The Dorsey & Whitney Foundation only gives to non-profit organizations that are embedded in communities where the law firm is located. The Bay Area is on that list, along with Anchorage, Denver, Des Moines, Fargo, Minneapolis, Missoula (MT), New York City, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Southern California, Washington, D.C., Wilmington (DE), and other cities.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications, and the board meets twice per year to consider new requests. These board meetings usually take place in May and November. The funder shares it application form on its website homepage. Direct general questions to the foundation’s community and legislative administrator, Rose Wilson, at 612-340-2847 or wilson.rose@dorsey.com.

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