Margaret A. Cargill Foundation: Fundraising for Disasters & Refugees

OVERVIEW: Cargill awards grants to organizations providing international and national disaster relief. In the U.S., Cargill focuses its grantmaking on direct disaster response. Internationally, grant efforts focus on capacity building and providing operational support. 

IP TAKE: Cargill’s past grantmaking indicates that the foundation does pay attention to community-based organizations, and does not restrict its focus to large national and international organizations.

PROFILE: The Margaret Cargill Foundation’s Relief and Resilience grantmaking began with a Midwestern focus. The MACP provides aid relief and assistance to areas affected by natural disasters and supports efforts to "enhance the quality of life and prevent and relieve the suffering of children, families, and seniors; preserve and promote the environment and the arts; and encourage the humane treatment of animals." The MACP's grantmaking strategies address seven areas: arts and cultures, disaster relief and recovery, environment, animal welfare, quality of life, teachers, and legacy and opportunity. In particular, the MACP favors grants that focus on community-based programs, which support underserved or low-attention areas and causes, rather than policy initiatives or endowments. 

The MACP takes a long-view of its disaster relief efforts and thus focuses on preparing communities for future catastrophes through preparedness, relief, and recovery efforts. Cargill’s related grantmaking emphasizes building resilience amongst vulnerable populations in areas of the world with a history of experiencing recurring disasters.

The MACP does not currently accept unsolicited requests for support; however, we suggest reviewing their grantmaking section for any changes to this policy. 

Terry Meersman, vice president of programs for the foundation, explains:

We’re clear about our program areas, and we’re clear there will be local giving. As much as possible, we’d like to be consistent in the areas we’re defining for national and global giving, but until we have things laid out completely, it’s hard to say that there will be an exact parallel structure locally.

Cargill is growing quickly but continues to keep a low profile. We recommend keeping a close watch on new developments. We will also keep track of new developments as they arise.  

PEOPLE: 

  • Mark Lindberg, Program Director, Relief, Recovery and Development
  • Terrence Meersman, Vice President of Programs 

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