Otto Bremer Trust: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: The Otto Bremer Trust’s public health interests are extremely broad. Grants are awarded to support a wide range of public health matters that contribute to the increased health, safety, and well-being of the people in the communities of Bremer’s grantmaking focus.

IP TAKE: Like most grantmakers, Bremer likes to fund groups that have a diverse set of funding sources.

PROFILE: The Otto Bremer Trust (formerly known as the Otto Bremer Foundation), based in Minnesota, makes most of its grants within the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Still, the trust gives plenty of grants to other Midwestern states. Bremer's interest in public health is extremely broad, and the trust gives many moderately-sized grants in this area.

Bremer likes to fund "activities that move communities forward," and prefers grantees that can do so in "meaningful, powerful, and broad-based ways." Functionally, this means the group will fund nearly anything within the broad mandate of public health.

The trust drills down on its broad-based funding mission just a little bit by directing its grantmaking toward organizations that work to ensure the basic needs of families and individuals, including food, stable shelter, and access to medical care. Additionally, Bremer supports groups driving increased economic, social, and civic participation at the community level.

According to the trust, this broad-based funding approach is intentional, functioning to “encourage innovative responses to community opportunities and challenges.” It really comes as no surprise the trust awards grants to a great number of public health projects, ranging from combating domestic violence to promoting oral health care for low income families.

The vast majority of grants out of Bremer fall in the $25,000 to $200,000 range. The trust typically awards one-year grants; however multi-year awards go out in certain circumstances. It only supports organizations working in Minnesota, western Wisconsin and North Dakota. To learn more about the organizations, public health projects the trust supports, as well as the level of support, check out the Grant Recipients page on the trust's website.

Although Bremer encourages applicants to review its grantmaking overview and FAQs before submitting an application, it does accept full, unsolicited applications. 

PEOPLE: 

  • Tony LookingElk, Regional Director
  • Aretha Green-Rupert, Regional Director
  • Lue Her, Regional Director
  • Diane Benjamin, Senior Program Officer
  • Dominic Papatola, Senior Program Officer 

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