The Pohlad Family Foundation will give $1 million in emergency grants to nonprofits, including several domestic violence shelters, that are facing dramatic funding cuts in the wake of the Greater Twin Cities United Way's $6 million shortfall.
On Tuesday the foundation, started by former Minnesota Twins owners Carl and Eloise Pohlad, invited 40 nonprofit organizations with cuts of 40 percent or more in their United Way funding to apply for the one-time transitional support grants.
"We were aware of the challenges faced by these agencies, and wanted to do something to help. This is our way to ensure that the agencies have a little more time to figure out next steps for their future," said Bill Pohlad, president of the foundation, in a written statement.
"We also hope other foundations will join us in helping cover this unexpected funding gap," he added.
United Way raised a total of $87.6 million last year, its lowest annual revenue in seven years and $11 million less than in 2015.
In April, it announced a $6 million shortfall and eliminated its Safety From Family Violence and Reading by Third Grade programs to fill the gap. It also cut funding by at least 5 percent to all 150 of its recipient nonprofits.
"We are fortunate to live in a community where there is extraordinary passion for the nonprofit sector and organizations affected by the hear-wrenching decisions we had to make," said Meghan Barp, United Way's senior vice president of community impact. "Pohlad reached out to us in partnership to see how they could help — and we identified issue areas that aligned with their mission."
The Pohlad Foundation anticipates awarding as many as 20 grants of up to $100,000, said Executive Director Susan Bass Roberts. Applications are by invitation only and due June 9, and grant notifications will be made the week of July 1.
"I am really heartened to hear the Pohlad Family Foundation is taking the lead to fill this gap," said Becky Smith, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, which represents the state's 90 domestic violence service providers.
When United Way announced the cuts, stunned leaders of 16 domestic violence programs decried the loss of $2.5 million as hurting the state's most vulnerable. Tubman, the state's largest provider of domestic violence services, was slated to lose $375,000 in annual funding. It will apply for a Pohlad grant.
"It's a wonderful opportunity, and we are really grateful to the Pohlad Family Foundation and others looking to help fill the gap," said Tubman CEO Jennifer Polzin.
Bass Roberts said the Pohlad Foundation has "a history of stepping in to help."
In 2009, the foundation gave $20 million in economic assistance to small businesses, nonprofits and programs that help shore up neighborhoods and the housing market, she said.
The foundation has been in touch with the United Way, Bass Roberts added.
"The Pohlad family believes in the United Way and understands the challenges it faces. At the same time, they are sympathetic to those nonprofit organizations that provide quality social services to our community's most vulnerable populations," she said.
In April, United Way President and CEO Sarah Caruso said general revenue came up short because more donors were designating specific charities rather than letting United Way decide how to spend their money.
Greater Twin Cities United Way is the largest among 1,200 chapters in the U.S. The charity is best known for its workplace giving campaigns, where it partners with companies to urge employees to give and then converts the money into grants to about 150 nonprofits.
Founded in 1993, the Pohlad Family Foundation gives away about $11.3 million annually to mostly Twin Cities nonprofits.