Otto Bremer Trust

Location: 30 7th St E, Ste 2900, Saint Paul, 55101 MN

EIN: 41-6019050

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86%

14%

What was the overall relationship with the funder?

How many hours did the grant application process take?

12 hours

Median

83%

18%

How would you rate this funder's accessibility?

83%

17%

How successfully do you think the funder is accomplishing its current philanthropic goals?

Important Information

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Top descriptors for this funder

23Responsive21Builds relationships20"Gets" nonprofits and issues19Friendly19Likes site visits19Positive leader in the field17Openminded15Culturally sensitive12Insightful9Gives more than money9Risk taker2Culturally incompetent

Advice from a Friend

Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 19, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

We were in communication with a program officer, went through the application process, and then were notified that the program officer wanted to conduct a site visit. This seemed promising. However, from the program officer's tone and line of questions during the site visit, it seemed very clear that she had no intention of recommending our proposal for funding. She didn't seem to like that our organization was a large one, as if we couldn't possibly need a grant. If Bremer doesn't want to fund large nonprofits, that is their prerogative. But why make a large nonprofit jump through their hoops only to decline the proposal.

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 21, 2018

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback about the Otto Bremer Trust.

Nov 17, 2018

Reviewer 2122 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2015

My experience with the staff at Bremer is that they are accommodating, plain speaking (including letting us know when we hadn't applied for enough!), and truly interested in learning about your project/program.

Pros

Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 21, 2018

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

Nov 16, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

Our experience has been that Otto Bremer wishes to build a relationships with their grantees. This grant took more than a year of meetings, calls, reports, and emails - but it was worth it!

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 21, 2018

Thanks for the feedback. We appreciate hearing from our grant applicants.

Nov 09, 2018

Reviewer 5060 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Developing a relationship with the program manager is key.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 09, 2018

Thank you for taking time to provide your feedback.

Oct 27, 2018

Reviewer 8568 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

I have serious concerns with the organization's vetting process. I worked for a very irresponsible nonprofit organization that consistently was funded by Otto Bremner and did not have to make any improvements or provide any proof of what the nonprofit was using the funds for. After reading these comments I am shocked that any organization has been denied.

Pros

Risk taker, Friendly, Builds relationships

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Jun 27, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

It is a bit of a formidable grant application but I think that's reasonable given the size of the grants. Although everything is online (application) I've had good luck reaching out to them via email or phone, I always get a timely response to my questions.

Pros

Risk taker, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jul 03, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about the Otto Bremer Trust.

May 31, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Everything is done on-line -- no communication or availability to speak with someone about your project.

Cons

Bureaucratic

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jun 13, 2018

Thanks for your feedback. The Otto Bremer Trust’s review process is described in the How to Apply section of our Social Return page. Grant seekers are always welcome to call and speak with program staff. Please visit ottobremer.org to find the program staff member who serves your region.

https://ottobremer.org/social-return/#How-To-Apply

Apr 24, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

I would be very clear about what you are working on and what their policies and procedures are. There are a lot of areas, like fiscal sponsorship, where they say one thing and do another. It is important to have those conversations up front to save time and frustration.

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jun 13, 2018

We appreciate your feedback. Fiscal sponsorships can be complicated. Our fiscal sponsorship policies and other guidelines are located on the Social Return page of our website.

Apr 07, 2018

Reviewer 415 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

I reached out to the program officer to talk to her about our work. Keep in mind that we are a fiscally sponsored project and fully disclosed that before meeting with her. She was impressed with our work and encouraged us to apply.
We applied and had a phone call/site visit conversation over the phone. The program officer then disclosed to us questions the board had over our relationship with our fiscal sponsor. They wanted our missions to align, which makes no sense. They feared that if we couldn't fulfill the activities of the grant, the fiscal sponsor wasn't in the position of fulfilling them either. They wanted us to go find another fiscal sponsor that better aligned with our mission.
I found this to be a very ridiculous approach. We've received larger grants from other organizations that completely trusted our track record of performance and also our relationship with our fiscal sponsor. We were not in the position to go find another sponsor. We love our current sponsor and wouldn't be where we are without them. A funder should have no right in telling us who to be sponsored by.
We got rejected. I would never have applied if I knew this was how they assessed fiscal sponsorship. They should have been more transparent about it.

Pros

Friendly

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jun 13, 2018

Thank you for your feedback. Fiscal sponsorships can be complicated. Our fiscal sponsorship policies and other guidelines are located on the Social Return page of our website. At OBT we require a fiscal sponsor to be in alignment with the work of the sponsored organization because the sponsor is ultimately responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the grant and therefore must be familiar with the funded work.

https://ottobremer.org/social-return/#How-To-Apply-Sponsorship

Feb 21, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

They've changed their program funding direction over time. If you don't meet their social program area exactly, don't bother to apply. A better bet is to contact the local branch of Bremer Bank. They are much more responsive to local concerns.

Cons

Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jun 13, 2018

Thank you for your feedback. The Otto Bremer Trust continues to respond to community needs. Detailed information about our organization and our approach to philanthropy, including our relationship to Bremer Bank, can found on our website, ottobremer.org.

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Otto Bremer Trust