Otto Bremer Trust

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

EIN: 41-6019050

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87%

13%

What was the overall relationship with the funder?

How many hours did the grant application process take?

15 hours

Median

86%

14%

How would you rate this funder's accessibility?

84%

16%

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

Important Information

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Top descriptors for this funder

20Responsive18"Gets" nonprofits and issues18Builds relationships17Likes site visits16Friendly16Positive leader in the field15Openminded12Culturally sensitive10Insightful8Risk taker5Gives more than money2Culturally incompetent

Advice from a Friend

Otto Bremer Trust

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.

Feb 06, 2018 1

Reviewer 511 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

The program director was very interested in learning more about our program and had a strong base of knowledge to draw from when reviewing our proposal.

Pros

Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Jun 13, 2018

Thanks so much for your feedback and insights.

Jan 23, 2018 1

Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

A former reviewer said it best: your program officer makes or breaks your relationship. Ours was very difficult at best and downright rude at worst.

Pros

Risk taker, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Nov 27, 2017

Professional in the field

The range of knowledge and awareness about community issues REALLY varies, depending upon the staff person you deal with.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Culturally incompetent

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Nov 29, 2017

Thank you for taking time to provide your insights and feedback.

Oct 16, 2017

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

I find the Funder very accessible and willing to take the time to offer direction.

Pros

Culturally sensitive, Friendly

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Oct 04, 2017

Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

Great source of funding for agen cies working with poor and vulnerable people. One of the very few that will support Statewide (as well as Dakotas and, I believe, Wisconsin?)

Pros

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

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Sep 20, 2017 2

Reviewer 665 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

The program officer we interacted with was disrespectful, dismissive, and actively misinformed about some of the basic facts that inform our work. They came for a site visit and were bordering on hostile about having to entertain the idea of funding our program: they had a clear personal disinterest in our program which it seems inevitable impacted our chance of funding.

Cons

Difficult to work with, Culturally incompetent

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Response from Otto Bremer Trust

Oct 04, 2017

Thank you for taking time to provide your insights and feedback.

Sep 07, 2017

Reviewer 278 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

Program officers at OBT have been remarkable. Most are down to earth, very approachable, and will give a good idea a fighting chance. Their funding priorities are broader than most foundations (poverty), which allows organizations, large and small, to innovate and try new things. Program officers are also diverse, which makes me feel like they relate better with the needs of communities. The only criticism I have is transparency in their staffing and leadership selection. Unfortunately, OBT tends to find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. All in all, OBT is one of the BEST foundations to work with, hands down!!

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Otto Bremer Trust