Otto Bremer Trust

46 survey respondents

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

EIN: 41-6019050

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How many hours did the grant application process take?

12 hours




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

Important Information

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Financial Summary

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Top descriptors for this funder

25Responsive23Builds relationships21"Gets" nonprofits and issues21Friendly21Likes site visits21Positive leader in the field18Openminded16Culturally sensitive13Insightful10Gives more than money10Risk taker4Difficult to work with

Advice from a Friend

Otto Bremer Trust

Aug 26, 2022

Grant Applicant - applied in 2022

We were encouraged to apply and our initial conversation with the foundation was positive. The site visit was brutal - the officer laughed at an item in our budget and said there was no way it could be so low. We have received funding before, but were denied this request this year. This foundation's decisions are made by 2 trustees, which makes it a bit more subjective than other foundations.


Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Difficult to work with

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Jun 02, 2021

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

It is probably the most user friendly granting foundation, a phone call away, they will walk you through.


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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Jan 17, 2021

Grant Applicant - applied in 2020

The troubles that the trustees, and the foundation in general, are now experiencing have filtered down to to negatively impact the nonprofits who need them. In Wisconsin especially, there are very few grant dollars available. So the fact that the new process for 2021 is so laborious and taxing to nonprofit staff is difficult to understand. A new portal, new process, new leaders and change in their schedule all exacerbate the COVID/Social unrest/economic down turn/etc...issues of 2020.

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Dec 16, 2019 1

Reviewer 1449 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

After reading the other comments here, it seems your experience may vary greatly depending on who you get as a rep. I will say that I've had two different Bremer reps at two different organizations, and both put us through the ringer at the site visit. The first one was an outright bully. He wanted certain data that we hadn't gathered, and when we explained that it was not part of our outcomes, he demanded to know what we expected him to tell the trustees. I revisited the arguments I had made to address every guideline in the proposal, and then he cut me off and said he knows the guidelines! He later apologized, but it was really unprofessional.

The second rep wasn't nearly as hostile, but acted as if she knows more about the work than we do. She also encouraged us to outright choose someone for a volunteer role based on their race. We are more than willing to ensure a diverse applicant pool. But what she was suggesting would be discrimination.

Just be ready for anything at your site visit. Go through your proposal with a fine tooth comb, including your financials, and imagine every question that could be asked.


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

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Aug 23, 2019

Reviewer 6381 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Otto Bremer Trust is easy to work with, explicit and approachable for information about their foundation and what they fund. They do their due diligence and are thorough with every application. they will comb though your financials, and ask questions. But, they fund generously. Once you have been funded by Otto Bremer, you are often seen by other funders as fundable - everyone knows they have vetted your organization well.


Positive leader in the field, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, Responsive

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Aug 21, 2019 4

Reviewer 2341 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Their staff is great; their trustees are a hot mess and often have conflicting opinions to one another. The trustees feel the power differential between them and grantees and aren't afraid to use it if they feel like you've stepped out of bounds. The trustees totally blindsided us by telling us to request a six-figure ask amount and awarding a grant that was 5% of the ask (seriously). I feel for the staff who have to navigate the trustee relationships and grantees.

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Aug 16, 2019

Reviewer 4069 - Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

This funder is a great community resource, but their funding is somewhat harder to obtain. They are very precise in what they will fund, and you must ensure thst their guidelines are a perfect match with theirs.


Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Friendly, Builds relationships, Openminded, Responsive

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Jul 29, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Our organization was encouraged to apply, unfortunately, our grant writer changed just before we started the grant process. That part was unavoidable and faultless.


Difficult to work with

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May 31, 2019

Reviewer 7889 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Definitely call first. Our program officer really values having conversations with us, and has given us valuable advice.


Gives more than money, Builds relationships

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Dec 21, 2018 1

Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

Site visits are part of the application (approval) process, but they're invaluable. The knowledgeable staff of Otto Bremer Trust ask intelligent questions because they already know the context in which you operate as a nonprofit. This is a generous organization and they want to be strategic in their funding distribution.


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

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Otto Bremer Trust