What We Fund

The Ordean Foundation makes gifts to the community through grants to non-profit organizations. The Ordean Foundation’s focus on poverty is the core principle for the organization. We approach our mission both by supporting basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, heath care, and personal safety) and strategies to break generational cycles of poverty (social justice, youth development, education, and job training).


To be eligible for funding, proposals must be compatible with Ordean’s mission and must be submitted by organizations that are classified as a public charity with valid tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (organizations without legal tax-exempt status may apply through a fiscal sponsor). Ordean grants may not be used for election campaigns, lobbying activities, or direct religious purposes. The Ordean Foundation does not make grants to private foundations or individuals.

Service Area

The Ordean Foundation awards grants to qualified organizations located in, serving, or directly impacting residents of the City of Duluth and/or adjacent communities in St. Louis County. While it is not an absolute requirement, we prefer to partner with organizations that are physically based in Duluth and that have a long-term commitment to the community. Proposals submitted by organizations not located in Duluth for projects or programs that duplicate services already provided by Duluth-based nonprofits will not be funded.

Funding Strategies

The Ordean Foundation’s funding strategies allow for both short-term flexibility and long-term commitment to Ordean’s grantees and their efforts.

Catalyst Grant Program

The Catalyst Grant Program is designed to quickly respond to emerging and unmet community needs. These one-time grants of up to $20,000 provide support for pilot projects, events, initiatives, capacity-building, program development, or capital needs.

The Catalyst Grant Program offers two open grant cycles per year. The application submission deadline for the Winter grant cycle is January 15th, Spring grant cycle is April 15th and the deadline for the Fall cycle is September 15th. If submission deadlines fall on a weekend or holiday, applications will be due the next business day by 4:00 pm CST.

The first step in the Catalyst application process for both new and returning applicants is to complete an Eligibility Quiz. Applicants should begin the inquiry process by completing the Eligibility Quiz at least four weeks prior to the application deadline. Catalyst grants are highly competitive. Ordean is unable to fund all submitted proposals, even if they meet program guidelines, as there are limited funds available annually.

Partnership Grant Program

The Ordean Foundation believes in the importance of relationships in philanthropy. By making long-term connections, we deepen our understanding of critical community challenges and the organizations that we fund. Ordean’s Partnership Grant Program supports this key value. Partnership Grants provide financial support to local programs that address poverty by providing food, shelter, medical and dental care, mental health services, youth programming, and/or education and employment services. Partnership Grant proposals are available to existing Ordean Foundation grantees by invitation only.