About the Foundation

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The Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children was created in October 1998 with a $30 million commitment from the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP law firm. The gift was a result of fees earned from the $6.6 billion settlement in the Minnesota tobacco lawsuit.

Initially established as the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Public Foundation to support PreK-12 education, public health, and social justice, in 2007 the Foundation chose to focus its assets to achieve greater impact on improving children’s lives and formally changed its name to the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children. The Foundation changed its name again in 2018 to honor the two veteran litigators who engineered the tobacco lawsuit: Michael Ciresi and Roberta Walburn.

The Foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for creative, innovative, and systems-changing programs to achieve a long-term impact in promoting education and equitable opportunities for all of Minnesota’s children and youth.

To date, the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children has granted more than $20 million to Minnesota nonprofits. To maximize the impact of its resources, the Foundation’s board adopted a new strategic direction in early 2014. As a result, the Foundation will prioritize funding opportunities that are closely aligned with three key areas:

  • Increase parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes* for all students.
  • Expand high-performing schools and school networks.*
  • Create a sense of urgency to close gaps in educational outcomes between students of color and white students in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Upon request, the Foundation will also consider funding opportunities that contribute significantly to the health and well-being of children in Minnesota.

The Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children is a private foundation that partners closely with The Minneapolis Foundation to leverage its investment services, operating support, and community expertise. The Foundation was formerly a supporting organization of The Minneapolis Foundation.

The Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children’s recent 990s are available for download below.


*Schools where students are making, on average, more than one year of academic growth each year.