News & Reports

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Foundation kicks off 20th anniversary with $1.5 million in grants

Grants awarded by the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children will support 21 local organizations in 2018

Minneapolis, Minn. – December 11, 2017 – On the brink of its 20th anniversary in 2018, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children has awarded $1,520,000 in funding to improve the lives and education of Minnesota students. The Foundation today announced grants to 21 Minnesota schools, advocacy groups, and education-focused nonprofits for work in the coming year.

“These schools and organizations are doing exceptional work to ensure that all students – not just some – get the excellent education they deserve,” said Michael V. Ciresi, Board Chair of the RKMC Foundation for Children. “We’re excited to transition into the Foundation’s 20th year by helping them take their work to the next level.”

The grants reflect three key priorities:

  • Expand high-performing schools and school networks;
  • Increase parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes for all students
  • Creating a sense of urgency to close the gap in outcomes between students of color and white students in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Twin Cities Academy, a public charter school on the east side of St. Paul, is one of the organizations to receive a grant. The academy, which serves about 600 students in grades 6 through 12, was recognized by the state as a Reward school for the sixth time in a row last school year. Reward schools have higher percentages of students from low-income families and demonstrate exceptional student outcomes and success in closing achievement gaps. The school will use its grant to develop an equity framework touching every facet of its work, from its curriculum to behavior policies to family engagement.

Twin Cities Academy sought the RKMC Foundation for Children’s support because they believe it’s important to continuously innovate to close gaps and equitably serve low-income students and students of color, said school executive director Betsy Lueth. They also realize that lasting change will take a sustained effort involving everyone on campus – board, faculty, parents, and students. “The system itself needs to change to make sure our school is culturally and racially relevant to all the students who walk through our doors,” Lueth said.

The complete list of grant recipients is as follows:

Organization Amount
Ascension Catholic School $100,000
Children’s Theatre Company $50,000
Close Gaps By 5 $75,000
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School $50,000
Ed Allies $100,000
Friendship Academy $50,000
Mastery School (Harvest Network of Schools) $100,000
Hiawatha Academies $125,000
Hope Academies $25,000
Joyce Preschool $25,000
KIPP Minnesota $25,000
Minnesota Comeback/Great Minnesota Schools $100,000
Northside Achievement Zone $120,000
Prodeo Academy $50,000
Risen Christ Catholic School $50,000
Saint Mary’s Mission School $50,000
St. Paul Promise Neighborhood $75,000
Summit Academy OIC $100,000
Think Small $75,000
Twin Cities Academy $50,000
Way to Grow $125,000

The RKMC Foundation for Children, a private foundation that partners closely with The Minneapolis Foundation, was established in 1998 with a $30 million commitment from the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. That initial gift was a result of fees earned from the $6.6 billion settlement of the Minnesota tobacco lawsuit. Since then, the RKMC Foundation has made more than $23 million in grants, including the awards announced today. More than 80 percent of that total has gone to education-related causes, with most of the remainder dedicated to public health and social justice.

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Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children Awards More than $1.3 Million in Grants

Minneapolis, Minn. – December 12, 2016 – Bringing year-end cheer to schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the metro area, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children today announced 18 grants totaling $1.35 million.

The grants will support a variety of organizations that serve Minnesota children—from schools with a demonstrated ability to educate low-income children and students of color to neighborhood-based education initiatives that provide families with wraparound support.

The grants reflect three key priorities:

  • Expanding high-performing schools and school networks;
  • Increasing parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes for all students; and
  • Creating a sense of urgency to address the extreme disparities that exist in educational outcomes between students of color and white students in the Twin Cities.

The 18 grants will support these organizations:

Organization Amount
Banyan Community $20,000
Children’s Theatre Company $50,000
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School $60,000
Educators 4 Excellence $75,000
Friendship Academy $50,000
Mastery School (Harvest Network of Schools) $100,000
Hiawatha Academies $125,000
KIPP Minnesota $25,000
Minnesota Comeback $100,000
Northeast College Prep $50,000
Northside Achievement Zone $120,000
Page Education Foundation $75,000
Prodeo Academy $75,000
Risen Christ Catholic School $50,000
St. Paul Promise Neighborhood $75,000
Summit Academy OIC $100,000
Think Small $100,000
Way to Grow $100,000

One grant recipient, Northeast College Prep, is a Minneapolis charter school that has shown impressive results since it opened in 2014. After just one year, the school doubled the number of its students who could read at grade level and was recognized for its MCA math scores on the Star Tribune’s “Beating the Odds” list of high-performing metro-area schools. The school, which is expanding rapidly, recently moved to a new location in Northeast Minneapolis. “To do a move like that is really a heavy lift for the whole school community,” said Carl Phillips, the school’s co-founder and director. With help from the RKMC Foundation for Children, he said, “We’ve been able to weather those costs without cutting staff or cutting into our program, which is a huge accomplishment and something we’re extremely grateful for.”

“Minnesota’s future depends on our work today to close the opportunity gaps that divide our community,” said Michael Ciresi, Board Chair of the RKMC Foundation for Children. “We’re proud to support organizations that are helping children on the path to college, careers, and lives that are full of options.”

Since 1999, the Foundation has made more than $21 million in grants to Minnesota nonprofits, including the awards announced today. More than 80 percent of that total has gone to education-related causes, with most of the remainder dedicated to public health and social justice.

The RKMC Foundation for Children is a private foundation that partners closely with The Minneapolis Foundation to leverage their investment services, operating support, and community expertise. It was started in 1998 with a $30 million commitment from the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. That initial gift was a result of fees earned from the $6.6 billion settlement of the Minnesota tobacco lawsuit.

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

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Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children Awards More Than $1.3 Million in Grants

Minneapolis, Minn. – December 7, 2015 – Kicking off a season of good cheer for schools and nonprofits across the Twin Cities, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children today announced 14 grants totaling $1,345,000.

The grants will support schools, innovative education programs, and other nonprofits serving Minnesota’s children—from high-performing schools with a strong track record of serving low-income children and students of color to organizations pushing for system-wide education reform.

“Minnesota’s opportunity gap is a crisis we can’t ignore,” said Michael Ciresi, Board Chair of the RKMC Foundation for Children. “We’re investing in schools and organizations that are working full-bore to make sure that all of our students get an excellent education.”

The grants reflect three key priorities:

  • Expanding high-performing schools and school networks;
  • Increasing parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes for all students; and
  • Creating a sense of urgency to address the extreme disparities that exist in educational outcomes between students of color and white students in the Twin Cities.

The 14 grants will support:

Organization Amount
Children’s Theatre Company $50,000
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School $50,000
Educators 4 Excellence $100,000
Friendship Academy $75,000
Hiawatha Academies $150,000
Mastery School (Harvest Network of Schools) $100,000
MinnCAN $125,000
Minnesota Comeback $100,000
Northside Achievement Zone $120,000
Parent Aware for School Readiness $150,000
St. Paul Promise Neighborhood $50,000
Think Small $125,000
Way to Grow $75,000
YWCA of Minneapolis $75,000

Since 1999, the Foundation has made nearly $20 million in grants to Minnesota nonprofits, including the awards announced today. More than three quarters of that total has gone to education-related causes, with most of the remainder dedicated to public health and social justice.

The RKMC Foundation for Children is a private foundation that partners closely with The Minneapolis Foundation to leverage their investment services, operating support, and community expertise. “Achieving educational equity is one of the biggest challenges we face in the Twin Cities,” said Sandra Vargas, President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. “The RKMC Foundation for Children provides crucial support to the many parents, students, teachers, and other leaders who are working to close the gaps that exist in our community today.”

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

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

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Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children Awards $1.35 Million in Grants

Minneapolis, Minn. – November 17, 2014 – The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children today announced more than a dozen grants totaling $1.35 million, which will support an array of high-performing schools, innovative education programs, and other nonprofits serving Minnesota’s children.

Recipients of the grants range from initiatives geared toward system-wide education reform to Minneapolis schools with a proven track record of educating low-income children and students of color.

“Minnesota needs schools and educational programs that prepare all students for college and careers, regardless of their race, family income, or neighborhood,” said Michael Ciresi, Board Chair of the RKMC Foundation for Children. “These grants are investments in organizations that are serious about making change and getting equitable results for all of our children.”

The grants – which represent the bulk of the Foundation’s anticipated grant-making for the current fiscal year – reflect three key priorities:

  • Expanding high-performing schools and school networks
  • Increasing parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes for all students; and
  • Creating a sense of urgency to address the extreme disparities that exist in educational outcomes between students of color and white students in the Twin Cities.

The 13 grants are as follows:

Organization Amount
Hiawatha Academies $150,000
Mastery School (Harvest Network of Schools) $150,000
Parent Aware for School Readiness $150,000
MinnCAN $125,000
Northside Achievement Zone $125,000
Think Small $125,000
Education Transformation Initiative $100,000
Educators 4 Excellence $100,000
Minneapolis College Preparatory School $100,000
Teach For America $100,000
Students for Education Reform $50,000
Way to Grow $50,000
Children’s Theatre Company $25,000

Including the awards announced today, the Foundation has given more than $17.7 million in grants to Minnesota nonprofits since 1999. More than three quarters of that amount has gone to education-related causes, with most of the remainder dedicated to public health and social justice.

The RKMC Foundation for Children partners closely with The Minneapolis Foundation to leverage their investment services, operating support, and community expertise. “For nearly 100 years, The Minneapolis Foundation has helped generous Minnesotans use their creativity and resources to build a better community for all of us,” said Sandra Vargas, President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. “Giving our children the opportunities they need to thrive is part of our shared vision, and the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children has been a key partner in that work.”

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

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Robin, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children expands with $5 million gift

Minneapolis, MN – January 7, 2014 – The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. law firm has contributed an additional $5 million at year-end 2013 to enhance the impact of the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children.  “The needs of our children are as great as ever and the additional funding will enable us to step up our grants to help serve our children and, thereby, the common good of our state and nation,” explained Michael Ciresi, board chair of the Foundation.

The Foundation, which was founded in 1999, with a $30 million contribution by the firm, has awarded over $16 million in total grants, with $12 million to educational programs and organizations, and the remaining to social justice and public health programs. The mission of the Foundation is to serve as a catalyst for creative, innovative and systems-changing programs to achieve long-term impact in promoting education and equal opportunities for Minnesota’s children and youth.

The Minneapolis Foundation, which delivers all necessary support and investment services to the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children, also provides services to numerous private and family foundations in the area, as well as to individual donors. “We choose to partner with The Minneapolis Foundation because of its outstanding record of financial responsibility, total integrity and compassion for people in need,” said Ciresi.

In 2013, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation trustees engaged in a strategic discussion around the impact they want the Foundation to have. The group coalesced around key values for the Foundation: education reform, a commitment to principles of advocacy, a willingness to speak out on behalf of children, and the courage to take a hard stance on issues.

“For almost 100 years, the Minneapolis Foundation has partnered with generous Minnesotans to support and strengthen our community,” said Sandy Vargas, President/CEO, Minneapolis Foundation. “Working to give all children better opportunities is one of the ways we do that and the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation has been a leading partner in that work.”

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Let’s RESET Education

The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children was a lead sponsor of the RESET Education awareness campaign and Minnesota Meeting event series. Launched in partnership with The Minneapolis Foundation, the campaign highlighted five proven strategies for creating public schools where every student succeeds. Read Mike Ciresi’s blog post about it on the LearnMore website.

RESET Education built on an awareness campaign the RKMC Foundation for Children launched in spring 2012.