More on our founder's intent and how our work carries it forward today.
Blandin Foundation receives its funding from the C.K. Blandin Residuary Trust and is steward of the proceeds from that trust. In turn, the Foundation distributes those proceeds to communities across rural Minnesota – especially in the Grand Rapids area of north-central Minnesota.
The Foundation applies a number of tools to align activities with its mission and vision of healthy vibrant rural communities, evaluate its work, and hold the board, management and staff to high standards of performance. In addition to compliance with accounting best practices and IRS rules (see Financial Reports page), the following are guideposts for Blandin Foundation accountability.
Charles Blandin’s Legacy
Charles K. Blandin established the Blandin Foundation in 1941 to distribute profits from his paper mill. Though the Foundation’s mission, vision, resources and work have evolved in the more than 75 years since, documents illustrating Mr. Blandin’s intent continue to guide Blandin Foundation trustees and management.
Mr. Blandin required that the Ramsey County District Court review the accounts of the Residuary Trust. Every three years, the Residuary Trust reviews its accounts and disbursements before a judge. The next court review is slated for 2018.
In 2003, the court appointed a Special Master with legal and accounting expertise to verify that the Foundation is dedicating at least 55 percent of grantmaking in its home communities of the Grand Rapids area. This was the latest in a series of court actions that have assisted the Foundation in its service to Itasca area communities and rural Minnesota. A series of reports have been prepared by the Foundation and the Special Master as part of this commitment.
At the April 21, 2015 hearing, the court concluded that the Foundation and Trust, with guidance from the Special Master, has developed a robust system for reporting on its activities, and verifying that reporting by an external auditor. On April 28, 2015, the court discharged the special master, and approved the transition to the independent self-reporting system. In addition, the Foundation will now distribute 60 percent of its grantmaking in its home communities.
If You Have Questions or Concerns About Our Local Giving
Blandin Foundation greatly values its relationship with the local community, and will listen to understand and be responsive to your questions or concerns. You may contact the Foundation directly with concerns about the level of grant making in our home giving area or the Foundation’s tax and financial reporting. The Foundation’s CEO will respond to you within 10 business days. Questions and concerns are shared with our board of trustees quarterly, and kept on file for at least two years.
As such, we recognize the importance of basing our work on principles that reflect the important role that philanthropies play in the communities they serve, that this role is sustained by public trust, and that certain obligations follow from that trust.
Blandin Foundation uses the following to guide our operations:
We are also proud to have earned a Glass Pockets designation by the Foundation Center.
Evaluating Our Work and Impact
Since 2007, Blandin Foundation has committed to building an organization-wide assessment system that contributes to improved performance and adaptation to a changing world. In 2013, Blandin Foundation engaged evaluation expert and author Michael Q. Patton to take its assessment work to a new level.
The resulting developmental assessment model, the Mountain of Accountability, is designed to strengthen the work of the foundation, and provides a framework through which all of the various assessments the Foundation implements might work together.
The Foundation has established policies and procedures for its operations. If you do not see information about the policy or procedure you seek, you may contact Janet Borth, director of human resources, with questions about staff policies and procedures, or Chris Jenkins, director of finance, with questions about financial policies and procedures.