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Otto Bremer Trust


Last Updated: 2016-05-19

At A Glance

Otto Bremer Trust

(formerly Otto Bremer Foundation)

30 E. 7th St. , Ste. 2900

Saint Paul, MN United States 55101-2988

Telephone: (651) 227-8036


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $945,257,043

Total giving: $41,296,824





Additional Contact Information

Additional tel.: (888) 291-1123


Trust established in 1944 in MN - Otto Bremer emigrated from Germany in 1886, after completing his apprenticeship in banking. He began his banking career as a bookkeeper for the National German American Bank in Saint Paul. Thirty-five years later, in 1921, Mr. Bremer was elected chairman of the American National Bank, of which he was a stockholder and director. He remained in that position for thirty years combining with it a wide range of political, financial, and corporate activities, including the presidency of the Schmidt Brewing Company, which he assumed at the death of his brother, Adolph, in 1939. Active in community affairs, Mr. Bremer served as Treasurer of the City of Saint Paul for ten years, played a key role in the creation of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, and advised presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was named by Franklin D. Roosevelt to manage the Federal Home Owners' Loan Corporation of Minnesota It was Mr. Bremer's deep concern for his holdings in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, that prompted the formation of the Otto Bremer Foundation. Mr. Bremer realized that his death might initiate procedures that could disrupt many of the banks in which he believed so strongly. Through the foundation, he sought to insure the perpetuation of the Bremer banks and the ultimate return of his wealth to the trade territories of the banks and the City of Saint Paul The Otto Bremer Company, which is now the Bremer Financial Corporation, was formed in 1943 with the transfer of Mr. Bremer's stock in these countryside banks, in order to perpetuate their banking relationships. The Otto Bremer Foundation was created the next year and eventually received ownership of the assets of the Otto Bremer Company. As a charitable trust, the foundation could channel back into these communities philanthropic dollars earned from the deposits made by citizens in their local Bremer bank

Purpose and Activities

The mission of the foundation is to assist people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of loans for projects that meet general funding criteria and benefit the community, including: support for construction and renovation of child care centers, support for human service agencies serving specific ethnic populations, the development of energy efficient affordable housing for young people and adults especially in rural areas and foreclosure remediation in greater Minnesota.

Twin Cities

A portion of the foundation's funding is devoted to support for the seven-county Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Grants will focus on work that helps individuals and families become financially stable and self-reliant. This will include support for basic needs when that work moves individuals closer to stability. The program will be most interested in programs that also provide support or connect with resources that move people toward self-sufficiency.

Fields of Interest

  • Child development
  • Child educational development
  • Child welfare
  • Civic participation
  • Civics for youth
  • Community and economic development
  • Crime prevention
  • Disabled persons' rights
  • Diseases and conditions
  • Diversity and intergroup relations
  • Domestic violence
  • Family planning
  • Health
  • Higher education
  • Homeless services
  • Hospice care
  • Housing development
  • Housing for the homeless
  • Human rights
  • Human services
  • Immigrant rights
  • Immigrant services
  • Legal services
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Mental health care
  • Minority rights
  • Nutrition
  • Public libraries
  • Rights of the aged
  • Rural development
  • Sustainable development
  • Voluntarism
  • Women's rights
  • Women's services
Population Groups
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • American Indians
  • Children
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Female adults
  • Female children and youth
  • Female infants and toddlers
  • Female young adults
  • Females
  • Homeless people
  • Immigrants and migrants
  • Incarcerated people
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Infants and toddlers
  • LGBTQ people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Male adults
  • Male children and youth
  • Male infants and toddlers
  • Male young adults
  • Males
  • Migrant workers
  • People of African descent
  • People of Asian descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • People with disabilities
  • People with hearing impairments
  • People with HIV/AIDS
  • People with physical disabilities
  • People with psychosocial disabilities
  • People with vision impairments
  • Seniors
  • Single parents
  • Substance abusers
  • Terminally ill people
  • Victims of crime and abuse
  • Young adults
  • Associations

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $945,257,043 (market value)

Expenditures: $46,851,603

Total giving: $41,296,824

Qualifying distributions: $46,827,336

Giving activities include:

$41,296,824 for 885 grants (high: $1,000,000; low: $2,570)

$1,000,000 for 1 loan/program-related investment