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Northwest Area Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-29

At A Glance

Northwest Area Foundation

60 Plato Blvd. E., Ste. 400

Saint Paul, MN United States 55107-1832

Telephone: (651) 224-9635


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $449,074,345

Total giving: $16,499,537





Additional Contact Information

E-mail for grant inquiries:


Incorporated in 1934 in MN as Lexington Foundation; name changed to Louis W. and Maud Hill Family Foundation in 1950; present name adopted 1975 - The eight contiguous states in the Northwest Area Foundation's service area (Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington) were served by the Great Northern Railway, founded by James J. Hill. In 1934, his son, Louis W. Hill, established the foundation The foundation is a signatory to Philanthropy’s Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). By signing on, the grantmaker has committed to allocating the majority of its grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies, such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.

Purpose and Activities

The mission of the foundation is to support the efforts by the people, organizations and communities in the eight state region, (MN, IA, SD, ND, MT, ID, WA, and OR), to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. By funding the work of proven and promising organizations, the foundation will focus on three outcomes: Increased assets and wealth among people with low incomes; Increased capacity and leadership to reduce poverty; and Improved public policy solutions to reduce poverty.

Program Area(s)

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

Assets and Wealth Building

To increase assets and wealth among people with low incomes and to expand access to economic opportunities.

Capacity and Leadership

To increase capacity and leadership to reduce poverty. The foundation seeks to work with others to strengthen and develop grassroots and organizational leadership, and expand organizational capacity to increase assets and wealth and influence public policy locally and in the foundation's region.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation makes PRIs that provide resources to communities in the form of revolving loans that can be used for a variety of purposes including homeownership, business development and economic diversification and support. In addition, starting in 2004 the foundation allocated $10 million to create an MRI portfolio- a private equity, venture capital fund that is designed to meet the needs of established, private mid-to-late-stage companies that require additional funding for growth. In addition, the portfolio has mission-related objectives addressing the development and maintenance of an adequate workforce and the renetion of local businesses in the foundation's geographic region of service. .

Public Policy

To improve public policy solutions to reduce poverty. The foundation seeks to work with others to support public policy research, awareness and advocacy to increase assets and wealth, and support and strengthen American Indian urban and reservation communities and their ability to influence public policies .

Fields of Interest

  • Community and economic development
Population Groups
  • American Indians
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Immigrants and migrants
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Low-income and poor people
  • People of African descent
  • People of Latin American descent

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $449,074,345 (market value)

Expenditures: $27,908,770

Total giving: $16,499,537

Qualifying distributions: $22,143,210