Perhaps best known for Post-It Notes and Scotch tape, 3M is a venerable Minnesota company that makes products for industries as diverse as aircraft maintenance, medical, and food safety. But 3M also has a robust philanthropy program with well-defined objectives and a tendency to give locally.
For Minnesota grantseekers, here are three top things to know about the 3M Foundation.
1. There are Three 3M Interest Areas
Unlike some big corporate funders who give a little to lots of unrelated causes, the 3M Foundation has three very specific grantmaking interests for each of its grant cycles. The foundation’s education grants support STEM and business programs for underserved populations, with the K-12 cycle from April to June and the higher education from July to September. Community grants from 3M target diversity and inclusiveness with many grants going towards youth and art programs. This grant cycle runs from August to November. The third 3M interest area involves environmental sustainability, stewardship, conservation, and learning. It is especially interested in better air and water quality and has a February to April environmental grant cycle.
2. Specific Minnesota Cities are in Focus
Although 3M is a global company, much of its annual grantmaking stays close to home. The foundation is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, so the foundation awards a significant number of grants here. Other 3M communities with offices in the state are in the Minnesota cities of Alexandria, Fairmont, Hutchinson, New Ulm, Park Rapids, Red Wing, and Staples. Beyond these borders, 3M communities are also prevalent in California, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, and other U.S. states.
3. Unsolicited Grant Requests are Welcome
Fortunately for local grantseekers, the 3M Foundation does accept unsolicited grant requests for its interest areas throughout the year. Grantseekers can complete an online “community interest form” at any time, found on the funder’s website, to tell the funder about an organization and project. The foundation reviews these forms during the specific grant cycles outlined above. Just keep in mind that the 3M Foundation does not support disease-related causes, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, treatment centers, athletics, playground or athletic equipment, or fundraising events. In recent years, most of the 3M Foundation grants have been between about $2,500 and $50,000 each.
Overall, this is a very well-established corporate foundation that has been on the grantmaking scene since 1953. The company has awarded at least $1.45 billion in grants and in-kind gifts to organizations since that time. Check out our full profile about 3M’s local giving and other Minnesota-focused funders in our Upper Midwest and Plains Funding Guide.