Our First Blog Post!
It feels appropriate to write our first blog post about the Sauer Family Foundation’s 20th Anniversary. The foundation was formed in 1996 and has been an instrument for giving to those in need, bringing family and friends together to volunteer, and convening people who care about those less fortunate to talk about solutions. We celebrated with a small open house of our closest family and friends, many of whom were part of the foundation for the first 15 years.
The Sauer family has been volunteering with their friends since before the foundation started. They have hosted a 4th of July picnic for many years, complete with face painting, games, sack races, hamburgers & hotdogs. The activities and favorite picnic foods make it a fun family event for participants as well as volunteers. Over time, the events have expanded throughout the year to include a Holiday party with our special guest Santa, a fancy sit-down Valentine’s Day dinner served to the children at St. Joe’s Home for Children, and an occasional Easter event. The Kid’s Club at the foundation has tied blankets and packed lunches for homeless youth, brought food to the food shelf including after school snacks for children, and bought gifts for children in need at the Holidays.
In the 20th year of the foundation’s giving, the oldest of the Kid’s Club have graduated to the Junior Board and gave their own grants to organizations for the first time. It was so fun to hear them discuss grant possibilities and make a group decision about where the money should go. I look forward to working with this group of young people as they learn to do more grantmaking together and eventually move to the Board of Trustees.
As with any 20-year-old, the foundation is coming into its own as it explores how to use its resources besides grant money. We have learned this year that convening people for rich conversations about complex issues is very powerful. The Sauer Collaborative for Child Well-Being was born out of that work and its mission is to help Minnesota’s child welfare system align with a comprehensive definition of child well-being, rather than only safety and permanency. Safety & permanency are critical, but we must consider other important components of well-being such as avoiding traumatizing children, checking their physical health, and doing this all in a culturally appropriate setting where the child feels a sense of belonging. The brain research over the past 10 years helps us to know better what children need to be well, and so now we need to incorporate the research into best practices for the well-being of our children.
As we look ahead, we are committed to using our resources intentionally to have the greatest possible impact on children and families in our community. We give money, time, talent, and convening time and space to work out sticky social problems. It is right that in its 20th year, the foundation moved into a beautiful home (literally!) in between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. We are grateful to all who have helped us do our work over the past 20 years – friends of the family, the wonderful people at our grantee organizations, and other funders, as well as people in county and state government agencies. We can’t do our work alone and look forward to another 20 years of working in this wonderful community that cares deeply about its children and families.