2021 in Retrospect

It’s January again. A time of transition when we mark how the past leads to our future. On December 26th, 2021, the Sauer Family Foundation turned 25 years old! As we celebrate this milestone we are reflecting on our history and how the gift of increased assets for the Foundation led to a dynamic 2021.

We launched a refreshed strategic direction and nearly doubled our grantmaking over the previous year. A record number of 88 grants were made, totaling $5,010,749. You can find a full list of 2021 grant recipients on our website. About half our grants were made under Building Strong Family Relationships: prevention and intervention in Child Welfare. During 2022 we hope to see positive indicators from some pilot projects: the launch of Family Resource Centers in Scott County and a trauma-sensitive family finding model for older foster youth looking to reconnect with kin or other supportive adults.

The majority of our grants were awarded to programs and projects in the Twin Cities Metro; however, our funding has statewide reach. Last year, 31% of our grants were for systems change work in Child Welfare, Children’s Mental Health or Education and those funds will impact children and families across Minnesota. In St. Louis County we funded expansion of kinship connection work, and in Central MN we seeded a community foster closet. Many partners reported that virtual programming extended their traditional attendance areas.

School-based programs in structured literacy and resilience to trauma faced continued disruption due to the pandemic. Happily, we were able to restart some in-person site visits. Staff got to see some great decoding skills from emerging readers and learned some interesting penguin facts from second graders showing off improved reading skills. As a team, the staff and trustees were able to visit Canine Inspired Change to learn about their expansion and get a much-needed puppy break.

We enter 2022 with a renewed commitment to our strategic direction and accelerated grantmaking. As in previous years, there will be three grant rounds with due dates of February 25th, May 20th and September 30th. Details about the application process are on the How to Apply page of our website.

If you’d like to learn more about the Sauer Family Foundation journey, you can find a video of the Foundation’s legacy on our homepage.