What does the Butler Family Foundation support through the Special Projects Grants Program?

Special Projects Grants are designed to help our nonprofit partners achieve greater impact in the arts, environment, human services, or philanthropy and nonprofit technical assistance.

What types of support are available through Special Projects Grants?

Activities funded through Special Projects Grants may include capital campaigns, major program innovations, or systems change initiatives. Requests for general operating support or ongoing support for established programs will not be considered. The minimum grant size is $100,000, and the Foundation prefers not to be the only funder of the proposed project.

Who is eligible to apply?

Special Projects Grants are limited to organizations with a current active grant from our Community Grants Program, the Petersham Fund, or the Regranting & Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund. If you are not a current grantee of the Butler Family Foundation, you are not eligible to apply. The Foundation will only consider one letter of intent per organization per year.

What is the timeline to apply?

Letters of intent will be accepted during the following periods:
  • April 1, 2024 to May 31, 2024
  • October 1, 2024 to December 2, 2024

What is the review process for Special Projects Grants?

Applicants interested in submitting a letter of intent are encouraged to contact the Foundation prior to submission to discuss their project. All applicants must complete a letter of intent. Following a review of your letter of intent, you may be invited to submit a full proposal. Staff and Board members will complete a review of your application for funding, which will include one or more site visits. Special Projects funding decisions will be made two times per year during the Foundation's regular grantmaking meetings in the spring and fall.

What questions will need to be addressed in the letter of intent?

  • Project Description
    Describe the project for which you are requesting funding. Include a brief overview of your anticipated activities and timeframe.
  • Project Goals
    Describe the goals of the project. Include a brief discussion of the community outcomes you anticipate.
  • Project Impact
    Describe how the project will enable your organization to achieve greater impact in new ways in the community or how it will enhance the operations of your nonprofit.
  • Project Timing
    Explain why you believe the project is necessary at this time. Discuss the specific factors -- such as other funding opportunities, learnings from previous projects, strategic partnerships, or the availability of space -- that make this moment the right one for the project to advance.
  • Organizational Budget
  • Project Budget
  • Fundraising Plan
    Include a list of secured and pending funders for the project -- both private and public.

How many Special Projects Grants will be made annually?

The Foundation anticipates that 4 to 8 Special Projects Grants will be awarded annually.

What are examples of previous Special Projects Grants?

Capital Projects

  • CLUES: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio
    $250,000 for the Saint Paul headquarters expansion
  • Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
    $250,000 for expansion and renovation of the Saint Paul Fellowship Club Campus
  • Mississippi Park Connection
    $100,000 for renovation of the National Park Service Mississippi River Visitor Center
  • People Serving People
    $125,000 for an industrial kitchen and dining hall renovation
  • YouthLink
    $225,000 for the Ignite the Dream Campaign to create supportive housing for young people experiencing homelessness

Program Innovations and Systems Change Initiatives

  • Friends of the Mississippi River
    $150,000 for enhancing communications and grassroots advocacy and engagement capacity
  • Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery
    $200,000 for the Healthy Families Initiative to create a pilot project using trauma-informed therapeutic practices in collaboration with the Jeremiah Program
  • MacPhail Center for Music
    $100,000 for the Powering Up Access and Impact Campaign to invest in student and partnership growth, online program delivery, and professional development
  • Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center
    $200,000 for the Mind Body Medicine in Indian Country Project to introduce and evaluate the impact of mind-body medicine practices in Native American communities
  • Nonprofits Assistance Fund
    $150,000 for a comprehensive program to strengthen the financial health, capacity, and resilience of mid-sized arts and culture organizations
  • Saint Paul and Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
    $200,000 for a pilot project to enhance coordination of services with Ramsey County Sexual Assault Services to ensure a broad safety net and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
  • The Nature Conservancy
    $150,000 for the Mississippi River Headwaters Fund


Click here to learn how to apply.


For more information, contact:

Foundation Co-Director
Telephone: 651-222-2565 (ext. 110) 
Foundation Co-Director
Telephone: 651-222-2565 (ext. 113)