Founded by Penny and Bill George in 1994, the George Family Foundation (GFF) supports programs, organizations, and initiatives that transform lives. The $63 million private family foundation has an annual grantmaking budget of more than $4.2 million. Areas of foundation interest include integrative health and healing, authentic leadership, spirituality and mindfulness, youth development, environment, and community. The George Family Foundation’s mission is to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit, and community by developing authentic leaders and supporting transformative programs that serve the common good.
GFF does the majority of its grantmaking in Minnesota, focusing on the greater Twin Cities metropolitan region. It also makes grants to significant national organizations in its two largest funding focus areas: integrative health and healing and authentic leadership. Other funding priorities are in the areas of spirituality and mindfulness, youth development, environment, and community. The foundation provides funding to programs that benefit all people, but especially those in under resourced communities.
Program Information: GFF’s health priorities span several of its funding areas but are primarily focused in its integrative health and healing funding area. In 2017, the foundation invested just over $3.07 million in programs and grants to various nonprofit organizations, including multiple grassroots community organizations that support integrative approaches to healing from trauma. Of the $3.07 million, the foundation invested $1 million in its Catalyst Initiative and committed an additional $1.5 million to support the Catalyst Initiative after its transfer to The Minneapolis Foundation. It estimates investing approximately $2.6 million in 2018.
Total Assets: $63 million (Dec 31 2017)
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Programs and Grants: $3.07 million (committed and/or paid in 2017)
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services GrantsAcademic Consortium for Integrative Health and Medicine—to support their website development and communications efforts. ($100,000)Catalyst Initiative—program support and seed grants ($1 million), as well as the approval of a three-year grant to support the operations of the Catalyst Initiative after its transfer to The Minneapolis Foundation in December 2017. ($1.5 million). The Catalyst Initiative is an effort to bring culturally authentic selfcare practices to communities impacted by high rates of trauma.
George Wellbeing Center at the Y of the Greater Twin Cities—planning grant ($25,000), followed by the confirmation in early 2018 of a grant to support the start-up and programmatic expenses for the first three years of this new center. ($1 million)
The Penny George Institute for Health & Healing at Allina Health—to support practitioner education and pilot projects, marketing efforts, convenings, and arts in healing programs. ($37,500)
Community Practitioner Education Project—to support free access to an online integrative medicine training program to primary care practitioners in 13 community clinics in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The training program is managed by the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. ($50,000)
Role of Philanthropy in Meeting Pressing Needs
“We are in the midst of a great collective consciousness shift. Integrative medicine is not about modalities. That is the part Western medicine focuses on because interventions are what modern medicine does. But if we simply substitute supplements and herbs for pharmaceuticals and medical devices—or heaven forbid we market a new pill to make it unnecessary to move our bodies, or we find a drug to cure obesity—we will still be operating out of the same old “fix me, doctor” consciousness. As Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.’
Historically, philanthropy at its best has been the engine of social change. At the George Family Foundation, we strive to be the ‘wind beneath the wings’ of those who are boldly leading the organizations and programs that are making a difference by working for greater health and well-being for all people.”
–Penny George, Board Chair, George Family Foundation