Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

For Discussion

March 2013

New geographic profiles can help build your funding case

Claire ChangThe Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Compass teamed up to create unique East Metro data profiles on the Minnesota Compass website.

Claire Chang, associate vice president of grants and program for The Saint Paul Foundation, talks with Compass about the inspiration for the profiles, how they can be used, and their role in the $1 million Forever Saint Paul Challenge, which is accepting entries through April 3.

Q. You led the work on the new East Metro data profiles. Tell us what inspired this project.

A: While Minnesota Compass is a tremendous resource for the community, more people could be utilizing it. Minnesota Compass provides a common framework and supporting data to better understand the opportunities and challenges in Minnesota. When nonprofits are seeking funding from The Saint Paul Foundation they must make the case for what they are proposing and how their efforts will impact the East Metro Area. Using the most current and relevant data helps applicants make the case for their proposed efforts, identify meaningful ways to measure growth over time, and document how their efforts have changed the lives of those they serve. Beyond the data, we encourage grant seekers to explore the Compass library to help inform promising practice.

Q. What’s unique about these new profiles?

A: Grant seekers can now easily view the data by the City of Saint Paul, the entire East Metro, or the three counties that make up the East Metro (Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington). The information is available in tables which include age, race/ethnicity, and gender data. This breadth and depth of data have never been available on Compass for these geographies. The table format also reflects Compass’ new site structure, with economy and workforce treated as separate topics. Users also are able to download the data in a .CSV file format. Some examples of data that users can easily find include:

  • Saint Paul’s foreign-born residents’ home regions are diverse. Between 2008 and 2010, nearly 50 percent were from Asia, while the share of foreign-born residents from Africa has increased dramatically since 2000 from 11% to nearly 20%.
  • Since 2004, on-time graduation rates for Hispanic student in Saint Paul Public Schools have gone up by nearly 20 points, from 34% to 57%.

Q. The Saint Paul Foundation provides services and support for nonprofit organizations, various community leaders, and its many donors. How do you think these audiences might use these profiles?

A: I envision program officers using the profiles with grant seekers throughout the grantmaking and grant management process to help establish community needs and how to meet those needs. Program officers also will use Compass data and resources to inform and educate themselves, our board, and donors, in addition to informing the community initiatives we operate.

Q. The Saint Paul Foundation launched the $1 million Forever Saint Paul Challenge in February, inviting anyone to share a million-dollar idea for Saint Paul. How might Challenge participants use the Minnesota Compass data profiles to support their ideas?

A: Depending on the idea being submitted, the data profiles can help build the case for the need and the proposed solution. The 25-30 semi-finalists who advance in the Challenge could reference the data profiles as a guide to measure the effectiveness of their idea and further build the case behind it. Ultimately, data profiles may be used to inform the evaluation of the winning idea’s success after it has been implemented.

Q: How does the Forever Saint Paul Challenge build on the Foundation’s regular grantmaking work?

A: It's a unique way for a community foundation to do community engagement around an issue. Rather than just holding up an issue and saying it’s a problem we need to solve, a Challenge is one pathway to involving many perspectives and individuals in the solution. And the trend is growing. We’ve fielded many inquiries from community foundations around the country interested in this approach to community engagement and problem solving.

This also is a great way for us to introduce ourselves to new and more organizations doing great work in the East Metro. We can make our work more accessible to more communities.

Since 1940, thousands of generous individuals committed to the Saint Paul area have made charitable gifts to The Saint Paul Foundation. Today, the Foundation is the state’s largest community foundation. Guided by the legacy of its earliest donors, the Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable giving goals and have long-lasting impact in the community. The Foundation is an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.


Featured trend

Percentage of Minnesota adults age 25 or older with a bachelor's degree

Educational attainment among Minnesota’s adults continues to rise

Minnesota ranks among the 10 states with the highest shares of college-educated adults. Today, 37% of adults in Minnesota have a bachelor’s degree or higher, an increase of almost 10 percentage points since 2000.

See our educational attainment key measure for more on this topic.


Data Update


There are 20 counties in Minnesota in which at least one in five young children (age 0-5) lives in poverty

Foreign-born populations continue to grow as a proportion of the overall population, making up 9% of Minnesota’s population, up from 7% in 2010.

Approximately 38% of householders of color pay too much for housing.

The ratio of retirement-age adults (65+) to working-age adults (16-64) increased in 60 Minnesota cities, signaling disproportionate growth in the number of older adults compared to the working-age population.

Between 2016 and 2019, the share of Minnesota students who report being highly engaged in enrichment activities fell from 65% to nearly 60%.