Letter from the Chair of the Board and Executive Director


2017 was a transformative year for Marbrook Foundation as we implemented the strategic plan initiated in 2016. One fairly substantial change was in the focus area of, the environment. The Foundation increased the Environment granting budget to 20% of total giving, expanded its focus to National and Minnesota-based organizations, and created an Environmental Committee of board members and Brooks family members. Granting in the Environment will begin in fall 2018, so please stay tuned for details on the new guidelines, which will be posted in June.

Another considerable change was in Arts granting. The Foundation has expanded it’s support to arts programs in the Twin Cities metro that foster cultural awareness and understanding,and encourage cross-cultural collaboration, community integration, and inclusion.

In the areas of immigrant and refugee education and empowerment, Marbrook Foundation continues to support an array of programs assisting immigrants and refugees, including culturally safe and conducive learning environments for children and youth which may include a focus on mindfulness; intentional intercultural learning and cross-cultural experiences; healthy development, life-skill development, and well-being for youth and families; development of skills for financial independence; leadership development and empowerment in the community; and cultural preservation.

In 2017, Marbrook made the grants below to organizations that reflect our newly expanded arts granting and continued support of programs that create equal opportunity for immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities.

  • Penumbra Theater creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought provoking, and relevant and illuminates the human condition through the prism of the African American experience. Penumbra seeks to inspire a more loving, inclusive America through the true tales of dignity and strife from Minnesota’s global citizens, performed live on stage and broadcasted across the radio through Let’s Talk: My America - a juried open call for monologues, sonnets, and rally cries.
  • Ragamala Dance Company creates intercultural, collaborative performance works that forge together ancestry and continuity. Ragamala will create and premiere Body, the Shrine, a new work which features five dancers and a musical ensemble from South India that will premiere at the Cowles Center for Dance in April 2018.
  • Green Card Voices aims to build inclusive and integrated communities between immigrants and nonimmigrants by sharing immigrant youth stories. Green Card Voices will engage St. Paul high schools with 30 immigrant youth authors through a traveling photo/video exhibit and book readings hosted at high schools, bookstores, universities and a young writer’s conference in order to foster cultural awareness and understanding of the immigrant experience.
  • World Savvy is embedding global competence in English language learner (ELL) education by providing professional development and resources to teachers that drive students to be authentically engaged in the classroom and inspired to take positive action. Central to this is World Savvy’s belief that all students can become change makers regardless of geography, socioeconomic status, or other barriers.

In 2018, we look forward to the Foundation initiating new environmental grant guidelines and giving, and continuing support of arts, education and empowerment organizations that better our communities. Your comments and questions are welcomed and we encourage you to email Minna Brooks at mbrooks@marbrookfoundation.org.

Markell Kiefer

Chair of the Board

Minna K. Brooks

Executive Director