We’ve had a steady course from the beginning: Unceasing work toward equal opportunities for all Minnesota children.
Our Key Priorities
Create a sense of urgency to close gaps in educational outcomes between students of color and white students.
Minnesota is known for leading the nation in ACT college entrance exam scores and for ranking second in the nation in the percentage of adults age 25 or older with an associate degree or higher. Yet the reality is that while Minnesota has many excellent K-12 schools, the state’s education system struggles with stark racial and economic disparities. White students in Minnesota tend to do well compared to their peers nationwide, but many students of color – especially those from low-income families – do not complete school with the preparation they need to succeed in college and/or careers.
Closing these opportunity and achievement gaps is critical to the state’s future. To remain economically competitive, Minnesota must ensure that today’s students grow into a workforce equipped to meet tomorrow’s needs. That’s why the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children invests in organizations and initiatives that help ensure all Minnesota students have access to an excellent education.
Expand high-performing schools and school networks.
All Minnesota students deserve an education that prepares them for college and/or careers. That’s why the Foundation is dedicated to expanding access to great schools.
Nationally, Minnesota has some of the widest opportunity and achievement gaps between poor children and those of means, between white students and students of other races. And yet some schools have shown that it is possible to provide all students, not just some, with an excellent education.
Increase parent demand for schools that provide excellent educational outcomes for all students.
The importance of parents in their children’s education cannot be overstated. It is crucial that all families have the tools and skills they need to make informed choices about their children’s education.
The Foundation was founded in 1998 with a $30 million commitment as a result of fees earned from the Minnesota Tobacco Litigation. As the litigation aimed to protect our state’s children, the Foundation focuses its giving on improving the lives of all Minnesota children. Originally named the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children, we changed our name in 2018 to honor the two veteran attorneys who spearheaded the tobacco litigation: Michael V. Ciresi and Roberta B. Walburn.
To date, the Foundation has granted more than $23 million to further its mission.
The Foundation is an independent private foundation. For staffing and operating support, the Foundation contracts with The Minneapolis Foundation.