Things You Might Be Curious About
Have a question that isn’t addressed elsewhere on our website? Here are answers to a few questions we’re asked from time to time.
Didn’t you used to be called the Eden Prairie Foundation?
Yes, we were formed in 1981 as the Eden Prairie Foundation. But, as a result of strategic planning in 2011 and 2012, the Foundation’s board approved changes in its articles of incorporation and bylaws to add “community” to its name in order to reflect the desire to independently serve the broad philanthropic needs of Eden Prairie. The change allowed more at-large members on its board, and added more self-governing powers.
What’s your connection to the Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools?
FEPS is one of our nonprofit partners — so are PROP, The PROP Shop, and many other Eden Prairie organizations — but that’s the extent of the connection. We continue to look for opportunities to collaborate, but FEPS has a focus on student scholarships and classroom grants, whereas the Eden Prairie Community Foundation has a broader, communitywide, philanthropic bent. Two great organizations doing great work in Eden Prairie — it’s what makes Eden Prairie a fantastic place to live or work.
Is the Foundation part of city government in Eden Prairie?
No, although our bylaws require a small amount of board representation from the city, schools, chamber of commerce, and civic organizations. The confusion is understandable, since we maintain a small office at the Eden Prairie City Center, 8080 Mitchell Road. We’re thankful to the city for supplying that office space at a very low cost to the Foundation.
Whatever happened to the Foundation Ball?
Wow, you have a good memory! Yes, from 1981 to 2012, the semi-formal Eden Prairie Foundation Ball was the chief fundraiser for the organization, providing nearly all of the money funding its grants program. It was a great event, and continues to be fondly remembered. But not everyone likes to dress up for an evening of socializing, dinner, dancing, and charitable giving. So, to mix things up and engage more people, the Foundation in 2013 created the less-formal EP Gives event, a mix of socializing, hors d’oeuvres, music, and program to honor the latest grant winners. In 2014 the Foundation added the fall Prairie Brewfest, an outdoor, craft beer sampling event designed to introduce the organization to a younger demographic. It’s a “friendraiser” as much as a fundraiser. Today, the Foundation’s calendar is a mix of appeals, events, and other programs designed to engage a wide cross-section of Eden Prairie so that we live up to the word “community” in our name.
Didn’t the Foundation used to be an all-volunteer organization?
That’s true. For most of its life, the Foundation relied on volunteers to carry out its work — even the administrative details such as banking, audits, and so on. Its strategic planning in 2011 led to the hiring of a part-time executive director in order to put formal systems in place and expand the Foundation’s reach and impact. In 2013 the board hired a full-time executive director to take the Foundation to the next level — to provide a “face” of the organization, to broaden support, and to increase the organization’s philanthropic work. But it’s the only paid position at the Foundation, meaning it continues to be a small, personal organization.