From the Minneapolis StarTribune:
Cargill Foundation to get big-bucks boost
The $8 billion deal will give the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation instant clout to attack global problems.
After years of waiting, a stock deal is finally freeing up the money that will make the local Margaret A. Cargill Foundation one of the nation's biggest philanthropies, the donor of millions of dollars in Minnesota and across the globe.
A business move announced by Cargill Inc. last week means the foundation and a sister philanthropy -- Anne Ray Charitable Trust -- could split an estimated $8 billion.
That transforms the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation into one of the nation's 15 biggest foundations by assets and makes it at least twice the size of Minnesota's next-largest foundation, the McKnight Foundation.
The foundation finally can ramp up its grant-making for environmental programs, arts and culture, and "relief, recovery and development" -- top priorities as it flings open its doors. Although its vision is global, Minnesota will usually get a slice of program funding, staff said.
"Since 2006 [when Margaret Cargill died at age 85] it's been --'When can we actually start making grants?'" said Sallie Gaines, foundation spokesperson. "Just knowing we will be able to burst forth from the starting line is really exciting."
The Cargill heiress' fortune had been tied up in stock in the private company founded by her grandfather, and it could not be publicly traded. But the Cargill company's decision last week to divest its stake in local fertilizer giant Mosaic Co. was designed to free up cash for Margaret Cargill's trusts.
Her Cargill stock will be swapped for Mosaic shares, which are publicly traded and therefore easily converted to cash. At today's market prices, those shares are worth about $8 billion, of which $4 billion will go to the foundation.
"We will finally have the cash to fulfill Margaret's vision," Gaines said.
To put those assets in perspective, only eight foundations in the nation have $5 billion or more in assets.
While Minnesota nonprofits are likely to benefit from the foundation's stepped-up grantmaking, one stands out in particular. The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis is particularly well-placed. It is one of about a dozen nonprofits funded by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, a separate philanthropy founded by Margaret Cargill in 1996 that is slated to receive $4 billion....MORE