ABOUT THE DATA | JUMP TO FUNDERS

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Data: Grants from funders' IRS 990 reports

The data presented is all from the IRS 990 tax returns of the funders and recipients. The data is NOT the complete listing of grants, either given or received. It is selective data.

For the most part grants are restricted to recipients either in Minnesota or for use in Minnesota. The database includes all grants given by the selected funders to K-12 schools in Minnesota, some Minnesota media, and other organizations that make up the charter school 'ecosystem.'

Occassionaly other recipients are included, either in or out of state, to illustrate a giving pattern. For example, what is FHI 360, and why is it getting $4 million from the Bush Foundation? There are many questions raised by the grant data.

Sometimes ascertaining whether or not a grant is intended for use in Minnesota can be difficult given the limited amount of information funders provide about their payments. In particular, it is difficult to trace the financial behavior of local outlets of national organizations such as Teach for America, MinnCAN, and Educators 4 Excellence. This opacity is no accident.

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Conversely, an organization such as Charter School Partners has its own EIN and non-profit designation, making possible (wth some hard work) ferreting out its financial data. This kind of transparency makes it easier to say that places like Charter School Partners wouldn't exist but for the generosity of the listed funders.

Honest judgment was exercised on close decisions on whether or not to include any particular grant. For example, if a funder made a series of grants to a national organization such as 50CAN - owner of MinnCAN - and included that the grant was for MinnCAN in the comment then of course the grant would be included. In general - if there is NO designation for a local affiliate - the grant is only included if it is addressed to an in-state address.

For the Walton Family Foundation the database only includes grants given to Minnesota institutions, or money to be spent in the state, as explained above. Since the quality of grant reporting for the WFF is about equivalent to the quality of merchandise at Walmart stores some grants given may not be reported.