Framing the Report
As you explore The PRI Pulse, we ask you to keep a few things in mind:
- Research Period Definition
First, our research officially covers fiscal years 1998 to 2016. For years 1998-2015, our team was able to individually review over 94% of all tax forms for existing Minnesota private foundations in GuideStar. For fiscal year 2016, however, only 7% of tax forms were available because most private foundations had not yet filed them with the IRS. Despite low form availability, we decided to include in this report all of the 2016 PRIs that we did find because those PRIs are the most current and significant for the reader. You can learn more about tax form availability over the research period in the methodology section.
- A "Just the Facts" Approach
Second, we have made a deliberate effort to present our results in an objective way that encourages readers to be partners in analysis. While we regularly highlight what we believe are key takeaways from the research, we have attempted to do so without editorializing or passing judgement on those takeaways. We ask readers to actively engage with the statistics themselves, to make their own observations, to ask their own questions, and to draw their own conclusions.
- Research Scope & PRI Performance
Third, this report does not attempt to analyze PRI performance. This is mostly because data on PRI performance is not publicly and consistently available. Additionally, PRIs are purposefully concessionary, and expectations of financial return can vary widely between private foundations and between individual PRIs, which means that comparing PRI financial returns is challenging to do well. It is our opinion that regardless of the outcome of any particular PRI, the private foundations included here have made an important contribution to philanthropy simply by using the tool, and each is worth celebrating because of it.
- Not a "How-To" Guide
Fourth, this report does not offer an in-depth look at PRI rules or an instructive guide to private foundations for how to make PRIs. Our goal with The PRI Pulse is to present, for the very first time, high-quality baseline statistics on how PRIs have been used in the past in Minnesota, right at a time when many in our state are discussing how best to utilize them in the future. So with that goal in mind, let’s get into it. Check out the executive summary, methodology, and findings.