Other Notes on Methodologyand Terminology


  1. PRIs to Individuals
    Four Minnesota private foundations in our dataset regularly made PRIs to individuals, most often as educational loans. In most years, these foundations combined all of their individual loans into one PRI line item in Part IX-B on the Form 990-PF and did not include an itemized schedule. To be consistent, our team always listed the aggregated values of these individual PRIs as one PRI. However, if we had been able to consistently treat such PRIs separately in our dataset, it would have had a tremendous impact on many of our findings. For example, in one specific year for one specific foundation, we included one PRI of $218,000 in our dataset, but we could have listed 74 individual PRIs with an average amount of $2,946. Fully disaggregating the PRIs we currently have listed for just this one foundation would likely have added another 800+ PRIs to the dataset and changed many of our results.
  2. Short-Term PRIs
    It is likely that our methodology missed a handful of PRIs that were deployed and then fully returned within the same fiscal year. Because these PRIs have a net neutral impact on the Form 990-PF, foundations may not report them in Part IX-B. During our interview phase, we learned of several such PRIs and included them in our dataset.
  3. Adjusting for Inflation
    Unless otherwise noted, all dollar values in this report are adjusted to December 2016 values. To adjust for inflation, our team used the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation calculator provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Endnote 11)
  4. Chart Terminology
    Throughout the report, we make use of the following abbreviations, especially when helpful for formatting purposes:

    “MN” for “Minnesota”
    “%” for “Percentage”
    “#” for “Number”
    “Year” or “FY” for “Fiscal Year”
    “Foundation” for “Private Foundation”
    “M” for “million”