Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Begins Hiring

The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, already the wealthiest foundation in Minnesota, has begun hiring up to seventy-five staff and is planning to open a headquarters in Eden Prairie by the end of the year, the Star Tribune reports.

Although the $2.1 billion foundation is not accepting unsolicited grant requests, it is creating a buzz in the state's philanthropic and nonprofit communities. Cargill, who died in 2006 at the age of 85, was the granddaughter of William W. Cargill, founder of the Cargill Co., the nation's largest privately held firm. During her life, Cargill quietly supported the arts, the environment, and other causes that touched her personally.

According to Sallie Gaines, a vice president at the Chicago-based Hill & Knowlton public relations firm, the foundation will operate under the umbrella of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, along with the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the Akaloa Resource Foundation, which were Cargill's primary philanthropic vehicles during her life. The new foundation will be headed by Christine Morse, who will serve as its CEO, and Paul Busch — one of Cargill's advisors — who will serve as chief operating officer.

The foundation will likely continue to keep a low public profile, however. "Margaret believed strongly that the organization doing the work should get the spotlight, not the donor," said Gaines. "And her foundation is trying to do the same."

Jean Hopfensperger. "Cargill Heir Jolts Minnesota Charity Landscape With $2.1 Billion." Minneapolis Star Tribune 04/18/2010.