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David Hakensen, FleishmannHillard, 612-573-3111

Otto Bremer Trust makes $47 million in grants and program-related investments for 2016, largest in its history

SAINT PAUL, Jan. 12, 2017 — The Otto Bremer Trust today announced that it awarded $47.3 million in grants and program-related investments in 2016 to more than 550 organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin. This is the largest annual distribution total in the history of the organization.

“We are proud of the work we completed in 2016,” said Charlotte Johnson, co-CEO and trustee, OBT. “Our focus recognizes the individuals and communities of the region where we operate, as well as the increasingly diverse needs of organizations that present unique and compelling opportunities for the Trust’s investment.”

OBT’s mission is to invest in people, places, and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Founder Otto Bremer created a unique model integrating finance and philanthropy to set the stage for long-term sustainable commitment to the region. OBT has grown its assets from $2 million in 1944 to nearly $1 billion in 2016, while investing over $600 million in thousands of nonprofit organizations over the years. Over the past five years, OBT has made average annual distributions of $42 million.

As the majority owner of Bremer Bank, OBT is acutely aware of the significant challenges facing financial services institutions. With assets now in excess of $10 billion, Bremer Bank is one of the largest banks in the region with a presence in more than 90 communities.

“Otto recognized the concept of ‘impact investing’ decades before the term took hold,” said Daniel Reardon, co-CEO and trustee, OBT. “We utilize multiple avenues to invest in our region for the long-term. Our bank provides jobs and injects billions of dollars of capital into the region, which in turn sustains businesses, job growth, and general economic vitality. With the returns on our bank and non-bank assets, we support hundreds of frontline organizations doing important work to support all members of our communities. This is how we invest for impact.”

Over the past few years, OBT has increased its commitment to more innovative financial structures, often combining grants and program-related investments in order to support organizations that can use those funds to further invest in critical organizational infrastructure and long-term vision. Of its 2016 total distributions, OBT completed $6.4 million in program-related investments.

“We look to leverage our assets and strengths to maximize impact in our communities,” said Brian Lipschultz, co-CEO and trustee, OBT. “Through our involvement in banking and philanthropy, we bring new solutions that support the tremendous work being done by a multitude of people throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin. We expect to continue to innovate and grow our commitment in this area in the years ahead.”

For a full list of grants and program-related investments made during 2016, see Grant Recipients.

About the Otto Bremer Trust

The Otto Bremer Trust, based in St. Paul, Minn., is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $600 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin.

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