Our mission reflects the intent of our founder, Otto Bremer. His vision and longstanding commitment to communities during and after the Great Depression endure today through the Otto Bremer Trust.
OBT is structured to reflect the challenges and opportunities found throughout Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. We are mindful of Otto’s extraordinary legacy and our obligation to be faithful stewards of his vision for the Trust’s perpetual structure.
Otto Bremer’s commitment to helping people and communities provides the cornerstone of the Trust’s investment philosophy. He recognized then, as we do today, that Good Lives Here.
Otto Bremer was a successful businessman who specifically structured a charitable trust to fulfill his philanthropic vision, and he appointed trustees to carry out his wishes in perpetuity. OBT has operated this way for more than 75 years. Today the Trustees—Charlotte Johnson, Daniel Reardon, and Francis Miley—manage, operate, and maintain all aspects of the Trust as articulated in the Trust Agreement. The Trustees have a fiduciary obligation and are empowered to ensure that all OBT activities are for charitable purposes.
OBT was founded in 1944. Since then, it has granted nearly $1 billion to help further Otto Bremer’s mission in communities across the region.
Otto Bremer came to St. Paul as a young German immigrant in 1886 seeking new opportunities. Over the next 36 years, he worked his way up to become chairman of the American National Bank and a dedicated community leader involved in civic, financial, and corporate life.
Bremer’s financial acumen led to investments in many independent rural banks in the Upper Midwest. During the Great Depression, Bremer liquidated many of his personal assets to strengthen these banks and help them ride out hard times. He believed that people could survive and flourish if they had financial support at critical times.
For all his success, Bremer did not forget the strengths and hardships of the rural and immigrant experience. His concern for those working to make their lives better became the cornerstone of the Otto Bremer Trust.
OBT was founded in 1944. Since then, with continued exponential growth, OBT has granted nearly $1 billion to help further Otto Bremer’s mission in communities across the region.