As we look back on 2019, we are energized by the impact that $56 million in grants, program-related investments, and other strategic initiatives had across the Upper Midwest. This was the highest amount of charitable investments made in the Otto Bremer Trust’s 75-year history.
The engine for these record charitable distributions is the growth in our assets. Our unique approach to investment management has delivered strong results. We ended 2019 with assets of $2 billion, up 117 percent in just the past five years.
While these are meaningful milestones, from today’s vantage point we are facing a markedly different world, impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and the civil unrest caused by social injustice and racism.
While the juxtaposition is startling, one constant throughout all these years is the Otto Bremer Trust and our unwavering determination to help the most vulnerable—in the good years and in even the most challenging times. It was in a similarly uncertain time during the Great Depression that our founder Otto Bremer used his personal resources to help communities that were struggling. He believed then, as we do now, that people could survive and succeed if effective resources were provided during critical times.
Otto Bremer would be humbled that the small charitable trust he created has become a sustainable force for good throughout our region and continues to make important investments in the people, places, and opportunities of the region. It’s a fitting tribute to a visionary man that his legacy endures.