Robina Foundation to Award Remaining $5 Million and Sunset in 2020

Robina Foundation to Award Remaining $5 Million and Sunset in 2020

The Minneapolis-based Robina Foundation has announced that it is on track to distribute the remainder of its assets, estimated to be about $5 million, and begin the process of shutting down, the Star Tribune reports. 

The foundation was established in 2004 by former Honeywell president James Binger, who stipulated that its assets be distributed over twenty years to four institutions: Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and its parent nonprofit, Allina Health; the University of Minnesota Law School; Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. Binger, who died in 2004, earned degrees at both the University of Minnesota and Yale and was a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, while both he and his wife, Virginia McKnight Binger, had been treated at Abbott Northwestern.

The foundation has awarded a total of $165 million in grants since 2007, with the University of Minnesota Law School receiving the largest share — nearly $60 million — mostly for scholarships, the creation of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, and the establishment of the James H. Binger Center for New Americans. Allina Health has received gifts totaling $24.5 million from the foundation, largely in support of LifeCourse, a new care model that pairs care "guides" with chronically ill patients with the aim of reducing emergency room visits and lengthy hospital stays.

"It's a fantastic example of successful giving," said Deepinder Mayell, executive director of the James M. Binger Center for New Americans, which provides legal support to immigrants. "The immigrant community is one of the most vulnerable portions of the population in the region. It's a life-changing thing you can do for somebody.”

The Star Tribune notes that the foundation did not accomplish one of Binger's goals — funding a major initiative that all four grantees could work on together. In any event, the foundation will disburse its final $5 million in early 2020 and then work  toward its dissolution next December, as Binger envisioned.

"I just think it's a very interesting model and I think it's not understood and really not replicated a lot," said Robina Foundation board chair Kathleen Blatz, a former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice. “People who want to do good things for other organizations can just have more impact this way."

(Photo credit: Robina Foundation)