Otto Bremer Trust

Otto Bremer Trust

Otto Bremer Trust launched grantee portal with foundationConnect.

The Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. foundations. The organization is part of the top 100 biggest foundations.


  • Completely manual process meant reconciling multiple sources of information – from spreadsheets of data entered manually to email requests, email attachments, pdf applications and creating manual mail merges.
  • Having a manual system created more room for error and caused inefficiencies when reviewing whether each type of research had the correct verifications and license to conduct the research.
  • Sharing applications with ACSM Research Review Committee (RRC) members meant manually compiling emailed documents into one document to upload to Dropbox for RRC members to access.
  • RRC members would submit their review documents via email and staff would manually compile applicant award or decline letters.
  • All reminders and communication to both applicants and RRC members had to be remembered to be completed manually by staff.


  • Online applicant portal allowed individuals to apply to all grants directly online and submit any related documents and verifications, even after submitting an application.
  • Online reviewer portal allowed RRC members to view each application and all related documents in one place as well as submit their own scores and reviews for that application
  • Automation of generating application packets for reviewers, and award and decline packets to applicants using Conga Composer
  • Imposed requirements on applications to ensure completion
  • Automation of email receipts and reminders for both applicants and RRC members, thus eliminating the need for staff to manually respond to each submission
  • Automation to track required verifications so that staff didn’t have to manually match up emailed IRB and other verifications sent by the applicant to their application
  • Docket enforced hard deadlines for applicants
  • Grantee reports tied directly to each application for easy submission and reference to the original research study


  • All applications can be received online and all requirements are built into the application so the chances of someone submitting an incomplete application has drastically decreased.
  • Funded investigators can view and submit research results via online grantee reports tied directly to the research study grant they received vs. submitting a pdf report via email that needed to explicitly reference the study on which they were reporting.
  • RRC members can view applications and submit their review comments all in one location, with one account login.
  • Staff can track mandatory verifications using built in automation that marks whether or not an applicant has submitted their required verifications.
  • Staff can track any and all payments and refunds related to every single grant given without having to inquire of the finance officer
  • All attachments/additional documents are managed directly via the applicant portal, thus eliminating the need to manually scan and attach to an application. (Since required fields are set on the application itself, all mandatory documents are submitted without confusion for the applicant).
  • Staff administrators have the ability to customize and automate as much or as little of the system as they deem necessary.