Carlson Family Foundation Announces $15 Million Gift to the University of Minnesota and Carlson School of Management

Carlson Family Foundation Announces $15 Million Gift to the University of Minnesota and Carlson School of Management

MINNEAPOLIS - July 26, 2018

Renewing its commitment to excellence in global business leadership, the Carlson Family Foundation announced today that it is investing $15 million in the University of Minnesota and the Carlson School of Management.

The gift is the latest by the Carlson Family Foundation to the Carlson School of Management since Curt Carlson first committed $25 million to the University in 1986. Over the years and across generations, the Carlson family’s philanthropy has provided over $68 million in gifts to the University, making the foundation the largest individual contributor to the University of Minnesota.

 “The Carlson family’s commitment to the University began in 1932, the year my grandfather, Curt Carlson, enrolled as a freshman. Over the years, and into our 4th generation, our belief that the success of the University and of Minnesotans are directly linked, has only gained strength,” said Wendy Nelson, Board Chair, Carlson Family Foundation and Co-Chair, Carlson School campaign. “With this gift, generations of our family stand with Minnesota, the University and the Carlson School in cementing its position as a leading business school with a global reach and a powerful purpose: Business as a force for good.”

Today’s announced gift is targeted towards enhancing the global reach of the Carlson School, which includes a presence in 34 countries through student exchanges, faculty-led programs, internships, Global Executive MBAs, partnerships, and more.

“The foundation laid by Curt Carlson over 30 years ago propelled the Carlson School to the global stage,” said Eric W. Kaler, President, University of Minnesota. “Today’s gift will advance the Carlson School’s capacity for global leadership and have far-reaching benefits for students, faculty, our vibrant business community and our partners around the world.”

Since 1986, enrollment at Carlson School of Management has nearly tripled, and its faculty is currently ranked among the best in the world.

“For over 60 years, the Carlson family has been our partner, allowing us to achieve greater capacity to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving and growing global marketplace,” said Sri Zaheer, Dean, Carlson School of Management. “Today’s Carlson School graduates have international experience as part of their academic requirements and are well-positioned to look ahead and shape the future. This latest investment from the Carlson family will bring more of Minnesota to the world, and more of the world to Minnesota.”

About the Carlson Family Foundation

The Carlson Family Foundation is a Minnesota-based philanthropic foundation that seeks to uplift youth through leadership at the intersection of love and insight.  Established in 1959 by Curt and Arleen Carlson, the Foundation’s mission is to work together with the community to create opportunity, hope and a sense of belonging for every young person.  

Through its grants to the University of Minnesota and the Carlson School of Management, the Foundation supports the Carlson School’s commitment to business as a force for good, as well as opportunities across the University that offer world-class student experiences.  Learn more at

About the Carlson School of Management

Established in 1919, the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management is a business school at the University of Minnesota. Recognized as a leader in business education and research, its focus on experiential learning, international education and maintaining strong ties to the business community exemplify the school’s commitment to excellence. Today, the Carlson School has 55,000+ alumni in 90 countries, 12 degree programs, 103 tenure-track and 39 full-time instructional faculty members. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as executive education programs hosted domestically and abroad.