Manitou Fund



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Assets: $999,956,444


Private Foundation




Donald G. McNeely

President and CEO:

Oliver Din

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $22,487,979

Expenses: $39,394,036

Assets: $986,818,941 1


  1. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Manitou Fund. 2022. Part I.

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The Manitou Fund is a left-of-center private foundation located in Minnesota funded by the estate of real estate magnate Donald McNeely. McNeely’s family controls a large amount of real estate throughout the Midwest. The foundation controls nearly $1 billion in assets, making it among the largest foundations in Minnesota.

Little is known about the inner workings of the foundation or its president, Oliver Din, as the foundation does not have a website and Din is notably private about his personal background. The foundation mostly funds organizations in the Midwest and California including many left-of-center environmental groups and has purchased swaths of land for preservation. Groups funded by the foundation include Human Rights Watch, Environmental Defense Fund, and First Peoples Fund. 1 2


The Manitou Fund was founded by Minnesota real estate magnate Donald McNeely in the 1960s and was funded with $1 billion from his estate after he died in 2009. McNeely was a prominent businessman in Minnesota who co-owned the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins, and retired to Pebble Beach, California. During McNeely’s lifetime, he funded a variety of organizations in the arts, providing gifts to name several facilities and programs after his aunt, Rose Warner, and his wife, Marjorie McNeely. 3

Projects funded by McNeely during his lifetime through the Manitou Fund and other means included the Rose Warner Writing Center and the Rose Warner Science Lab at the College of St. Scholastica, the Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, the Marjorie McNeely Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Marjorie McNeely Fund for the Blind or Illiterate in Monterey County, California. Other recipients of his giving included Catholic Charities, Como Friends, Guthrie Theater, the McNeely Foundation, the YMCA, and Yale University. 4

Donald McNeely worked for the family real estate business founded by his father, and several other members of the family are active in philanthropy. The family owns several large-scale commercial warehousing facilities throughout the Midwest called the Space Center. The McNeely family also operates the McNeely Foundation. 5


The Manitou Fund has also purchased property in addition to its grantmaking. In 2023, the fund purchased the financially troubled Zephyr Theater in Stillwater, Minnesota, and announced plans to take over lease negotiations for the facility. The fund also purchased the 600-acre Wilder Forest property in Washington County, Minnesota for preservation after plans for a Catholic youth camp fell through. 6 7


Oliver Din is the president and chief executive officer of the Manitou Fund and receives $700,000 in annual compensation. According to the Minnesota Tribune, little is known about Oliver Din as he has declined to divulge much about his own background, and little is available on the internet. The Tribune stated that Din “said he had experience in business and finance without naming any employers, and he wouldn’t say where he lives or why he came to the United States (other than for a job) after obtaining a degree in Toronto. Though records show that he owns a modest house in Kansas, he said he doesn’t live there and plans to buy a house in Minnesota.” Din has also declined to say how he met the McNeely family. 8

Grantmaking Activity

The Manitou Fund provides grants to a variety of left-of-center organizations with an emphasis on environmental issues and Native American groups. Grantees include the American Indian Family Center, American Rivers, Homeboy Industries, Human Rights Watch, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Ocean Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. 9


  1. Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). Manitou Fund. 2022.
  2. “Manitou Fund.” Access Philanthropy. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  3. “Donald McNeely.” Minnesota Star Tribune. 2009. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  4. “Donald McNeely.” Minnesota Star Tribune. 2009. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  5. “Manitou Fund rises near the top of Minnesota foundations.” Minnesota Star Tribune. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  6. “Manitou Fund announces plans to purchase Stillwater’s troubled Zephyr Theatre.” Pioneer Press. April 12, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  7. “Wilder Forest land sold to local foundation after Catholic youth camp plan falls apart.” Pioneer Press. October 2, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  8. “Manitou Fund.” Access Philanthropy. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  9. Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). Manitou Fund. 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1966

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $999,956,444 $511,962 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $984,047,898 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $42,551,594 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $31,837,404 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $34,756,870 $3,752 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $30,463,746 $2,610 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $29,314,284 $2,560 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Manitou Fund

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