The Rochester Startup Part Five: Rochester Area Foundation

This series is in partnership with Ambient House Productions, a Rochester based full service video production company specializing in high quality corporate, commercial, & promotional videos.


On our next stop on the tour of Rochester coworking facilities, we visit Rochester Area Foundation.


Name: Rochester Area Foundation

Location: 12 Elton Hills Drive NW

Parking Available: Yes

Contact Person: Jane Angelone

Social Accounts: Facebook @RochesterArea, Twitter @RochesterArea, Instagram @rochesterarea

Current Tenants: Community Dental Care, Jeremiah Program, Official Love, Minnesota State Quality Council, Fare Share Ride Service, Brighter Tomorrows, and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Rochester Area Foundation was established in 1944 by Harry Harwick to assist the in-need population in Rochester through philanthropy and community partnerships. Rochester Area Foundation is built on the pillars of integrity, inclusion, innovation, collaboration, and stewardship.

To continue with this mission, a ~1500 square foot incubator space specifically for nonprofits was opened in the Rochester Area Foundation building in 2016. Emerging nonprofits, which have not yet obtained their 501(c)3, can receive free desk space in the incubator for six months. After this time, they can extend their lease for $145/month. Space in the nonprofit incubator includes a 124-square foot cubicle with a desk, chair, and file cabinet. Tenants have 24/7 secure access to the space, including Wi-Fi and use of a large and small conference space. Rochester Area Foundation also holds regular educational and technical assistance workshops.

Five spots are currently available in the nonprofit incubator. Although the incubator seats twelve emerging companies, Communications Manager Carrie Moscho estimates that Rochester Area Foundation is in communication with over forty local, emerging nonprofits.    

Rochester Area Foundation is unique because it’s “solely for nonprofits,” Moscho explained. “We want to see people graduate out of the space and become self-sustaining. We want to see a high level of turnover because that means the nonprofits have been successful.”

Moscho says that lack of funding has limited the growth of nonprofits in the Rochester area, with most funds from large donors, such as Bremer Trust and the Bush Foundation, primarily funneling towards the Twin Cities. She says there’s a robust nonprofit ecosystem in Rochester because of Mayo Clinic but that also creates a scarcity of resources.

“As Rochester becomes more recognized, more funding for nonprofits will become available. …We need to create more layers of support,” Moscho explained.   

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