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About Bremer

The Otto Bremer Foundation: Doing well by doing good

“To serve our clients, we must also serve their communities”
— Otto Bremer, founder


Our founder
Bremer’s community commitment begins with our founder, Otto Bremer, who immigrated to America with the dream of doing well by doing good. Mr. Bremer did well, becoming a prominent St. Paul banker, business leader, and public servant. He found the opportunity to do good during the Depression, using his own money and resources to save community banks from failure.

In 1944, Mr. Bremer took another bold step. To ensure that the legacy of community banking would endure beyond his lifetime, he transferred ownership of his holdings to the Otto Bremer Foundation, a nonprofit charitable trust. This far-sighted act ensured that a significant portion of the banks’ earnings would be reinvested in communities.


Our foundation
Today, the Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer’s holdings, and Bremer employees own the remaining eight percent. It’s a unique ownership structure that empowers employees to think beyond financial services to the needs of their communities where they live and work. It fosters accountability, long-range vision, and innovation. And because company profits are distributed by the foundation in the form of charitable grants within the communities we serve, it builds on what is best for the mutual benefit of our clients, communities and employees. It also means that Bremer will never be acquired.
Otto Headshot 


See the Otto Bremer Foundation in action!
Grants and good works are building stronger communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.