October 20, 2014
Today on the blog we welcome MCF member Kayla Yang-Best of Bush Foundation, who will share what she learned from a recent event about Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thank you, Kayla!
I had the great pleasure of attending a presentation and panel discussion on Historically Black Universities and Colleges this past week. The presentation was part a larger convening hosted by the Center for School Change on “Learning and Teaching with Fire: Lessons from HBCUs and Tribal Colleges.” What an invigorating discussion – one well participated by community leaders and people from a wide range of organizations and sectors, including K12 and policymakers.
We heard many examples of students of color who are succeeding in postsecondary education. I’d like to focus on a couple examples from HBCUs that left an impression on me:
- HBCUs retain and graduate low-income, academically under-prepared students at higher rates than non-HBCUs.
- 40 percent of Black students with degrees in STEM graduated from an HBCU.
What accounts for this success? Dr. Brian Bridges of the United Negro College Fund, one of the speakers, attributed it to “a culture of experimentation” – where HBCUs are doing things differently and intentionally. He highlighted several practices, including:
- High level of student/faculty engagement
- Proactive advising
- Promoting culture and a high level of self-identity and
- Setting high expectations.
He concluded his talk by saying “these strategies can be adapted to all education levels and settings.”
At the core of these practices is connecting to culture, that in turn creates a high level of self-identity, belonging and relationship that the kids desperately need. A good illustration of that came from the audience, a young black man, who stood up and said that he has often been told his history starts with slavery. And that is a very negative foundation to identify with. In his words, “what about before slavery? There is more to me and who I am.”
I was really moved and energized coming out of that convening. Besides learning about the great results of the practices of HBCUs and Tribal Colleges, the convening presented a positive and asset-based narrative about kids of color and achievement, which we don’t hear enough about.
Thank you to the Center for School Change for the convening.
October 16, 2014
Is your organization creating change around the issues of bullying, school support, and/or cultural restoration within the education system? Youthprise wants to know! It’s teaming up with Youth Diverse Union for its annual video contest.
The directions for nonprofits are simple:
- Create a video that shows how your organization creates their own change.
- Upload the video to a video sharing website like YouTube or Vimeo
- Email in the link to your video and photo/video release by November 4.
Videos should be original content and no longer than three minutes, with parental permission required for videos featuring children 13 years old or younger.
After the contest closes on November 4, Youthprise staff and a panel of youth will judge the video entries to determine the winner. That winner will be announced on November 13 at the YDU Block Party and on Youthprise social networks.
Prizes include cash for three grand prize winners and seven runners-up, plus the opportunity to be featured in YDU’s campaign for education reform.
Visit Youthprise’s website for all the details. Good luck!
October 15, 2014
Construction at MCF’s soon-to-be new home is coming along quickly! Things are going so well that we’ve bumped up our move-in date. You’ll find us in the Tractorworks building starting on December 1. (Remember, that’s in the North Loop at 800 Washington Avenue North.)
While the construction crews do their work, we are plotting out how things will look inside. One project includes scanning a bunch of old photos and soliciting new ones from members in order to create a mosaic of Minnesota’s philanthropic community that will greet you when you come in. We can’t wait to show you the finished product!
We also have several capital project sponsorship opportunities available, that offer members the chance to help us make our space the best it can be. We’re very grateful that these are getting picked up quickly, with two still available:
- Kitchen Break Room: A place to start and continue conversations before and after programs or gather for a quick meeting or a casual meal.
- Huddle Spaces (2 available): Two cozy conversational seating areas will provide the perfect locations for staff and members to easily work together or have a private talk.
If you’re interested in a sponsorship, contact Maria Salas.
Stay tuned for future updates and the grand unveiling!
October 8, 2014
MCF member Greater Twin Cities United Way has announced it is now accepting proposals in its Helping Children Succeed impact area.
United Way hopes to create a community of nonprofit partners making lasting impact for children and youth in the nine-county metro area by investing almost $13 million in Community Impact grants annually. This group of organizations will work together with community and thought leaders throughout the region to make sure every child in this community is prepared for success in school and in life.
The Request for Proposals is available now and due on Friday, November 7. Over the course of the following months, United Way staff and volunteer experts will review the proposals and conduct site visits to get a deep understanding of each program’s practices, successes, and potential for effective change. Funding decisions will be announced in March of next year with the expectation that each three year grant will begin on July 1, 2015.
Visit United Way’s website for the most up-to-date information about the RFP, including the FAQ.
October 7, 2014
The newest episode of MCF’s Fast Forward podcast featuring big thinkers in philanthropy is up!
In this episode, Alfonso Wenker sits down with Chris Cardona of TCC Group. They kick off their discussion with the three levels of accessible philanthropy Chris has seen grantmakers employ:
- Consult stakeholders about their decisions
- Integrate these communities into the decision-making process
- Get community involvement in the initial design process
The two go on to discuss the best entry point into this culture of accessibility, getting buy-in from leadership, and why equity and inclusion are such important concepts in discussions about diversity.
Listen to the podcast now! Then subscribe on iTunes or plug the RSS feed into the program of your choice.
Grantmakers, if you like what you hear, be sure to join us October 31 for Today’s Realities | Tomorrow’s Opportunities, MCF’s annual conference. Chris Cardona is one of the several prominent local and national speakers you’ll interact with throughout the day!
September 30, 2014
Are you involved with an organization that seeks to improve early childhood nutrition in the Twin Cities metro area?
The Cargill Foundation is accepting applications for one-time planning grants of up to $25,000 and one-time implementation grants of up to $100,000 for programs that advance early childhood nutrition through parent engagement, staff training initiatives, nutrition curricula, and increasing the availability of low-cost, nutritious food.
Last year, the Cargill Foundation awarded more than $1.5 million in the form of 17 grants to various organizations. The planning grants are an excellent way to explore new and innovative ideas in tackling the issue of early childhood nutrition. The implementation grants will go to support thoroughly planned programs that are ready to make the leap and impact local communities.
Proposals of interest should include one of the two priorities: developing or delivering hands-on nutrition education programs, and retaining or increasing participation among childcare providers in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Check out the Cargill Foundation grant guidelines for full details.
Programs in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties are eligible. The application window is open from Oct. 1 to Nov. 14.
September 26, 2014
Kate Wolford of The McKnight Foundation
MCF member The McKnight Foundation is getting ready to revisit and refresh its Strategic Framework for 2015-2017, and is asking for outside perspectives as it charts its course.
In a blog post on its website, McKnight president Kate Wolford outlines the key foundation-wide strategies the foundation used to guide its work in 2012-2014:
- Bring the foundation’s vantage point as a regional or place-based funder into national networks.
- Strengthen McKnight’s influence with a knowledge management system.
- Leveraging converging interests to create multiple bottom-line benefits.
- Deepen impact and influence through program supportive approaches such as mission-related investing.
She shares that the internal consensus at The McKnight Foundation is not to start from scratch, but to identify trends relevant to McKnight’s that it can incorporate over the coming three years.
Do you have thoughts on what key trends McKnight should consider? Or on what issues the foundation will be particularly well suited to help advance?
Head over to The McKnight Foundation’s website to read more on Kate Wolford’s description of how its current Framework came to be, and to leave the foundation feedback in a comment or by email.