MCF Seeks Program Assistant

April 17, 2014

helpMCF is hiring again! Our Program Strategy team seeks a dynamic and motivated individual to fill a new position.

In this highly visible and fast-paced role, the Program Assistant:

  • Serves as the first point of contact for many of MCF’s committees, networks and task forces by preparing correspondence, arranging conference calls, scheduling meetings, creating and disseminating minutes.
  • Takes initiative in providing timely and effective administrative support to the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Director of Member Services and the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations.
  • Supports MCF’s program operations, including database and technological support.
  • Prioritizes and manage multiple projects simultaneously, and follows through on issues in a timely manner to ensure program directors achieve strategic goals.
  • Provides strategic insight during development of Council programs and activities to eliminate duplication of efforts and ensure quality program delivery.

Selection criteria for this position include:

  • Outstanding verbal and written skills on the phone, in email and in person.
  • Warm and welcoming presence; commitment to hospitality and customer service.
  • Strategic, critical thinker with an insatiable curiosity about finding creative solutions.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.

And required experience includes:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent and a minimum of five years of administrative assistant experience, including executive assistant level responsibilities, direct customer service support and reception or a two-year degree in administrative assistance and two years of experience.
  • Well-developed verbal and written communication skills.
  • Tech savvy with proficiency with current office technology
  • Experience managing event logistics.
  • Experience managing committees.
  • Previous nonprofit, philanthropic or membership association work experience.

See the full job description on our website, and help us spread the word! Applications are due May 9.

Photo cc Matt Wetzler

Twins, MLB Open All-Star Grant Initiative

April 16, 2014

480_fans_chooseWith the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game coming to the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Twins and MLB announced they are creating the first “All-Star Fans Choose” grant initiative, which will award $500,000 to a nonprofit in the Upper Midwest for a capital project to benefit its community.

Nonprofits in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin may apply now through May 23.

Five finalists will be determined by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from MLB before the fans can vote for their favorite project from June 10 to July 10. The judges will determine the final five 501(c)(3) nonprofit projects based on these criteria:

  • Impact on community
  • Scope
  • Timeline,
  • Environmental improvement and sustainable design
  • Quality of application

The program is the first of its kind, and will be one of several community outreach projects leading up to the All-Star Game on July 15. In recent years, the Midsummer Classic has annually brought roughly $5 million to local charities.

“The All-Star Fans Choose grant initiative is one of the most unique community efforts that Major League Baseball has ever put in place for the Midsummer Classic,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “This program will be an important element of our All-Star summer efforts and will help us leave a lasting legacy in the communities of the Twin Cities.”

Read more and access the application at the All-Star Fans Choose Grant Program webpage, and stay tuned for other projects to be announced in the coming months.

Good luck to those applying!


Inspiration, Renewed Commitments at the Ambassador Awards

April 10, 2014
The Saint Paul Foundation's Carleen Rhodes with this year's Ambassador Awards honorees.

Minnesota Philanthropy Partners’ Carleen Rhodes with this year’s Ambassador Awards honorees.

On April 7, The Saint Paul Foundation held its annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards. The purpose of this event is to honor “…individuals working to build communities where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.”

This year, over 500 people came out to celebrate and honor this work. It was fantastic to see such a multi-generational crowd. Attendees included youth, elected officials, and those from the nonprofit, philanthropic, education, business, and government sectors.

Carleen Rhodes and Rowzat Shipchandler opened the event with an overview of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners’ renewed commitment to racial equity including the racial equity framework. This framework will promote racial equity through the various roles of the foundation: as community participants, economic entities, funders, employers, fundraisers, and leaders.

People were nominated from all across the state. This year, there were two Ambassador Award recipients, Jada Sherrie Mitchell and Justin Terrell, and three Honorable Mention recipients, Jennifer Godinez, Bukata Hayes and Dr. Cecilia Martinez. The Ambassador Award winners each received a $10,000 grant and the Honorable Mention winners each received a $1,000 grant that they may present to the nonprofit of their choice.

Award winning local photographer, Wing Young Huie, was the keynote speaker. He asked questions such as “How much does society shape ideas of who we are,” “Who gets to say who is a Minnesotan,” “When are we different and when are we the same,” and “Are we aware of our subconscious assumptions?” He demonstrated the power of the media across space and time, showing how some reactions to one photo were strongly influenced by images and assumptions from the Vietnam War many decades earlier.

It was a wonderful night of greeting old friends and meeting new ones, building the beloved community, and renewing personal commitments to advance this work.

- Jennifer Pennington, MCF member services fellow


Apply Now for the 2014 Bush Prize

April 9, 2014

Bush-AltLogo-ColorYesterday, the Bush Foundation announced it has opened applications for its 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. This prize honors and supports innovative organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. The Bush Prize provides creative capital for the organizations to use however they choose.

Open to public charities and government entities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations that share the same geography, selection criteria for the Bush Prize include:

  • Does the organization have a pattern of innovative solutions?
  • Does the organization have a pattern of using inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes?
  • Does the organizational leadership foster a culture of innovation?
  • Is the organization stable and strong in terms of governance and finance?

Applications are due June 5. Finalists will be chosen in July, with site visits in August and September. Winners will be selected in November, with funds dispersed in December.

Prize winners receive a package of recognition, along with a flexible grant of 25% of the organization’s last fiscal year budget, up to $500,000. See the stories of the nine winners from 2013.

Visit the Bush Foundation’s website for all the details and to access the online application. Best of luck to those applying!

 


C.H. Robinson Honored for Workplace Giving

April 7, 2014

chEarlier this month, MCF member C.H. Robinson received the Community Impact Award in the Workplace Giving Campaign category from Minnesota Business magazine. The honor recognizes a successful volunteer or employee-giving campaign benefiting any non-profit or other worthy organization.

This is the second year in a row that Minnesota Business has recognized C.H. Robinson in the Workplace Giving Campaign category in recognition of various employee volunteer campaigns that the company facilitates. This year, C.H. Robinson was presented the award for the company’s 14 years of support and dedication to the MinnDakotas chapter of JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research.

Each year, C.H. Robinson’s employees gather at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN to participate in the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes. What began as a small group of employees who participated in the Walk in 2001, has now grown to 645 Team Robinson walkers who participated in this year’s walk.

“We are proud of the work our employees do to make C.H. Robinson a great company,” said Angie Freeman, vice president of human resources at C.H. Robinson. “Awards like this are a reminder that giving back is embedded in our company culture and that the same ingenuity and hard work that help us succeed as a company, also help make our communities better places to live and work.”

Learn More About Corporate Giving

Corporate giving often extends beyond giving grants. Noncash charitable contributions include employee volunteer time such as this and donated goods and services. To learn more about Minnesota’s corporate giving landscape, see our January blog post, and our Giving in Minnesota and Grantmaker Rankings research.

Congratulations to C.H. Robinson!


MCF Welcomes New Member Foundation for Essential Needs

April 2, 2014

ffenPublic charity Foundation for Essential Needs (FFEN) is the latest grantmaker to become a member of MCF!

FFEN was founded what a belief that it is a fundamental responsibility of our society to ensure that basic human needs are met for each and every person. FFEN has a unique approach to fulfillment of these human needs by providing financial and professional service support to the organizations that deliver basic human services on a daily basis.

Services provided by FFEN include:

  • Service grants
  • Project specific monetary grants
  • Grant writing consultation
  • Emergency assistance grants
  • Training and education

Information about FFEN’s 2014 grant cycle will be available in June. Visit its website to learn more and stay up to date.

Welcome!


Funders Seek Common Ground for Better Food for All

March 28, 2014

5547966268_4e1d1caf65_mToday on the blog we welcome, Kristine Igo, associate director for the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota and a core group member of MCF’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities Funders Network. She tells us about what the network is up to, and invites other funders to its upcoming gathering.

The conversation about local, regional, national and global food systems is growing, and taking place in small communities and urban centers, research and health institutions, big business and local markets.

Nowhere is this more evident than within the philanthropic community, where grantmakers across the country and here in Minnesota are coming together to create alliances and partnerships to support a fair and healthy food future. Philanthropy has long cared about issues of hunger. Today, with the increased commitment to having an impact, that caring has logically moved to broader and more systemic and strategic approaches that require cross-sector collaboration.

It’s amazing how many of the issues funders care about can be connected back to some aspect of the food system. Educational outcomes? Poor nutrition impacts learning ability and concentration. Renewable energy? Small and mid-size farmers are first adopters to renewable energy opportunities including wind and solar to offset farm costs and increase revenues. Community and economic development? Entrepreneurship and small business opportunities abound in urban and rural landscapes as new food businesses and infrastructure are developed to fill the gap between suppliers and consumers.

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities Funders Network has sought engagement with grantmaking partners from across the state to work together to improve the health of our environment and reduce economic and health disparities. Similarly, grantmaker networks in other regions have taken up the issue and are bringing food-related issues to a broader spotlight in the field.

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers has started a wonderful series on their blog “THE ‘almost’ DAILY WRAG” called “What Funders Need to Know: The Food System”. They will be periodically highlighting various aspects of the food system and sharing examples of work being done and opportunities for funder investment. One wonderful resource they’ve produced so far is this issue brief that summarizes some of what’s been learned through the work of the Washington Regional Convergence Partnership, a project of WRAG.

It’s been exciting to work together with other funders to build a shared agenda around improving our food system, and gratifying to see large and small, private and corporate, state and local government, and other public agencies and institutions engage in critical conversations around developing innovative funding solutions to food system challenges. We have big plans and hope every interested funder will find some common ground with us. To explore what impact your funding organization could have, join us on April 7, 2014 from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for the MCF Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities Funders Network Convening at Northwest Area Foundation.

P.S. Of course the food will be good food!

Photo cc justanotherhuman


Putting “My Brother’s Keeper” to Work in Minnesota

March 27, 2014
mbk

Attendees watched clips from President Obama’s speech and heard from those who were there.

On March 25, MCF convened a group of Minnesota foundations and elected officials to provide information on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and identify next steps for how Minnesota can coordinate efforts.

My Brother’s Keeper is aimed at helping boys and young men of color by addressing the disproportionate ways they are at risk. Read more about it on this February 28 MCF blog post.

Trista Harris, president of MCF, David Nicholson, executive director of Headwaters Foundation for Justice, and Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, were all guests of the White House when Obama formally announced My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and they each provided a recap of the event and the urgency and importance of engaging in this work. Mayor Coleman said, “This is the most important work that any of us in this room will ever do.”

David Nicholson stressed that this should be a cross-sector, bottom-up movement. Community solutions that demonstrate positive outcomes should be valued, invested in, and scaled up.

Trista Harris spoke about coordinating efforts, identifying local programs that work and investing in them to scale up, and the importance of public policy to address comprehensive systems change.

Mayor Coleman gave examples of how cities can change their policies and procedures so that low-income neighborhoods are not adversely impacted. For example, St. Paul Public Works would change street light bulbs on a complaint basis. However, not everyone knows who to call to get a street light fixed, and sometimes street lights weren’t getting fixed for two years. The city changed its policy so that light bulbs are changed every two years, approximately the life of a street light bulb. There are numerous ways that government can review policies and procedures to ensure there is equity across government services.

Alfonso Wenker, MCF’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, facilitated World Cafe discussions about what next steps to take. Participants completed pledge forms on how to support efforts.

MCF will provide ongoing information on the federal effort and the opportunities to connect with it. As Trista Harris said, “We have a lot of great local programs that work, and if we coordinate efforts, we can make a big impact. We’re always so much smarter together.”

- Jennifer Pennington and Tiffany Wilson-Worsley, MCF Fellows


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