EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute Launches Year Two

April 7, 2015

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 1.21.50 PMThe Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Minnesota are partnering to once again offer a unique, no-cost cohort experience that brings together young nonprofit and foundation professionals for shared learning. This opportunity is perfect for young people ready to explore the big career questions while participating in skill swapping and network weaving.

Emerging leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors who are looking for a “community of practice” to establish a peer support system should apply. The groups seek a diverse mix of twenty-four 20- and 30-somethings. Applicants must be a member of either organization.

What will the program include?

  • Monthly two-hour evening sessions
  • The option to attend exciting community events each month with other participants
  • Mentoring circles for small group connections and support
  • The opportunity to help design and facilitate a monthly session based on your interests
  • Selected readings, personal challenges, and reflective exercises between sessions

Benefits to participants

  • Expand your network among local nonprofit and philanthropic professionals.
  • Practice useful habits of reflection to address questions about your life, leadership and career.
  • Build facilitation, presentation and collaboration skills by sharing around a topic of your choice.
  • Conduct a career refresh or re-charge in a supportive and accountable environment.

Read about the experience of last year’s cohort in the Summer 2014 issue of Giving Forum.

Applications are due April 30. To learn more, nominate your colleagues, or apply, visit YNPN-TC’s website for details.


It’s All About Relationships

February 3, 2015
McKinley_Fellows_Dec_2014_by_Anna_Min_of_Min_Enterprises_Photography_LLC__19_of_28__small

Allison Johnson

Today we welcome Allison Johnson, one of our new Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows, who works at Headwaters Foundation for Justice and shares her thoughts on the recent MCF annual meeting.

Many of us had the opportunity to hear Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, speak at the recent MCF annual meeting. Ruesga’s central message to Minnesota’s philanthropic leaders was that the work of philanthropy is all about relationships. As a community organizer and a new Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow at Headwaters Foundation for Justice, his theme was music to my ears. And sometimes it takes a foundation executive from Louisiana to come to Minnesota in January and tell it like it is.

Albert Ruesga

Albert Ruesga

His presentation showed that many foundations publicly state that they value relationships with peer organizations, their grantees and the communities their grantees serve. At the same time, relationships and the time it takes to foster and maintain them are not often prioritized. How could this be, I wondered, in a progressive-minded state like ours with a strong reputation of working together to achieve the common good?

Ruesga hypothesized that our “Minnesota nice” culture, and even our long winters spent in isolation, might get in the way of making progress together on difficult social issues. We spent time during the meeting offering ideas of why relationships aren’t prioritized: lack of time, leadership changes at the top, competition among foundations to take credit for the work, among others.

One suggestion from the crowd stuck out to me as the most troubling. Someone in the audience offered up the idea that we don’t know how to listen to our grantees, and when we do listen, they may say things we don’t want to hear. Ruesga writes in his “Twenty Five Theses About Foundations” blog post that the biggest challenge to authentic relationship building in philanthropy is that foundations generally do not know how to relate to people and communities they aim to serve.

That assertion stings, right? We’re doing such great work, and yet we have much farther to go. We have so much to learn and gain from building relationships, particularly with people outside the sector of philanthropy who rely on our work to make theirs possible. For example, collaboration among grantees leads to better understanding of mutual issues and trends.

This fall, Headwaters Foundation for Justice will host a summit of our grantees to highlight common themes in the work for racial, economic, environmental and social justice in Minnesota. Hearing directly from our grantees who are leading efforts to engage their  communities in systems-change work will help Headwaters live up to the value of “Do Nothing About Me Without Me” that is at the heart of our grantmaking.

I walked away from the MCF annual meeting challenged and energized to bring my own expertise in relationship-based community organizing to my foundation and to my new peers in this field. It’s my hope that all of us can think of one person, one grantee or one foundation with whom to connect with in the coming year to move the work forward in a relational and transformational way.

– Allison Johnson, 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow


Funder Collaboratives Changing Philanthropy as Usual

November 17, 2014
Bill English of the Northside Job Creation Team

Bill English of the Northside Job Creation Team

MCF’s latest edition of Giving Forum is out now! This issue’s feature story focuses on the Northside Funders Group and the Start Early Funders Coalition for Children & Minnesota’s Future, two funder collaboratives sharing information and resources to make a bigger difference in their work.

Northside Funders Group

Tawanna Black of Northside Funders Group shares how the funders working in North Minneapolis embraced FSG’s collective impact model, the first place-based funder collaborative in the country to do so.

“In North Minneapolis in particular, we felt it was critical to have public sector dollars and strategies aligned with philanthropy to get the impact we want,” says Black.

Denise Mayotte and Frank Forsberg

Denise Mayotte and Frank Forsberg

Start Early Funders Coalition for Children & Minnesota’s Future

Frank Forsberg and Denise Mayotte, co-chairs of the Start Early coalition, then explain how the funders in this group decided to come together in 2011 to create a shared vision on moving early childhood efforts forward in Minnesota. Their efforts have resulted in the creation of MinneMinds,a statewide campaign to increase public funding for access to high-quality early care and education programs.

“This is so important because it’s the first meaningful new investment in early childhood education at the state level in 15 to 20 years,” says Forsberg. “And it was only possible because so many partners came together to make a unified ask of the legislature.”

Read On!

When you’ve finished that article, check out the rest of the new issue, with stories on MCF’s new member types, how we’re building philanthropy’s new living room, highlights from our recent Fast Forward interview, and much more!


Are We Really Working Together to Solve Problems?

September 9, 2014

4025619497_cc11ffd64a_zWe’re all working to solve grand challenges – they’re complex, entrenched, systems-level problems that defy typical solutions.

Again and again we hear that the only way we’ll make a difference on these issues is if we collaborate with folks from other sectors who bring perspectives different from our own.

We know that single-sector actions to address them, although well-intentioned, often make the problems worse or spawn additional grand challenges.

So, why don’t we collaborate more often? Sure, it’s hard work and first we have to grapple with all of our different views to create a shared vision for reform. But if we’re not willing to do that, are we really working to solve the problem?

If you struggle with questions such as this, we want to see you at MCF’s program on Thursday, Sept. 18: Funder Collaboratives: The Why and How of Scaling Grantmaker Impact.

  • We’ll discuss various structures that grantmakers use for collaborative work,
  • consider when it makes sense to join a learning network or funder collaborative and
  • determine which model is the best fit for your organization.

You’ll hear from grantmakers involved in successful funder collaboratives — including the Northside Funders Group and the Start Early Funders Coalition for Children & Minnesota’s Future — on what it takes to effectively come together for a common purpose and change the way we work.

This program is intended for grantmakers who are currently engaged in collaborations who can enrich our discussion and funders who are interested in collaboration but have not yet joined a formal network. Register today and we’ll see you next Thursday!

 

Photo cc edlabdesigner

Young Leadership Cohort Busts Down Barriers

August 20, 2014

11gfOdds are you’ve heard a lot about the need for grantmakers and nonprofit professionals to set aside the power dynamics that hold back their relationships and to come together as peers to address needs in their communities. If you’ve worried that’s just lip service to a never-changing problem, good news! Young people in the sector have taken up that call to forge deep relationships and work closely together.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network unveiled a joint Leadership Institute. The inaugural cohort contains 24 individuals, with an even mix of those who work at nonprofits and foundations, including many MCF members (and staff!).

With a focus on accessibility (no cost to participate) and co-creation (members of the cohort lead sessions), the Institute is a unique opportunity that models best practices we want to see from the sector.

Learn more about it in the article I wrote for the summer issue of Giving Forum!

– Chris Oien, MCF digital communications specialist


Take a Virtual Coffee Break!

July 29, 2014

gcftPhilanthropy – we need each other to do it well, and it’s imperative that we make time to share stories, compare notes and answer questions. My favorite way to engage is over coffee or lunch, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes online advice – I call it a virtual coffee break – will do.

I know GrantCraft for their excellent guides, and I’ve used many of them in my work. The site has now been completely reorganized, making lots of great content much easier to locate and use. They’ve also made it easier to find out what other grantmakers have got brewing and to contribute your own lessons learned.

Maybe you’re working on an initiative that’s new to your community but has taken off elsewhere, or you have a burning question that you’d like a lot of people to weigh in on right now. Those are a couple of the reasons I’m hoping that GrantCraft’s new features really take off.

I encourage you to take a fresh look at the site, share your wisdom and comment on the questions asked by others. All of the discussions on the site are searchable and will be archived. Today when I checked, there were funders wondering how others help grantees beyond grants, how grantmakers help grantees find new money, challenges that arise when collaborating with other funders and how your organization structures challenge grants. These are all questions that I know many of our MCF members can help answer for other grantmakers.

Every success I have had in this field has been because of connections I’ve made and people I’ve met. GrantCraft now provides us a virtual opportunity to widen our networks and learn from grantmakers we haven’t yet met. If we take advantage of it, we’ll each improve our own practice, and we’ll better the field of philanthropy together. Let’s use it to stimulate real results!

Trista Harris, MCF president



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,362 other followers