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


Learn About Becoming a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow

July 28, 2014

Ron-McKinley-Philanthropy_FINAL_outlines_RGB-(2)MCF’s Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship, which we opened applications for earlier this month, will prepare individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. But the fellowship is about more than changing the face of leadership in philanthropy; it’s about infusing new ideas and viewpoints into the field.

Are you interested in applying to be a Ron McKinley Philanthropy fellow? Do you have questions about the application process?

Join Alfonso Wenker, MCF director of diversity, equity and inclusion, for a short informational webinar about the process and the program on Thursday, August 7, at 3 p.m. Alfonso will provide a high-level overview of the program and take questions from participants.

And for a look at what the 2014 Philanthropy Fellows are up to, don’t miss MCF’s new issue of Giving Forum, online and in your mailbox now. We caught up with Venessa Fuentes and Dameun Strange and asked them about their responsibilities and how they’re helping effect positive community change. Read about their experiences, then join our webinar to see what the fellowship would mean for you!


What’s Your Verb?

July 15, 2014
Jennifer Ford Reedy addressing the YNPN National Conference

Jennifer Ford Reedy addressing the YNPN National Conference

A couple of weeks ago, the national conference of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network came to Minneapolis. As a board member of the local chapter, I was thrilled to see so many young leaders from around the country in town and for them to hear Jennifer Ford Reedy of the Bush Foundation during day two’s opening keynote.

One insight from Reedy’s keynote in particular has been sticking with me and others who attended. It came during her description of her career path and how she figured out what her dream job was. A lot of her career, she said, involved doing a good job and seeing what new opportunities emerged, but there was a pivotal moment — involving deep thinking and visualizing her dream job — that got her to where she is today.

That moment came with a question from a CEO she’d been working with. The question wasn’t, “What’s your dream job?” Instead the CEO asked, “Can we fund you to be you and keep doing what you’re doing in the community?” Reedy knew that wasn’t feasible and that she’d need to have a platform and a place to belong. But it did get her thinking, “What do I want to do? Not what job do I want, but what is the verb in my life?”

She thought about what she was good at, what she enjoyed doing and the impact she wanted to have. From there she considered organizations she could be a part of that would allow her to do that. That frame of mind allowed her to make conscious choices that led her to Bush Foundation.

Reedy’s story demonstrated that the familiar question about someone’s dream job might have it backwards. The most important thing to know is what you’ll be happy doing. The best place to do it flows from there, not vice versa. So what about it, what’s your verb?

Watch Reedy’s full keynote and Q&A session from the conference below:

- Chris Oien, MCF digital communications specialist


Applications Open for the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship

July 8, 2014

Ron-McKinley-Philanthropy_FINAL_outlines_RGB-(2)MCF is pleased to open applications for the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship (formerly the MCF Philanthropy Fellowship).

The fellowship is dedicated to Ron McKinley, a longtime member of the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. He was a mentor to many and an advocate who embodied justice and equity. He worked tirelessly throughout his career to ensure that all those underrepresented in these communities were afforded equal access, opportunity and the resources necessary to fully participate and be heard.

Ron McKinley

Ron McKinley

The fellowship, which was launched as a partnership with MCF and the Bush Foundation in 2013, will prepare individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. But the fellowship is about more than changing the face of leadership in philanthropy; it’s about infusing new ideas and viewpoints into the field.

Fellows will be employed by MCF and placed in full-time positions at host foundations for three-year appointments.

If you know high-potential leaders who will push themselves and their host foundations to think bigger and think differently, encourage them to apply!

We’re also on the lookout for foundations interested in hosting additional Fellows. Information about that can be also be found on our website.


Fast Forward: Gary Cunningham

June 24, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 12.09.07 PMThe third episode of Fast Forward, MCF’s series of conversations with philanthropy’s big thinkers, is out now!

This time, MCF President Trista Harris sits down with Gary Cunningham, vice president of programs for Northwest Area Foundation.

Gary discusses his recent article The Urgency of Now: Foundations’ Role in Ending Racial Inequity and what other grantmakers can take from it. Watch the video below:

In the extended video captured in our transcript, Gary also talks about his role in the African American Leadership Forum and the importance of communities organizing and speaking on their own behalf with a unified voice. Read the transcript on our website.

Catch the whole series on the Fast Forward homepage, and stay tuned for next month, featuring Trish Tchume of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network!


Fast Forward: Phil Buchanan on Effective Practice in Philanthropy

May 27, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 12.09.07 PMThe newest edition of MCF’s Fast Forward series is out!

In this episode, our president Trista Harris speaks with Phil Buchanan, president of The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP). CEP is a nonprofit that helps foundations assess and improve their effectiveness and performance. Phil identifies the four components to effective practice as:

  • Clear goals
  • Coherent strategies
  • Disciplined implementation
  • Relevant performance indicators

Phil and Trista discuss the challenges foundations face in receiving honest feedback, tools CEP has developed to address those challenges, and his advice to foundations interested in becoming more effective organizations:

Read the transcript of the interview on our website, then stop by the Fast Forward main page to catch last month’s interview with Margaret A. Cargill Foundation’s Mark Lindberg if you missed it!

 

 


Nexus Community Partners Opens BCLI Applications

May 14, 2014
BCLI '14 alumni

BCLI ’14 alumni

This week, MCF member Nexus Community Partners announced it has opened applications for its Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), a seven month leadership program that supports, trains and places people of color and other underrepresented community members on publicly appointed boards and commissions that influence and impact equity in the Twin Cities.

Benefits to BCLI fellows include:

  • Joining a network of racial equity and social justice advocates influencing policy decisions on local and regional commissions.
  • Gaining integrated perspectives on key local and regional racial equity and social justice issues: economic development, health equity, affordable housing, transit, and workforce development.
  • Participating in a facilitated learning community of trainers, advocate commissioners and elected officials who share best practices, lessons learned, and key concepts.
  • Learning commission skills like Parliamentary Procedure, media messaging, and municipal budgeting.

Nominations are due July 18. Several information sessions about the program are available May 29 through June 19. More information and the nomination packet are available on the Nexus Community Partners website.

Good luck to those being nominated!


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