2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows Announced

December 16, 2014

Today MCF announced the 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows. The Fellowship, launched as a partnership with the Bush Foundation in 2013, prepares high-potential individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy.

Fellows are employed by MCF and placed at participating foundations for three years. This year’s Fellows will join the Bush Foundation, the Headwaters Foundation for Justice or The Minneapolis Foundation, where they will start on January 12, 2015.

“For foundations to remain credible partners, their staff must reflect the shifting diversity of communities,” says Alfonso Wenker, MCF’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “These leaders bring strong community relationships that will help position their host sites for the future.”

2015Fellows2Meet the 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows:

  • Allison Johnson (pictured, middle) is a community organizer with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, where she has worked across the Twin Cities to build support for affordable housing and stronger communities. She will join the Headwaters Foundation for Justice.
  • Aya Johnson (right) is currently a community representative in the United States Congress focusing on immigration, foreign affairs, unemployment and outreach to communities of color. She has also served as a domestic violence advocate in St. Cloud and Blaine. She will join the Community Innovation team at the Bush Foundation.
  • Adrian Mack (left) is presently the program and curriculum director of STATURE, a leadership program designed to guide Minneapolis youth toward academic and career success. He also participates in several initiatives to engage the broader African American community. He will join the Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation team.
  • Patrice Relerford (second from right) is now the institutional support coordinator and grantwriter at People Serving People, a family-oriented shelter that provides emergency housing and community services to help homeless families achieve stability and reconnect with the community. She began her career as an education reporter at the Star Tribune and will join the Community Impact team at The Minneapolis Foundation.
  • Avi Viswanathan (second from left) has served as the campaign director for HIRE Minnesota, a campaign working to achieve racial equity in employment. He lives with his family on the East Side of St. Paul where he is engaged in many community activities and has served on the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council. He will join the Leadership Programs team at the Bush Foundation.

“I’ve seen firsthand how poverty and inequality erode communities,” says Fellow Patrice Relerford. “Through this fellowship, I believe I can better understand disparities by asking the tough questions to find solutions. For example, why does our region continue to have such glaring academic achievement, employment and home ownership gaps between whites and people of color?”

About the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship
The Fellowship is dedicated to the late Ron McKinley, a longtime member of the philanthropic and nonprofit communities who embodied justice and equity and worked tirelessly throughout his career to ensure that those from underrepresented communities were afforded equal access, opportunity and the resources necessary to fully participate and be heard.

Applications for the 2016 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship will be open in fall 2015. Learn more at http://www.mcf.org/about/philanthropy-fellowship or contact Alfonso Wenker, MCF’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, with any questions.

Photo credit: Anna Min, Min Enterprises


Fast Forward: Chris Cardona on Accessible Philanthropy

October 7, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 12.09.07 PMThe 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:

  1. Consult stakeholders about their decisions
  2. Integrate these communities into the decision-making process
  3. Get community involvement in the initial design process
Chris Cardona

Chris Cardona

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!


The McKnight Foundation Seeks Your Input

September 26, 2014
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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.


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

Meet the New Nexus Community Partners BCLI Cohort

September 8, 2014

nexusToday, MCF member Nexus Community Partners announced the second cohort of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The 15 cohort members come from various communities in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge working in community, nonprofits and the private sector.

The BCLI will train and place these dynamic individuals onto publicly appointed boards and commissions in the Twin Cities. The fellows will have the capacity and community support to advance a regional equity agenda and serve as the next generation of leaders who are representative of, and accountable to, the region’s communities of color and other underrepresented populations.

The fifteen new fellows are:

  • Antrinita Wright, Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP), Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
  • Carla Kohler, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES)
  • Chamath Perera, Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA)
  • David Martinez, Wells Fargo Community Development Department
  • David Milton, Mastery Charter Schools / Harvest Education Network
  • Donna Evans, BCLI Alum
  • Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, Navigate MN
  • Falmata Bedasso, Oromo Community of MN
  • Jamez Staples, Community Elder
  • Leila Paye-Baker, Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO), City of Saint Paul
  • Nasser Mussa, Oromo Community of MN
  • Sonya Lewis, AFSCME 3800
  • Suyapa Miranda, BCLI Alum
  • Tescil Mason Kimmons, BCLI Alum
  • Yolonde Adams-Lee, MN Department of Human Services

Learn more about the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute on the Nexus Community Partners website, and meet this new cohort in person at the BCLI launch event on Thursday, October 9.


Subscribe to Fast Forward on iTunes

August 29, 2014

ff1Full, in-depth interviews with big thinkers in philanthropy are now available on the Fast Forward podcast! Subscribe through iTunes or plug the RSS feed into the podcast subscription software of your choosing.

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  • Interested in hearing from Trish Tchume of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network on the work she’s done with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy to address power dynamics in the field? Have a listen.
  • Want to hear from Phil Buchanan of the Center for Effective Philanthropy on the tools grantmakers can use to build and maintain effective practices? Now you can!
  • Ready to know more about the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and its approach to disaster relief? Listen to Mark Lindberg on the foundation’s focus on lower-attention events and its belief in the power of local communities to self-organize.

Once you’re done listening, don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll get every episode as they publish! Next month you’ll hear from Mary Jane Melendez of General Mills Foundation.


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