Fast Forward with COF’s Jenny Harms

February 17, 2015

ff1In this month’s episode of our Fast Forward podcast, our president Trista Harris speaks with Jenny Harms, network manager for the Midwest at the national Council on Foundations!

They discuss the benefits of infusing regional foundations like MCF with ideas from across the country, and let MCF members know what Jenny will be up to in the coming months and how to get in touch.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with Jenny and COF on many projects in the coming months! Listen to Trista’s interview with her now, and don’t forget to subscribe to Fast Forward to get every episode delivered to you as we publish them.

 


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


Meet MCF’s New Board Officers and Directors

January 27, 2015

40085dc0-3f12-4268-95d1-d514dddec371The Minnesota Council on Foundations elected new board officers and directors at our annual meeting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on January 22.

Officers elected for 2015 are:

  • Brad Kruse, philanthropy director, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, board chair;
  • June Noronha, senior manager, Native Nations Team, Bush Foundation, vice chair;
  • JoAnn Birkholz, foundation director, Medica Foundation, secretary; and
  • Steve Joul, president, Central Minnesota Community Foundation, treasurer.

Brad Kruse

June Noronha

JoAnn Birkholz

Steve Joul

New directors elected to three-year terms ending in 2017 are:

  • Sarah Duniway, trustee, Gray Plant Mooty Foundation;
  • Frank Forsberg, senior vice president of systems change and innovation, Greater Twin Cities United Way;
  • Aretha Green-Rupert, program officer, Otto Bremer Foundation; and
  • Judson McNeil, president, The Toro Company Giving Program and The Toro Foundation.

Directors elected to second three-year terms ending in 2017 are:

  • Brad Kruse, philanthropy director, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation;
  • Gary Nan Tie, trustee, Jerome Foundation; and
  • Tim Thorpe, trustee, James R. Thorpe Foundation.

Congratulations to all!


MCF Welcomes Luciano Patiño as Operations Assistant

January 13, 2015

LucianoPatinoPortraitAt MCF we are excited to welcome Luciano Patiño as our new operations assistant. Luciano most recently worked as a customer outreach representative at NorthstarMLS, where he led a training program aimed at helping real estate agents leverage technology.

Luciano comes to MCF with several years of volunteer experience, including three years as a board member at PFund Foundation. He has also helped at other area nonprofits, primarily doing LGBT activist work. He is excited to learn more about the philanthropic community, to help foundations and nonprofits better connect and to make a difference in Minnesota.

Luciano has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Minnesota. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his friends, playing video games and watching TV while covered by his two Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Help MCF welcome Luciano at our Thursday Open House!



MCF is Having a Party and You’re Invited!

January 6, 2015

photo 5photo 2MCF has moved, and we’re hoping you’ll come and check out our awesome new office space!

Join us for our
Open House on Thursday, Jan. 15, 4 to 6 p.m.

Just drop in; no RSVP necessary.

Stop in to say hello, enjoy a glass of wine, share some yummy hors d’oeuvres and help us break in our new space!

You can find directions to our new North Loop space and parking info here.

Hope to see you here!

 

 

 

 


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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,276 other followers