Channel One Regional Food Bank Wins All-Star Grant

July 18, 2014

Baseball’s All-Star Game happened earlier this week in Minneapolis, and with it came the announcement of the nonprofit awarded the Twins “All-Star Fans Choose” grant.

Nearly 75,000 fans voted to help award the $500,000 grant, with Channel One Regional Food Bank ultimately selected. The food bank plans to use the $500,000 grant to add more than 20,000 square feet of warehouse space at its Rochester location and build a kitchen and classroom to better serve and feed people in need. Channel One serves 13 counties in Southeast Minnesota and LaCrosse County in Wisconsin and an average of 100,000 people a year.

Six other finalists were each awarded $50,000:

  • Camp Fire Minnesota in Chanhassen
  • Cookie Cart in Minneapolis
  • Hmong American Farmers Association in Vermillion
  • Madison Claire Foundation inWoodbury
  • Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in St. Michael
  • People Serving People in Minneapolis

The “All-Star Fans Choose” grant was part of an extensive legacy giving campaign, including the contribution of more than $8 million toward local projects and national charitable initiatives. This was made possible due to a partnership between MLB Charities, the Twins Community Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Congratulations to Channel One Regional Food Bank and all the finalists!


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


Nominate Your Favorite Resource-full Nonprofit

July 1, 2014

rfaWith near-limitless demand and finite resources, nonprofits have to be inventive and nimble every day to fill the gap and carry out their missions. Now, Eide Bailly is offering you the chance to help recognize those doing the best at undertaking sustainable, creative, and impactful revenue generation initiatives.

Eide Bailly’s Resourcefullness Award will be presented in Minnesota and three other states, with a grand prize winner, runner-up and honorable mention all receiving recognition and an award. Submissions will be evaluated on these criteria:

  • Sustainability: How reliable is the initiative in generating continuous revenue for the organization?
  • Creativity: How unique, inventive or clever is this initiative in the non-profit industry?
  • Implementation: How well was this initiative executed?
  • Impact: How great was the financial impact of the initiative?
  • Overall Impression: What is your overall impression of this organization’s initiative?

Last year’s grand prize winner in Minnesota was Mankato Symphony Orchestra, for its Music & Brews fundraising event that created unique partnerships with local businesses.

Submissions are due August 29, with winners announced October 8. Visit Eide Bailly’s site for more information and to access the application. Good luck to those applying!


Vote Now for the Twins All-Star Fans Choose Grant Winner

June 12, 2014

480_fans_chooseEarlier this week, the Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball announced the seven finalists for the first-ever “All-Star Fans Choose” grant.

Voting is open now through July 10 to help award a $500,000 grant to one of seven Upper Midwest nonprofits. The winning nonprofit will be announced during MLB All-Star Week in July.

The seven finalists and projects are:

  • Camp Fire Minnesota in Chanhassen, to improve and expand Camp Tanadoona, a 90-year old rustic summer camp.
  • Channel One Regional Food Bank in Rochester, to add more than 20,000 square feet of warehouse space and build a kitchen and classroom to better serve and feed people in need.
  • Cookie Cart in Minneapolis, to renovate and reconfigure the current location to double the number of teens who can participate in employment and training programs.
  • Hmong American Farmers Association in Vermillion, to construct a farm where Hmong farmers can rent land long-term, learn sustainable agricultural practices, aggregate their produce with other farmers and learn to operate and grow a farming business.
  • Madison Claire Foundation in Woodbury, to build a fully accessible, inclusive playground where children with disabilities can play alongside others and disabled parents can play with their children.
  • Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in St. Michael, to renovate a former Girl Scout Camp north of the Twin Cities for a year-round school for teen boys experiencing problems with drug and alcohol abuse.
  • People Serving People in Minneapolis, to renovate the kitchen and dining hall at the largest family homeless shelter in Minnesota  to improve safety, sanitation, food recycling and meal service processes.

The “All-Star Fans Choose” grant is a part of an extensive legacy giving campaign, including the contribution of more than $8 million toward local projects and national charitable initiatives. The program is a partnership between MLB Charities, the Twins Community Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Learn more about the grant program and the seven finalists at the All-Star Fans Choose webpage. Best of luck to all the finalists!


Make Your Nominations for the 2014 Minnesota Nonprofit Awards

May 21, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 4.02.19 PMThe Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and MAP for Nonprofits invite you to submit a nomination or application for a Mission or Excellence Award, to be presented at MCN’s annual conference in October.

The Nonprofit Mission Awards showcase the work of Minnesota’s outstanding nonprofits in the categories of:

  • Innovation
  • Anti-Racism Initiative
  • Advocacy
  • Responsive Philanthropy

Past winners of the Responsive Philanthropy award have included MCF members such as Elmer L. and Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and Headwaters Foundation for Justice.

Nominations are due May 30 and can be made through MCN’s website.

MAP for Nonprofits seeks nominations for the Nonprofit Excellence Awards, one for an organization with less than $1.5 million in annual operating expenses, and one for an organization with $1.5 million or more in expenses. These awards are based upon how closely organizations align with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

Nominations for these awards are due May 29; see how to apply on MAP for Nonprofits’ website.

Best of luck to those being nominated!

 


What Will It Take to Build a Beloved Community?

May 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 1.43.35 PMLast week a report on black male achievement commissioned by the Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundation was released: Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement.

The report builds on the 2012 study Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boysmaps current work in the area of black male achievement and makes recommendations on what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward.

Based on interviews with 50 leaders in the social, academic, government and business sectors, the report takes stock of major sectors engaged in the field and examines opportunities for other constituencies — especially the corporate and faith sectors — to become more involved.

A “Rethink Philanthropy” chapter calls for longer funding commitments, increased general operating support, permanent endowments and other ways of moving beyond traditional philanthropy.

Susan Taylor Batten, CEO of ABFE, characterizes such efforts as transformational philanthropy and says:

“Ultimately, we have to find ways to ‘hard wire’ a race and gender lens into all investments rather than setting up special projects that are time-limited. The latter is important, but one of our goals is to change the sector so investments in black male achievement are not dependent on a particular leader.”

It is a timely release in light of a growing number of national initiatives focused on improving the economic, social and physical well-being of black males, including My Brother’s Keeper and the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color.

Beloved Community

The concept of a “Beloved Community” was popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a core part of his philosophy.

According to The King Center: Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.

Sounds like a world worth working for.

- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate

 


Engaging Families in Early Childhood Programs and Policies

May 8, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 3.46.24 PMThe Start Early Funders Coalition champions affordable, accessible, high quality care and education for children in Minnesota by leveraging the group’s funding interests to advance public policy and community supports for early childhood education and programs.

Last month the coalition convened community leaders and practitioners to provide information on effectively engaging families in early childhood programs and policies.

The convening focused on two questions:

  • What exactly does “family engagement” mean?
  • How can we implement effective strategies for developing family partnerships, particularly across diverse cultures and varied early childhood programs?”

Family & Community Engagement for Healthy Child Development

Betty Emerita, consultant, Development and Training Inc., and Richard Chase, senior research manager, Wilder Foundation, examined family and community knowledge systems — the informal and formal ways that children learn at home and in their community.

The Family and Community Knowledge Systems Project:

  • Underscores the importance of how programs recognize, interact with and support these important systems in which children are embedded.
  • Aims to expand how we define and support healthy whole-child development and program quality from the perspective of family and community knowledge systems.
  • Highlights and measures ways to strengthen family and community engagement with formal systems to improve early childhood programs, policies, and practices — particularly for low-income children and children of color.

For more on their research, read the resulting publication: Promoting and Measuring Family and Community Engagement for Healthy Early Childhood Development.

Barb Fabre, director of White Earth Reservation child care, and Carolyn Smallwood, executive director, Way to Grow, reflected on their experience using the family and community engagement tool and noted that it increased positive family engagement outcomes and deepened the engagement and understanding of the children and families they served.

Family Engagement Programs and Best Practices

Christine DeGroote, early childhood education specialist, Head Start, presented the organization’s engagement framework for parents, family and community and its success measures. She highlighted the importance of crossing contexts at home, in early childhood programs, school and community to ensure success for children and families.

Mi Yang, parent leadership trainer, Cross-Cultural Leadership Action Program (C-Clap) presented curriculum that her organization used to train community leaders, relatives, parents and providers to educate and empower parents. She encouraged the audience to consider the following:

  1. All parents want their children to succeed
  2. We must believe in parent’s best intentions
  3. Change begins with knowledge

Andre Dukes, family academy director, Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), presented NAZ’s ending multigenerational poverty approach, highlighting the role of the Family Academy’s parent curriculum, which builds upon a family’s existing strengthens and then adds tools to parents’ skill sets to increase positive parenting practices.

Ellen Haefner, early childhood family educator, reviewed Faribault’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program structure and highlighted initiatives surrounding parent education and opportunities for children and families.

Cisa Keller, director of government and community relations, New Horizons Academy, noted implications for effective family engagement with regard to public policy, including an increase of early learning scholarships and multiple federal efforts such as, Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships, proposed CCDBG changes and more.

Rae Jean Hansen, senior program officer, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, closed by encouraging attendees to use the research and best practices of the panelists to further work for effective family education and high quality early care.

- Tiffany Wilson-Worsley, MCF public policy and government relations fellow

 


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!


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