Make Your Nominations for the 2015 Facing Race Ambassador Award

October 30, 2014

stpf1Do you know someone working tirelessly to end racism? Nominate that person for the Facing Race Ambassador Award!

The Ambassador Award is an annual award made by The Saint Paul Foundation that celebrates and honors the leadership of individuals working toward racial equity.

In 2015, the foundation will name:

  • One award recipient for work focused in the East Metro (Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties).
  • One award recipient for work focused anywhere in Minnesota.
  • Up to three honorable mentions for work focused anywhere in Minnesota.

Head to The Saint Paul Foundation’s website to access the Request for Nominations and online submission form. Nominations are due December 12.

The foundation is also hosting an informational webinar on November 18, where you can learn more about the nomination process. Register for that webinar online.


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!


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

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


MCF Welcomes Jennifer Hall as Program Assistant

July 9, 2014

jhallThis week MCF welcomes Jennifer Hall as our new program assistant. Most recently she worked at the Minnesota State College Faculty and prior to that she was at Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia where she worked on revitalizing the Ojibwe language.

Jenn comes to MCF with experience in the nonprofit and legislative sectors. Over 7 years, she has developed a passion for public and customer service. Working for the state legislature helped her appreciate the importance of bringing a variety of perspectives together, while working for a nonprofit inspired her to learn more about the field of philanthropy, especially how to be a transparent, effective organization.

As a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, she created her own degree in Heritage Language Stewardship, focusing on the Ojibwe language and anthropology. She was drawn to MCF because of its willingness to engage with all aspects of philanthropy to improve the field as a whole.

In her free time, Jenn enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and training in Muay Thai (Thai boxing).

Welcome Jenn!


Grantmaking for Community Impact

May 7, 2014

promise1Last month, MCF hosted Christine Reeves from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Reeves gave an overview of philanthropic giving in the U.S. and shared her thoughts on where the sector should go from here.

Go Beyond “Grantmaker”

Reeves advocated for the term “philanthropic practitioner” rather than grantmaker. While the latter can be limiting, the former includes funder, partner, supporter, evaluator, advocate and champion — embodying more of what philanthropy can do to be effective. And she thinks it would be great if philanthropic organizations were so effective that “we put ourselves out of business.”

Reeves also discussed power dynamics between philanthropic organizations and grantees. For example, she said philanthropic practitioners should act as though their endowments are contingent on a positive review by their grantees, in much the same way that a grant is contingent on the positive review of a grantmaker. Grantees are evaluated by philanthropists, and sometimes philanthropy is evaluated by grantees. But even when it is, the outcome is never tied to dollars.

Use Targeted Universalism

Reeves then explained the concept of targeted universalism as an effective grantmaking strategy. Targeted universalism says if you target money to address needs and reduce disparities for the most marginalized, overall well-being (by many metrics) improves for everyone. Conversely, if a philanthropic organization tries to help everyone equally, they may unintentionally exacerbate existing disparities.

Fund Social Justice and General Operating Support

Reeves said, “In Minnesota, only 13% of philanthropic dollars go to social justice initiatives, yet this is an effective approach to solving long-term problems.” She asked: Would Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez or Martin Luther King, Jr. receive a grant today? Are philanthropic practitioners championing incrementalism or funding true movement? How do we create fertile ground for the next Gandhi, Chavez or King? Today 2% of U.S. foundations fund social justice.

Reeves also stands firmly behind general operating support, which she said means “letting go and trusting grantees.” Seven percent of U.S. foundations provide general operating grants today.

In Minnesota, the largest share of grant dollars goes to programs, but general operating support represented 30% of grant dollars in 2011, the latest year for which data are available. See Giving in Minnesota, 2013 Summary Report, page 7, for specifics.

Philanthropy’s Promise Explained

NCRP started Philanthropy’s Promise to change U.S. funding priorities, and more than 177 grantmakers have signed on to date. Philanthropy’s Promise celebrates foundations that intentionally target the bulk of their grant dollars to benefit underserved communities and invest substantially in advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement to address the root causes of social problems and promote equity, opportunity and justice.

What does Philanthropy’s Promise look like in practice? Grantmaking organizations that sign on commit to give 50% of their dollars to underserved communities and 25% to social justice organizations or movements. Because by applying targeted universalism, we all do better.

- Jennifer Pennington, MCF member services fellow


MCF Seeks Program Assistant

April 17, 2014

helpMCF is hiring again! Our Program Strategy team seeks a dynamic and motivated individual to fill a new position.

In this highly visible and fast-paced role, the Program Assistant:

  • Serves as the first point of contact for many of MCF’s committees, networks and task forces by preparing correspondence, arranging conference calls, scheduling meetings, creating and disseminating minutes.
  • Takes initiative in providing timely and effective administrative support to the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Director of Member Services and the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations.
  • Supports MCF’s program operations, including database and technological support.
  • Prioritizes and manage multiple projects simultaneously, and follows through on issues in a timely manner to ensure program directors achieve strategic goals.
  • Provides strategic insight during development of Council programs and activities to eliminate duplication of efforts and ensure quality program delivery.

Selection criteria for this position include:

  • Outstanding verbal and written skills on the phone, in email and in person.
  • Warm and welcoming presence; commitment to hospitality and customer service.
  • Strategic, critical thinker with an insatiable curiosity about finding creative solutions.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.

And required experience includes:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent and a minimum of five years of administrative assistant experience, including executive assistant level responsibilities, direct customer service support and reception or a two-year degree in administrative assistance and two years of experience.
  • Well-developed verbal and written communication skills.
  • Tech savvy with proficiency with current office technology
  • Experience managing event logistics.
  • Experience managing committees.
  • Previous nonprofit, philanthropic or membership association work experience.

See the full job description on our website, and help us spread the word! Applications are due May 9.

Photo cc Matt Wetzler

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