Food System Innovators Convene to Strengthen Healthy Food and Farm Financing & Technical Assistance for Minnesota

April 30, 2015

Minnesota funders gathered together today to discuss healthy food financing strategies.

Today, a strategic group of 50 decision-makers working in food and farm financing and technical assistance convened at the University of Minnesota to explore together how to align and strengthen our state’s ecosystem of these resources to increase the health and prosperity of all communities.

The outcome? Concrete policy and systems changes that these decision-makers can implement together to ensure a healthy, robust food infrastructure for the state. These changes can happen by creating a coordinated ‘ecosystem’ of public and private financing and technical assistance for food and farm businesses. Several food and farm financing and technical assistance strategies recommended in the Minnesota Food Charter will inform the day’s discussion.

Hosted by the Minnesota Food Funders Network, “Our Common Table: Creating and Financing a Healthy Food System,” the group will identify existing and needed assets to ensure robust food and farm financing and technical assistance with the aim of strengthening local and regional food supplies.

The Minnesota Food Funders Network is a group of Minnesota-based funders who make informed, coordinated, and strategic investments to improve key facets of our food system. Their shared commitment to the vitality and prosperity of our state’s communities and resilience of our landscapes inspires their collaboration. With an emphasis on the interconnections between food, hunger, health, and agricultural issues, this diverse group of funders works together to:

  • Share information about promising programs, organizations, issues, research, and initiatives
  • Coordinate funding among members to ensure well-distributed investment of resources across food systems-focused organizations and initiatives
  • Increase overall amount of funding available for food systems-related work

Read more about the Minnesota Food Charter and the strategies our state’s food funders are using as a basis for today’s discussions.

MCF Seeks Program Manager – Leadership Development

April 28, 2015

helpMCF is adding to its Program Strategy Team! We are seeking a dynamic trainer/facilitator who is passionate about leadership development, cohort-based learning and promoting effective philanthropy.

The Program Manager – Leadership Development will manage the day-to-day activities of several Council cohort-learning programs and the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows program. This person will be responsible for researching and implementing best practice in training, facilitation and adult learning in concert with grantmaking best practices.

Responsibilities include:

Cohort-Based Training/Facilitation

  • Manage the day-to-day activities and budgets of Council cohort learning programs including Grantmaking for the 21st Century, Policy Connections Institute (including meetings with elected officials and staff as part of field work activities).
  • Develop and manage relationships with MCF members and non-member grantmakers that drive recruitment of program participants to meet attendance and associated revenue goals.

Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows Program

  • Develop and manage relationships and activities that drive recruitment of participants; coordinate the application process to ensure smooth process and successful placement.
  • Support potential, incoming, and actively enrolled Fellows through regular correspondence and individual support that sets expectations, enables accountability, and demonstrates engagement.

All-team/all-staff Program Design and Delivery

  • Support materials development.
  • Collaborate with team members to develop/strengthen/expand partnerships with partner organizations.
  • Partner with all team members on the production of major Council events such as Annual Conference, Annual Meeting and Annual Summer Celebration.

See the full description on our website, and share it widely with your network! Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with the hope of a candidate joining the team in early June.

Photo cc Matt Wetzler

The ABCs of Impact Investing in Minnesota

April 14, 2015

abcUntil recently, I’ve used impact investing terms interchangeably (and sometimes incorrectly, as it turns out). I’ve seen others do the same, so I decided I’d share this glossary of terms that I recently came across.

Impact Investment: Broad name for investments made to generate measurable positive social or environmental impacts and financial returns. Impact investments are also known as double-bottom-line or blended-value investments.

  • Program-related Investment (PRI): A type of impact investment made primarily for charitable purposes rather than for financial gain. PRIs are defined by the federal tax code and typically count toward a foundation’s minimum payout requirement.
  • Mission-related Investment (MRI): An impact investment intended to generate both financial and social returns in direct alignment with a foundation’s mission. MRIs do not count toward a foundation’s minimum payout requirement.
  • Social-impact Investment (SI): An impact investment intended to generate both financial and social returns not directly aligned with a foundation’s mission. SIs do not count toward a foundation’s minimum payout requirement.
  • Environmental, Social and Governance Investments (ESG): An impact investment intended to generate both financial and social returns without harm to people or the environment. ESGs are also known as socially-responsible investments and do not count toward a foundation’s minimum payout requirement.

Building a Thriving Ecosystem for Mission Investing in Minnesota
Many Minnesota grantmakers are interested in the double bottom line, but how can we harness both the interest of those new to the strategy and experienced impact investors to create a vibrant ecosystem where this approach can truly take root and blossom?

Join us at this free mission investing network meeting at MCF on Wed., April 22, 8-10 a.m., to hear from Jeffrey Ochs, executive director of Gopher Angels, on how to build a thriving local community for mission investing. By the end of the meeting, the network aims to have identified concrete ways the mission investing network can support the development of a robust social impact investing environment in Minnesota.

Hope to see you there!

Susan Stehling, communications associate

Steve Joul Supports Endow Minnesota

April 13, 2015

endow-joulSteve Joul, president of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, has lent his voice to support Endow Minnesota legislation currently before the Minnesota House and Senate.

Joul’s foundation hosts many funds doing good work in Central Minnesota, including the Good Samaritan Fund, the Women’s Fund and several area education foundations.

As he explains, “Collectively, the foundation and its affiliate partners today hold more than $110 million of private philanthropic resources dedicated to making our communities better places to live.”

See what Joul has to say about how Endow Minnesota (HF1530 in the Minnesota House and SF1399 and SF1400 in the Senate) would benefit the communities that these partners serve.

His commentary appears in the St. Cloud Times.

EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute Launches Year Two

April 7, 2015

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 1.21.50 PMThe Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Minnesota are partnering to once again offer a unique, no-cost cohort experience that brings together young nonprofit and foundation professionals for shared learning. This opportunity is perfect for young people ready to explore the big career questions while participating in skill swapping and network weaving.

Emerging leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors who are looking for a “community of practice” to establish a peer support system should apply. The groups seek a diverse mix of twenty-four 20- and 30-somethings. Applicants must be a member of either organization.

What will the program include?

  • Monthly two-hour evening sessions
  • The option to attend exciting community events each month with other participants
  • Mentoring circles for small group connections and support
  • The opportunity to help design and facilitate a monthly session based on your interests
  • Selected readings, personal challenges, and reflective exercises between sessions

Benefits to participants

  • Expand your network among local nonprofit and philanthropic professionals.
  • Practice useful habits of reflection to address questions about your life, leadership and career.
  • Build facilitation, presentation and collaboration skills by sharing around a topic of your choice.
  • Conduct a career refresh or re-charge in a supportive and accountable environment.

Read about the experience of last year’s cohort in the Summer 2014 issue of Giving Forum.

Applications are due April 30. To learn more, nominate your colleagues, or apply, visit YNPN-TC’s website for details.

Make Your Nominations for the National Philanthropy Day Awards

April 1, 2015

npdThe Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals is seeking nominations for the annual National Philanthropy Day awards. Minnesotans who make a difference as leaders, nonprofit professionals, philanthropists and volunteers will be recognized at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon at 11:30 am on November 20, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul (soon-to-be named the InterContinental Hotel).

AFP Minnesota recognizes outstanding achievements with these awards:

  • Outstanding Youth Award
  • Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
  • Outstanding Professional Fundraiser
  • Outstanding Philanthropic Organization
  • Outstanding Legacy

Download the award nomination packet and have a look at past winners on AFP Minnesota’s website.

The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2015. Send in your picks and spread the word!


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