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.


We’re Moving!

August 25, 2014

photo-3In mid-December, we’re relocating the MCF offices to the TractorWorks building in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. Our new digs are on the 7th floor at 800 Washington Avenue North. We’re excited and we hope you will be too!

Last week we held our first staff meeting in the unfinished space, which gave us all a chance to look around and make heavy use of our imaginations. The space is rough right now, but by move-in day it will be very welcoming and comfortable.

photo 4Our new accommodations were designed with our members in mind. The convenient location and easy parking will make a quick stop between meetings possible, while we hope the multiple gathering spaces, drop-in offices, state-of-the-art board room and comfy furnishings will ensure that you stick around.

As construction progresses, we’ll post pictures here to keep you in the loop.


Young Leadership Cohort Busts Down Barriers

August 20, 2014

11gfOdds are you’ve heard a lot about the need for grantmakers and nonprofit professionals to set aside the power dynamics that hold back their relationships and to come together as peers to address needs in their communities. If you’ve worried that’s just lip service to a never-changing problem, good news! Young people in the sector have taken up that call to forge deep relationships and work closely together.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network unveiled a joint Leadership Institute. The inaugural cohort contains 24 individuals, with an even mix of those who work at nonprofits and foundations, including many MCF members (and staff!).

With a focus on accessibility (no cost to participate) and co-creation (members of the cohort lead sessions), the Institute is a unique opportunity that models best practices we want to see from the sector.

Learn more about it in the article I wrote for the summer issue of Giving Forum!

- Chris Oien, MCF digital communications specialist



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