Inspiration, Renewed Commitments at the Ambassador Awards

April 10, 2014
The Saint Paul Foundation's Carleen Rhodes with this year's Ambassador Awards honorees.

Minnesota Philanthropy Partners’ Carleen Rhodes with this year’s Ambassador Awards honorees.

On April 7, The Saint Paul Foundation held its annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards. The purpose of this event is to honor “…individuals working to build communities where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.”

This year, over 500 people came out to celebrate and honor this work. It was fantastic to see such a multi-generational crowd. Attendees included youth, elected officials, and those from the nonprofit, philanthropic, education, business, and government sectors.

Carleen Rhodes and Rowzat Shipchandler opened the event with an overview of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners’ renewed commitment to racial equity including the racial equity framework. This framework will promote racial equity through the various roles of the foundation: as community participants, economic entities, funders, employers, fundraisers, and leaders.

People were nominated from all across the state. This year, there were two Ambassador Award recipients, Jada Sherrie Mitchell and Justin Terrell, and three Honorable Mention recipients, Jennifer Godinez, Bukata Hayes and Dr. Cecilia Martinez. The Ambassador Award winners each received a $10,000 grant and the Honorable Mention winners each received a $1,000 grant that they may present to the nonprofit of their choice.

Award winning local photographer, Wing Young Huie, was the keynote speaker. He asked questions such as “How much does society shape ideas of who we are,” “Who gets to say who is a Minnesotan,” “When are we different and when are we the same,” and “Are we aware of our subconscious assumptions?” He demonstrated the power of the media across space and time, showing how some reactions to one photo were strongly influenced by images and assumptions from the Vietnam War many decades earlier.

It was a wonderful night of greeting old friends and meeting new ones, building the beloved community, and renewing personal commitments to advance this work.

- Jennifer Pennington, MCF member services fellow


Meet the 2014 Facing Race Ambassador Award Winners

March 25, 2014

raceThe Saint Paul Foundation will honor five anti-­racism advocates at the eighth annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards on April 7. The Facing Race Ambassador Awards program was created in 2007 to recognize anti-­racism leaders and promote the need for productive community-­wide conversations about race.

“Reducing racial disparities is one of the critical challenges facing Minnesota,” says Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of The Saint Paul Foundation. “We are committed to this cause and honored to celebrate the hard work and dedication of individuals fighting for racial equity.”

This year’s celebration will honor two racial justice advocates with Ambassador Awards:

  • Justin Terrell, Justice 4 All program manager for TakeAction Minnesota, and
  • Jada Sherrie Mitchell, a Tartan High School senior and community youth leadership council member in Oakdale.

Mitchell is the youngest individual to receive an Ambassador Award.

“Jada and Justin have demonstrated tremendous leadership in addressing disparities in education and employment,” says Rhodes. “We are honored to recognize the accomplishments of these courageous community leaders.”

Three additional individuals will receive honorable mention recognition for their efforts to end racial disparities in Minnesota:

  • Jennifer Godinez, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership
  • Bukata Hayes, Greater Mankato Diversity Council
  • Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy

There’s still time to register to attend the event! Tickets are free; RSVPs are required by March 28. The awards celebration also features a keynote address by photographer Wing Young Huie whose award winning work has included “The University Avenue Project” and “Looking for Asian America”.

For all the details on the celebration, visit The Saint Paul Foundation’s website.

Congratulations to the honorees!


Nominate Now for the Facing Race Ambassador Award

October 22, 2013

facingraceDo you know people working tirelessly to end racism? Nominate them for the Facing Race Ambassador Award!

The Facing Race Ambassador Award is an annual award made by MCF member The Saint Paul Foundation. It celebrates and honors the leadership of individuals working toward racial equity. The award is part of the Facing Race We’re All In This Together anti-racism initiative, which seeks to create a community in which everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

In 2014, 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

Award recipients may direct a cash award of $10,000 to a nonprofit or public entity to further racial equity.

The nomination deadline is December 11, 2013. The honorees will be celebrated at an event on the evening of April 7, 2014 in St. Paul.

Learn more and make your nomination today!





You’re Invited: Facing Race Ambassador Awards

April 2, 2013

facingraceDon’t miss the seventh annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards, Monday, April 29, 2013, 6-8 p.m. at the Prom Event Center in Oakdale. Admission is free, but seating is limited. RSVP here or call 651.325.4265 by Friday, April 19.

I attended this event last year and intend to participate again this year. It’s an inspiring evening focused on individuals in Minnesota who are working in unique ways to create a better state for all of us — an equitable, just and open community in which everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

Dr. Manuel Pastor, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, is the keynote speaker this year. He will discuss:

  • the dramatic demographic shifts currently underway in the U.S.
  • and the gap between progress in racial attitudes and racial realities.

And he will offer a new set of strategies for both talking about race and achieving racial equity.

Then the 2013 Ambassador Award Recipients will be recognized. This year’s winners are:

  • Ellen O’Neill, YWCA of Duluth; and
  • Josie R. Johnson, Josie Robinson Johnson and Associates and Regent Emeriti University of Minnesota.

Honorable Mentions will be presented to

  • Corinth Matera, Minneapolis South High School;
  • Oluwaseyi Daniel Oyinloye, University of Minnesota Duluth;
  • and Hli Xyooj, Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG).

Learn more about Facing Race, an initiative of the Saint Paul Foundation, here.

RSVP for the Ambassador Awards by the 19th, and I hope to see you there.

- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate


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