MCF Welcomes Leah Lundquist as Program Manager — Leadership Development

June 23, 2015

Leah-LundquistWe are excited to announce Leah Lundquist is joining MCF as our new program manager — leadership development.

Leah comes to us from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where she served as director of the Hubert Project. She previously held positions at the Center for Integrative Leadership, Northwest Area Foundation and the Kellogg Action Lab. She received her Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School in 2012.

Leah will serve as lead trainer on MCF initiatives like Grantmaking for the 21st Century, the Policy Connections Institute and other cohort learning programs. She will begin her work here in mid-July.

Welcome, Leah!

Fast Forward with PPL’s Paul Williams

June 19, 2015

ff1In MCF’s latest Fast Forward podcast, MCF President Trista Harris sits down for a wide-ranging talk with Paul Williams, president and CEO of Project for Pride in Living.

Topics they discuss include:

  • The importance of being rooted in community and using it as an asset.
  • The need for scale to make a meaningful impact.
  • Paul’s wish for philanthropy to create greater leverage with government.

Listen to the podcast now! And while you’re at it, be sure to check out other recent episodes like:

Subscribe to Fast Forward on iTunes or on the podcast player of your choice to always get the latest episodes as we publish them.

MCF Seeks Communications and Media Specialist

May 29, 2015

helpWe’re hiring! MCF is seeking an individual to join our communications team. The communications and media specialist works as a member of a team that shares responsibility for promoting philanthropy in Minnesota, connecting grantmakers with each other, engaging grantmakers with MCF programs and services and increasing MCF membership.

Currently, MCF seeks to add a person to the communications team who has demonstrated marketing capacities and is interested in a full time position. Core responsibilities in this area include developing and implementing marketing campaigns and tools to secure membership, engage participation in MCF programs and encourage adoption of emerging or best practices for grantmakers.
We also expect our new hire to be a capable communications generalist with abilities to support all of the position’s core responsibilities in these areas:
  • Editorial
  • Research and writing
  • Electronic communication
  • Media & public relations
  • Production & project management

See the full job description on our website, and help us spread the word! Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with the goal of having the new hire start in mid-August.


Photo cc Matt Wetzler

Preparing for Civic Disasters

May 1, 2015

blacklivesMCF has worked hard to help our members be future focused. There has been great work to help foundations proactively prepare for natural disasters, so that when that tornado or flood hits, the philanthropic community already has a plan to get the community back to normal and in some cases, even better than they were before the disaster.

What we haven’t done is civic disaster preparedness. What does a community do when the trust between officers of the law and the communities they are swore to protect is breached? What do we do when our schools are failing to prepare our next generation of leaders? What do we do when our community is divided into the haves and the have-nots and that line is clearly tied to race? What do we do when our freeways are stopped by people desperate to be heard on those challenges? What do we do when our media, our schools, and our places of commerce become the public square? What do when do when our communities go up in flames (figuratively and literally) because the earlier methods of communications have gone unheard for days, weeks, years, decades, and centuries?

I believe that we need to start answering this questions now. While tensions are simmering but not yet at the full boil that we are seeing in Baltimore and around the country. If this civic disaster was treated like a tornado, sirens would have been going off in our community for the last decade. What can we do today to prepare for it and prevent it? Who do we need to hear, what institutions need to change, and how do we, as Minnesotans, need be different? I think if we start asking these questions now, we could live in a much better community tomorrow.

I want to hear your ideas and actions to help prepare for civic disasters. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

– Trista Harris, MCF President

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