Bringing Urgency and Steadfastness Together

The 2016 presidential election brought to light extreme divisions in our country. Family members have stopped speaking, high school friends have been blocked on Facebook, and the racism, sexism and xenophobia that lived below the surface has been unleashed and is showing itself in polite conversation. All of this fear and the resulting divisions have made it really hard to remember what we have in common, the bedrock of ideals that this country was founded on: democracy, individual rights, liberty, opportunity and equality.
As grantmakers, you have committed your careers to strengthening these ideals. Through your work you create spaces and places where everyone in our community can have a voice. You stand up for marginalized communities, you take care of those that have the least, and you heal divisions. You make the future better for all of us. 

Some philanthropists and organizations are making changes to their work, so they can react more quickly to the emerging needs of communities they work with and for. At the same time, other philanthropic organizations are focused on the long-term thinking baked into their ongoing strategies. While still others are looking beyond the moment and considering the investments that need to be made today to start the ten-, fifteen- or twenty-year process to create a new reality.

There is no one, right way. We need to use all of these strategies, and we need to value, support and complement each other’s efforts as best we can in order to truly have collective impact.

MCF is your partner in this critical work. In our new strategic plan announced in January and laid out in this issue, we have doubled down on our commitment to helping foundations build equity into their work and to partner with elected officials to make our communities stronger. We are also building our capacity to help you and your partner organizations navigate these rapidly changing times. Our role is to help you sharpen the impact you have today and to identify, understand and shape future trends.

This tumultuous moment calls us to action. Whether it’s responding with urgency to prevent harm, being a steady and reliable source of support, or reaching toward a new future, we are not passive actors. The decisions we make and the actions we take today and every day create a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota, and as a community of grantmakers, we are doing this work together.

Be well,

Trista Harris


Minnesota Council on Foundation