Voices. Values. Choices: Speakers


& Downloads

Confirmed Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers:

Ari Berman

Ari Berman is a 2017 Izzy Award winner for outstanding achievement in independent media, a senior reporter at Mother Jones and a reporting fellow at The Nation Institute. He is author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America and Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics. (First 100 registrants receive a copy of Give Us the Ballot.) 

In 2012 Minnesota voters overwhelmingly rejected a voter photo ID constitutional amendment. However, similar voter suppression efforts succeeded in other states, and Minnesota lawmakers are laying plans to renew the push for photo ID. Between 2012 and 2016, states that enacted strict voter ID laws saw a drop in voter participation, particularly in communities of color. Berman draws a direct line between efforts to weaken the 1965 Voting Rights Act beginning the day after it was enacted to today’s voter suppression efforts. What happens to the vision of creating prosperity for all Minnesotans though equity and inclusion if voting practices are changed  in ways that  make it harder for certain communities to vote?


Shanelle Matthews

Shanelle is an award-winning political communications strategist with a decade of experience in journalism, legislative, litigation, rapid response, and campaign communications. She is the former Director of Communications for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which organizes to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people by building power and winning immediate improvements in our lives. 

She previously served as the Deputy Communications Director for the Sierra Club, where she led communications strategy for their flagship campaign, Beyond Coal. Before that, she worked as a strategist for the ACLU of Northern California on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights. 

In 2016, Shanelle developed Channel Black, an immersive training program that prepares the next generation of Black millennial spokespeople to make critical, real-time interventions on racism in the United States through the media. She is also the founder of the Radical Communicators Network (RadComms), an online and offline community of people working within social change and public interest communications who are committed to taking a radical approach to winning.

Shanelle is The New School's inaugural Activist-in-Residence; here, she works alongside faculty and students to research and develop strategies that significantly reduce anti-Black bias. She holds a degree in Journalism and New and Online Media from the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. She lives and plays in Brooklyn.

Kelly Ryan

Kelly Ryan (@kryan_incourage) has led Incourage (@incouragecf) in realizing its simple yet bold vision of a community that works well for all people for 20 years. To advance an inclusive and sustainable economy in its rural central Wisconsin home, Incourage has developed a holistic approach that is values-led and user-centered. As CEO, Kelly is leading Incourage in its commitment to align all forms of capital with organizational values and mission congruence, placing primary value on human potential.  

Named one of the 50 most influential leaders in the nonprofit sector by the NonProfit Times and a Rural Innovator by the White House, Kelly often speaks and writes about the opportunity for philanthropy at the intersection of people, place and prosperity. She was named an Aspen Institute Scholar, was a 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival speaker and is a member of Aspen’s Community Strategies Rural Development Innovation Group. Kelly also serves on numerous advisory committees and professional groups, including the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Partners Council. 

At our conference, hear Kelly’s stories from rural community and economic development and her groundbreaking leadership moving the foundation’s investments to 100% aligned with mission.

State of Philanthropy Roundtable:

Imagine "The View" but with five of MCF's members. The State of Philanthropy Roundtable will be a live recording of the MCF podcast Fast Forward, hosted by Levi Weinhagen

The MCF members will include:

  • Diana Anderson, Southwest Initiative Foundation
  • Manisha Bharti, GHR Foundation
  • Trista Harris, Minnesota Council on Foundation
  • Anil Hurkadli, Thrivent Financial Foundation
  • Lulete Mola, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota 
  • Dana Nelson, Super Bowl Legacy Fund

Speaker Carousel:

An MCF conference tradition now in its fourth year! During the carousel you will gather with peers in breakout rooms and then wait for a thought-provoking parade of speakers to come to you. Speakers include:

  • Katherine Haynes Sanstad, futurist, former interim director at Blue Shield of CA Foundation and former executive director of diversity at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Northern CA
  • Samuel L. Myers, Jr, democracy and racism, Humphrey School, Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice
  • Beth Zemsky, intercultural organizational development and owner of Zemsky & Associates