Illuminating Philanthropy: Breakouts


Illuminating Philanthropy: Celebrating 50 years of Minnesota’s vibrant philanthropic community




Breakout Workshops I: Thursday, February 13, 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

The 4 Stages to Becoming an Impact Investing Foundation
This session highlights how foundations have moved through 4 stages of commitment to impact investing: exploration, curiosity, learning and strategy. You’ll hear from presenters who are "all in" for impact investing, ESG investing (environmental, social and governance), shareholder activism and community engagement. The discussion will highlight how the Sundance Family Foundation, with the guidance of its founder Nancy Jacobs and her intrepid board members, is leading the nation with 85% of its corpus invested in these strategies. Join the conversation to understand how impact investing holds promise for all foundations.
Track: Hot Topics in Philanthropy Activities: Group Discussion
Presenters: Susan Hammel, Founder, Cogent Consulting; Nancy L. Jacobs, Founder and President, Sundance Family Foundation; John Larsen, Investment Chair, Marbrook Foundation and President, John Larsen Foundation; and Geetu Sharma, Founder and Investment Manager, AlphasFuture, LLC.

Beyond Trauma Informed: Creating Healing Informed Organizations and Communities
Our panel of three community partners will demonstrate how innovative seed funding to build individual, organizational and community resilience has informed leadership development, organizational culture and capacity, and led to deep impact in the African American, Somali and American Indian communities. Panelists will demonstrate how addressing the role of trauma and toxic stress with leaders, organizations and community has led to sustainable cultural shifts. Participants will learn key concepts of the opportunity to provide nimble funding streams and take strategic risks in order to address trauma and toxic stress in community as a root cause of many disparities. Three community leaders will co-lead this discussion and demonstration of how modest seed funding has led to greater organizational resiliency and leadership development.
Track: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Resiliency Skill-building Activity
Presenters: Imam Sharif Abdirahman Mohamed, Co-founder, Islamic Civic Society of America and Open Path Resources; Linda Eagle Speaker, Elder in Residence, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center; Rev. Alika P. Galloway, Founder, Northside Healing Space and Co-pastor, Liberty Community Church; and Suzanne Koepplinger, Director, Catalyst Initiative, The Minneapolis Foundation

Intersectional Equity: No Such Thing as a Single-Issue Struggle
Audre Lorde once said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Philanthropy needs a new way of thinking that encapsulates multifaceted identities and issues -- this is the only way we will make impact. At the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, we imagine a world where women and girls and families experience the world with safety, economic prosperity, enjoy healthy lives, and lead in every sector. While working towards this goal, we have realized that it requires a fully developed understanding of how race, gender, place, and additional identities (ethnicity, sovereignty, class, age, ability, religion, LQBTQ+, and immigration status) intersect to shape women’s lived experiences. Intersectional equity is how the intersecting identities of people and communities impact their systemic access to opportunity and well-being. This analysis is required to create the conditions so that all people have what they need to thrive. WFMN’s Intersectional Equity Framework™ is applicable to research, grantmaking, policy, and organizational effectiveness to ensure equity in design to have equity in outcomes. This session will explore the tangible and measurable methods of application to enhance each attendee's lens and skills in the subject.  
Track: Best Practices Activities: Group Exercises
Presenters: Saanii Hernandez, Vice President, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and Lulete Mola, Vice President of Community Impact, Women's Foundation of Minnesota

Theory of Philanthropy: How, Why, Questions and Challenges
In 2015, Michael Quinn Patton introduced the theory of philanthropy as a useful tool for foundations to evaluate and deepen their philanthropic practice. In summary, a theory of philanthropy helps philanthropic organizations make explicit the implicit theories that guide how a foundation uses its various forms of capital to advance its mission. The tool has generated significant interest in the field of philanthropy. However, many foundations are unsure about how to articulate their theory of philanthropy and how it can serve as a useful tool for evaluating, learning and deepening philanthropic practice. The presenters will share how panelists developed their organization’s theory of philanthropy and how the theory of philanthropy is used. The panel will also explore questions and challenges with the tool.
Track: Increasing Your Impact Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Small Group Work
Presenters: Gifty Amarteifio, Member, TerraLuna Collaborative; Michael Dominowski, President, Thrivent Foundation; Wade Fauth, Vice President, Blandin Foundation; and Molly Sullivan, Founding Member, TerraLuna Collaborative

Breakout Workshops II: Thursday, February 13, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

From Equity Theory to Practice
The work of equity, diversity and inclusion has been around for a while. So after all the reading, the workshops and the kumbaya moments – how do we put this into action? This workshop will share a family foundation's journey to equity from hiring practices to grantmaking. Using an equity lens, participants will explore how to disrupt the status quo and breakdown barriers that limit the partnerships that are possible between foundations and nonprofits, think bigger about impact and gain clarity on purpose beyond grantmaking. 
Track: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities: Individual Reflection and Group Work
Presenters: Ambar Cristina Hanson, Community Relationship Officer, Mortenson Family Foundation and Donna Dalton, Executive Director, Mortenson Family Foundation

Don't Let Unconscious Bias Reduce your Grantmaking Effectiveness
As a funder that believes in the power of philanthropy to address inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) opportunities, you don't want to let something you're not aware of limit your effectiveness. Did you know that 99.999996% of what our brains process every moment is unconscious? Learn how to raise awareness of your biases and replace them to act in alignment with your values while you strengthen your commitment to improving our communities. The session will help you understand unconscious bias, provide a framework for addressing it and give participants tools to address it. As you open your eyes and open your mind, you can turn unconscious bias into conscious awareness and actions aligned with your values.
Track: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities: Neighbor Conversations, Individual Reflection and Group Work
Presenters: Mark Hiemenz, Donor Advisor, The Minneapolis Foundation and Mala Thao, Philanthropic Advisor, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

Governing in a Time of Change
Governance norms and practices are being challenged by current community trends, both positive and negative. Success in improving organizational diversity and equity brings new voices to the table but may also reveal gaps in inclusive governance. Further, the poor rhetorical habits and ill will abundant in social media are trickling into the boardroom, causing breakdowns in governance and interfering with the board’s work. Now, more than ever, we need to remind ourselves of what constitutes good governance and how the board can ensure philanthropy is a strong and leading presence in our communities. The presenters’ mission work and legal practice, respectively, focus on strengthening governance. The Native Governance Center’s mission is to assist Tribal nations in strengthening their governance systems and capacity to exercise sovereignty through leadership development and Tribal governance support. Together, we will review the basics of good governance and facilitate a discussion of real-world practical challenges facing boards today.
Track: Best Practices Activities: Neighbor Conversations, Individual Reflection and Large Group Work
Presenters: Wayne Ducheneaux, Executive Director, Native Governance Center and Sarah Duniway, Principal, Lathrop GPM Foundation

Unpacking Data: Going Beyond Charts and Numbers
Charts and numbers provide little insight unless there is also a strategy for analyzing, sharing and generating meaning and impact. In this session, we share strategies that we used to start conversations with Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation’s East Metro Pulse and Blandin Foundation’s Rural Pulse. Session participants will learn more about each perception survey and report, have an opportunity to participate in a mini data party and will engage in data discussions based on what they have learned.
Track: Increasing Your Impact Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Small Group Work
Presenters: Allison Ahcan, Director of Communications, Blandin Foundation and Nadege Souvenir, Vice President of Operations and Learning, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

Breakout Workshops III: Thursday, February 13, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Becoming a Better Philanthropic Partner to Indigenous People
Building on last year's Reclaiming Native Truth presentation, this panel will seek to educate philanthrofolk on barriers and opportunities to becoming true philanthropic partners to Indigenous communities. We'll touch on the need to fund Native-led organizations and programs over non-Native led ones when the work is intended to support Native peoples, with some hard truths shared to show how bad most philanthropy is at this. We'll hear how Better Way Foundation has worked to become a trusted partner to people and organizations across Indian Country, with concrete ideas for making progress at the staff and board level. We'll hear frank observations about being an Indigenous voice and leader within Minnesota’s philanthropy sector. Participants will reflect actively on how they can better partner with and support Indigenous communities and leaders.
Track: Hot Topics in Philanthropy Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Small Group Work
Presenters: Eileen Briggs, Native Nation Building and Government Redesign Portfolio Director, Bush Foundation; Christine Diindiisi McCleave, Executive Director, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition; and Andreas Hipple, Executive Director, Better Way Foundation

Maximizing the Effectiveness of Multi-Generational Space
Join this session to delve into a conversation about intergenerational foundation boards and committees. Together, we’ll explore various historic and current trends, challenges and opportunities. We’ll explore the drivers for multi-generational involvement, approaches to governance and decision-making and resources to maximize the multi-generational space in foundations of all sizes. This is an interactive session that will build off the wisdom in the room to advance the field of multi-generational philanthropy.
Track: Hot Topics in Philanthropy Activities: Small Group Work
Presenters: Kerrie Blevins, Foundation Manager, James R. Thorpe Foundation; Bill Graves, President, The John and Denise Graves Family Foundation; Jenny Johnson, Director, Family Philanthropy Resource Center, The Minneapolis Foundation; and Kate Seng, Senior Director, GHR Foundation

Maximizing Philanthropy's Unique Role in Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Engage with a panel of local foundations around their efforts to prevent and end homelessness through the Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative. Armed with a new strategic direction the Collaborative is committed to address the growing challenge of homelessness. Hear about the challenges and opportunities of working in a Funders Collaborative and learn how the group is taking on this complex issue.
Track: Best Practices Activities: Small Group Work and Facilitated Group Conversation
Presenters: Brian Paulson, Senior Program Officer, Pohlad Family Foundation; Chuck Peterson, Executive Director, Heading Home Minnesota Fund Collaborative; Kyrra Rankine, Director of Partnerships and Initiatives, John and Denise Graves Foundation; and Cathy tenBroeke, Assistant Commissioner and Executive Director Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness

Nonprofit Sustainability: Learning from Grantees and Best-Practices Literature
Nonprofits and funders agree on the importance of nonprofits’ ability to sustain impactful efforts making a positive difference in community. Unfortunately, there is not a shared understanding of what nonprofit sustainability is, and how nonprofits and funders can each contribute to sustainability. BCBS grantee partners were clear sustainability was a priority. The Foundation commissioned a literature review and interviewed grantees about nonprofit sustainability. A summary of the lit review and a sustainability framework was shared with grantees who agreed with its findings and asked for foundations to consider how they can help. Join colleagues to learn about sustainability and to brainstorm options on how to support nonprofits to increase their sustainability.
Track: Increasing Your Impact Activities: Large Group and Small Group Conversations
Presenters: Claire Chang, Senior Program Officer, BCBS of MN Foundation; Melanie Ferris, Research Scientist, Wilder Research; and Patti Tototzintle, CEO, Casa de Esperanza

Peer Conversation Breakfast Tables: Friday, February 14, 8 - 9 a.m.

On Friday morning, join one of the optional breakfast tables, small conversations of peers gathering to talk about a specific topic. Tables will be marked to indicate the location of each conversation.

Census and Redistricting, hosted by Katina Mortensen, Director of Public Policy, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Diversity and Equity in Philanthropy, hosted by Camille Cyprian, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Next Generation Leadership, hosted by Kate Seng, Senior Director, GHR Foundation
Preventing and Ending Homelessness, hosted by Chuck Peterson, Executive Director, Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative and Brian Paulson, Senior Program Officer, Pohlad Family Foundation
The Racial Wealth Gap, hosted by Kenya McKnight-Ahad, Founder and President, Black Women's Wealth Alliance 
Reimagining MCF Membership and Dues, hosted by Ben Cameron, President, Jerome Foundation
Reimagining MCF Programs and Events, hosted by Jenny Johnson, Director of the Family Philanthropy Resource Center, Minneapolis Foundation
Rural Philanthropy, hosted by Nate Dorr, Vice President for Advocacy, Northwest Minnesota Foundation

Breakout Workshops IV: Friday, February 14, 9 – 10:15 a.m.

Blandin Foundation - Our DEI Journey
For decades the Blandin Foundation has been working on DEI. From the first woman on the board representing the only diversity in 1980 – to today with a very diverse and inclusive board. From a staff that didn't have women leadership until 1992 – to today where the entire staff is diverse and committed to DEI. This has been quite a trip! We have learned much, come far and still have a ways to go. We have much to share from a board and staff perspective about monitoring our progress through the IDI, engaging in strategic learning and taking a "deep dive" over the course of 18 months. We will discuss successes, major learnings and major challenges. We will share where we've been, where we are and our hopes for the future.
Track: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities: Facilitated Group Conversation
Presenters: Kathleen Annette, President and CEO, Blandin Foundation and Heidi Korstad, Trustee, Blandin Foundation

Lessons Learned: Spinning out a New Nonprofit to Strengthen Native Nation Building
In 2009, the Bush Foundation created a new program area called Native Nation Building, with the goal of strengthening tribal governance of the 23 Native Nations in their region. As demand grew, they needed to consider how to best scale and sustain the work, both to better meet the demand, and to allow their foundation to focus on making grants versus managing programs. Two years of research and planning led to the creation of a new nonprofit, the Native Governance Center. In this session, we will use this experience as a case study and share the lessons learned about incubating a program, spinning it out of a foundation, and creating a new nonprofit. Participants will explore intersectional themes of risk, trust, leadership, finance and operations when presented with a big opportunity.
Track: Best Practices Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Facilitated Group Conversation
Presenters: Ben Aase, Principal, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP.) and Tracey Zephier, Attorney General, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Bush Foundation Board Member

Nothing About Us Without Us: Participatory Decision-Making
Funder interest in participatory decision-making is growing. Reports have been published, webinars held and blogs written – all espousing the importance of including the people most impacted by systems of injustice in the process of dismantling these systems. Headwaters Foundation for Justice and The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota Phillips believe deeply in community-led grantmaking. We will share some lessons learned over years of implementing and sustaining this way of working. This session will also be an opportunity for funders – whether new to, or wise in the ways of participatory decision-making – to share experiences and identify ways to learn from and support each other as we strive to sustain and improve this important innovation in philanthropy. Session attendees will engage with each other in pairs and small groups. Participants’ feedback will help build an action agenda for growing inclusive decision-making in Minnesota philanthropy.
Track: Hot Topics in Philanthropy Activities: Small Group and Pair Conversations
Presenters: Joel Luedtke, Program Director, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota; Calahena Merrick, Phillips’ Education Advisory Committee Member; Melissa Rudnick, Senior Program Officer, Headwaters Foundation for Justice; and Gabriella Sikes, Phillips’ Education Advisory Committee Member

Pivotal Role of Philanthropy in Early Childhood Policy
Work to support access to and improve the quality of early childhood care and education has been an area of strong philanthropic activity over the past 15 years. Through funding, coalition building and public policy work many significant wins have been realized including a scholarship program providing millions to low-income families and the development of a quality rating system. Philanthropy has played a pivotal role in the policy landscape on this issue. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the organizing and coalition building methods used in this effort and the ways in which partners have collaborated to advocate for policies that work for all Minnesota families.
Track: Increasing Your Impact Activities: Neighbor Conversations and Small Group Work
Presenters: Denise Mayotte, Executive Director, Sheltering Arms Foundation; Lynn Haglin, Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director, Northland Foundation; Allison Corrado, Senior Program Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation; and Bharti Wahi, Executive Director, Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota

Foundation Type Discussions: Friday, February 14, 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Choose from 4 groups gathering during this time.

Family Foundation Peer Network, hosted by Kristen Cullen, Member Engagement Manager, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Corporate Giving Peer Network, hosted by Paul Masiarchin, Member Services Director, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Community Foundation Peer Network, hosted by Katina Mortensen, Director of Public Policy, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Independent Foundation Peer Network, hosted by Susie Brown, President, Minnesota Council on Foundations

Go back to the conference schedule