Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship

Background on the Fellowship

In 2013 MCF and Bush Foundation partnered to launch a program to prepare individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. That fellowship was imagined to be about more than changing the face of leadership in philanthropy; it was intended to also infuse new ideas and viewpoints into the field.

In July of 2013, the world lost Ron McKinley: a mentor, philanthropist, and change-agent. Ron was a person known for tireless work across his career to ensure that all people from traditionally under-served communities could be afforded equal access, opportunities, and necessary resources to fully participate in philanthropy. In honor of Ron and his legacy - and with his family's blessing - the fellowship was named in his remembrance.

Ron McKinley’s values and his desire to see underrepresented people fully included, valued and thriving across systems is a guidepost for today’s Minnesota Council on Foundations Ron McKinley Fellowship Program.

Revisiting Ron’s Legacy in Fall 2017

As our community quickly approaches five years of the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship, MCF is pledging a renewed commitment to honor and illuminate Ron McKinley’s legacy. We are proud of what the Fellows and their host organizations have achieved in this short time. The Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship has grown us fundamentally as an organization; Fellows (past and present) are all successfully shaping and leveraging the field of philanthropy.

In partnership with site hosts, current and former fellows - and with guidance from our membership - in Fall 2017, MCF will reimagine the Ron McKinley Fellowship Program. This reimagining will honor important learning to-date, respond to changes in our field and position this program to lead philanthropy into the future.

Partnering with Imagine Deliver

MCF is happy to be working with Imagine Deliver to engage in a creative design process this August – October to imagine what’s next for the program. We appreciate the community-centered and collaborative values they bring to this work as well as their contextual understanding of Minnesota philanthropy.

No Fall 2017 Selection Process

With the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship Redesign process underway, MCF has made the strategic decision to not hold a recruitment and selection process for new Fellows in Fall 2017.

We remain committed to ensuring a strong experience for all current Fellows through their Fellowship term, but plan to wait on making new 3-year commitments until MCF has completed this design process in partnership with the community we serve. MCF’s goal is to introduce the second iteration of this important program by Spring of 2018.

For Those Interested in Philanthropy

If you are curious about philanthropy and interested in building your skills in grantmaking, here is another great opportunity to do this through Headwaters Foundation for Justice – The Giving Project:

Trista Harris, MCF President, hosts monthly group informational interview sessions for those curious about philanthropy and looking to build connections in the field. If you would like to learn about the date/time for the next meeting, email Brianna Kocka at

MCF’s Promise

Minnesota Council on Foundations promises the following to Ron McKinley, the McKinley family, current and former Fellows, Fellowship Host Foundations, MCF members, and the community at-large:

  • An Affirming Process. The Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship Redesign process will build on and affirm the legacy of Ron McKinley and amplify the voices of Indigenous and People of Color. It will be led by reflective facilitators and elevate historically underrepresented voices. This process will invite you to lead the field toward increased understanding, reflective representation, cultural responsiveness and efficacy.

  • A Community-Centered Approach. We pledge to deliver a strong and vibrant program that reflects Ron McKinley’s values and honors your input. MCF will center you in all facets of the Redesign process including in the development of alternatives and the identification of our final program design.

  • A Commitment to Action. MCF promises to take your advice, to elevate the Redesign process’ innovative solutions. We promise to incorporate those solutions into the renewed program design to the maximum extent possible, while remaining committed to building a diverse and vibrant philanthropic talent pipeline.

  • Transparent Sharing. We will openly share our process, learning, data and final product with you.

Participate in Next Steps

Imagine Deliver’s creative design process will include five design sessions with Fellowship alumni, current Fellows, Site Supervisors, MCF members (hosted by MCF’s Program & Conference Committee) and the MCF staff. All information gathered across our design sessions will culminate in tangible and actionable recommendations for a re-imagined program that seeks to honor Ron McKinley’s legacy and the Fellows’ and host foundations’ experiences to-date.

In addition to these in-person sessions, we want everyone who would like to be heard to share their input. Please join us in remembering Ron and shaping the next iteration of this program.

Did you know Ron McKinley and learned something important from him? This process seeks to honor his values. Share your wisdom about Ron McKinley, his work, and his values:

Do you have ideas, thoughts, or feedback about the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship? Guide our work:

Meet the Current Fellows and Alums: