An Introduction to Community-Led Grantmaking: Working Sessions

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 10:00am - 12:00pm CDT

This moment calls on all of us to act differently in all we do. The racial reckoning coupled with external pressure for greater accountability has increased the demands that we change our behaviors, processes and structures to fully meet the moment. As stated in the MCF updated Principles for Philanthropy, “Positive impacts increase when we hold mutually respectful, direct relationships with the community. As a result of community engagement, philanthropic organizations become more relevant and more accountable to our community.” Proximity to community alone is not enough to ensure authenticity, accountability and real impact. While participatory grantmaking provides a mechanism to get input from community, the practice of community-led grantmaking provides an approach and behavior change that builds meaningful relationships by centering those closest to the pain, disrupts current power structures, and ensures that grantmaking is collaborative and not extractive.

In this 2-part workshop, the presenters will take you beyond the theory of community-led grantmaking and into its practice. You will be grounded in issues of power, proximity, community and philanthropy so that you can practice new approaches and develop an action plan that will truly center grantmaking power with community.

Learning Objectives: In this course you will:

  • Learn about the underpinnings and rationale for community-led grantmaking while getting grounded in community organizing principles and practices;
  • Begin to understand how power is not a zero-sum game;
  • Practice and explore Design Thinking as a process of getting grounded in community engagement;
  • Define your reasons for adopting community-led grantmaking and build out your vision for your foundation;
  • Determine your first steps and develop an action plan for your foundation;
  • Receive resources to help you on your journey toward community-led grantmaking;
  • Engage in exercises and reflection that stretch your thinking, push you out of your comfort zone and tap into your creativity.


Two-part Series: Participants must attend both sessions.

  • Wednesday September 22, 10:00 AM to Noon
  • Wednesday September 29, 10:00 AM to Noon

Pre- work: Please do the following work before the first session:

  1. Please review "Just Transition for Philanthropy" (one page). Think about where your foundation lands on the continuum in each of the areas. Is this where you want to be? What would it take to move towards "regenerative”?
  2. Reflect on the following question and come with an answer: How does our foundation define "community"?
  3. If you have time, take a look at the Phillips Family Foundation case study.

Registration Details: Your registration covers the cost for both days of this 2-part workshop series. MCF members may register 2 people from the same organization for a discounted rate of $250 ($125 each); to receive this discount, please reach out to Kristen Cullen ( Log-in details will be provided in your confirmation email.


Ron Harris is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis where he leads the development and implementation of the city's resilience strategy with a key emphasis on racial equity, economic inclusion and climate change adaptation. Prior to this role, he served as the Senior Advisor to the City Council President where he was instrumental in researching and negotiating public policy including the city's first municipal minimum wage increase, its innovative plan for economic growth and efforts to reduce violence in community. His career has been dedicated to social justice through the lenses of civic engagement, electoral politics, public private partnership and philanthropy. In addition, Ron is a sought-after public speaker focused on creating inspiring experiences and sparking personal and professional transformation.


Patrick Troska, Independent Consultant, is the former President of The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota. He joined the Foundation in 2000 as a Program Officer, was named Executive Director in 2011, and was promoted to President in 2018 -- a role he held until he left in March 2021. He provided leadership for the Foundation’s overall strategy and administrative functions and supported the Foundation’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem focus area. He also led the Foundation’s efforts to create ownership opportunities for local Black-owned businesses, to start a Black-led financial institution, and to help the Foundation become an anti-racist institution. Previously, he worked for the United Way of the Saint Paul Area, the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Minnesota Children's Museum. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from St. John's University and a Master of Arts from Augsburg University. Patrick has served in governance roles with Minnesota AIDS Project, Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative, and Association for Black Economic Power.
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