MCF Public Policy Retreat — Human & Civil Rights

Friday, June 22, 2018 10:00am - 3:00pm CDT
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455


MCF members, and the American public at large, have recently been confronted and challenged with questions related to human and civil rights. What are the core human and civil rights that must be defended? What is our sector’s role in advocating for and protecting these rights? How does human and civil rights work square with our organizational mission and values and our grantmaking priorities? Where does our voice fit, and what should we say?

As we all individually and organizationally are confronted with these questions, there have been compelling local  examples of philanthropy finding its voice and responding quickly when human and civil rights were under threat. For example, Solidarity Minnesota was started as a response to the travel ban, and BEtter OUTcomes emerged following concerns about threats to LGBTQ inclusion.

As MCF members have become more actively engaged in issues of human and civil rights, a conversation has started about how to bring this focus into MCF’s public policy agenda. The focus of this retreat will be to ground MCF members in human and civil rights, to understand how they can show up in a policy context on a variety of issue areas [healthcare, immigration, housing, LGBTQ, etc.], and to engage in a conversation about how MCF can support member interest in this area by bringing a human and civil rights focus into its public policy work.

This retreat will be co-hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The Humphrey School can offer MCF and its members significant content expertise and research on this topic. Our keynote speaker will be Barbara Frey, Director of the University of MN’s Human Rights Program. Humphrey professor Fernando Burga will also play a key role at the retreat; he brings a focus on immigrant and refugee issues, particularly in a rural context. 

In addition to our partners at the Humphrey School, other key speakers will include grantmakers working in this space and local advocates with on-the-ground knowledge of how human and civil rights conversations are playing out in Minnesota today. Confirmed panelists include:

  • Michele Garnett McKenzie, Deputy Director & Director of Advocacy, The Advocates for Human Rights
  • Alfred Walking Bull, Communications Manager, PFund Foundation
  • Kathy Bonnifield, Program Officer, The Proteus Fund
  • Cat Salonek, Policy and Organizing Director, OutFront Minnesota
  • Patrick Ness,  Public Policy Director, Wilder Foundation
  • Amir Malik, Civil Rights Director, Council on American Islamic Relations - MN
  • Susan Lorenz, Director of Community Programs at CommunityGiving

This retreat is open to all MCF members. Members of MCF’s public policy committee, MCF’s working groups, and any other members interested in or working in an area connected to civil and human rights are strongly encouraged to attend. Lunch will be served at the retreat.

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