Illuminating Philanthropy: Speakers

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Keynote Speakers

Naaima Khan joined the Bush Foundation as a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow in 2015. Now a Program Manager with the Community Innovation team, she helps develop the Foundation's relationships, identifies investment opportunities, and consults with grantees and community partners. She leads evaluation work as well as work on diversity, equity and inclusion at the Foundation. Naaima has a master’s in Public Policy with a concentration in nonprofit studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to starting at the Foundation, she was a program officer with Greater Twin Cities United Way in the issue area of homelessness. Naaima serves on the board of the Islamic Resource Group and the Eastern Twin Cities Islamic Center (formerly known as the Islamic Society of Woodbury).  


Holly C. Sampson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. Under her leadership, the Community Foundation has grown from $6 million in assets in 1990 to over $79 million in 2019, while giving back over $59 million in grants and scholarships to local communities. Holly has over thirty years of experience in the philanthropic sector. Previously, she owned Endion Consultants, Ltd., served as a planner for the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and St. Louis County Social Services. Holly is an active member of the philanthropic community, serving as a member of the international Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Advisory Council, the Governing Council of the national Community Foundation Opportunity Network, Past President of Rotary Club of Duluth #25 and Past Chair of the Minnesota Council on Foundations Board of Directors. She earned a Bachelor of Elected Studies in Social Science Research from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Social Service and a Master of Law and Social Policy from Bryn Mawr College. 


William J. Doherty, Ph.D., is Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. As a Co-founder of Better Angels, Bill is helping Americans to learn the discipline of non-polarizing attitudes and words and to learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences and search for common ground. Bill is a practicing marriage and family therapist and past-President of the National Council on Family Relations. He has received the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. His recent work includes facilitating the Police and Black Men Project in Minneapolis. Bill holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. in Theology from St. Paul’s College.


The most important thing about Bukata Hayes is that he is the son of Dia Damani and Karen Hayes, husband to Lisa and father to Damani, Jalen, Zavier, and Zuri. In addition to this, since 2006 Bukata has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, a nonprofit focused on diversity, inclusion and equity in Southern Minnesota. In this role, he spearheads the organization’s efforts to include all across various dimensions of differences. Additionally, Bukata facilitates systems change processes, organization culture change, anti-racism work and inclusion/equity initiatives with K-12 school districts, higher education, community organizations, for-profit businesses and governmental agencies across Southern Minnesota, the state and the Midwest. Bukata is on the board of numerous organizations in Southern Minnesota and across the state including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, Blandin Foundation, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Mankato Hospital, Mankato Chapter of the NAACP, and Mankato’s Martin Luther King Jr., Commemorative Board. 


Workshop Breakout Speakers

As a Principal at CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), Ben Aase works with a range of nonprofit and foundation clients nationwide to drive change and results at the intersection of strategy, finance and operations. He has been involved in forming, growing, and restructuring several Native-led organizations, including the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Native Governance Center, The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, and the Assembly of First Nations. Prior to joining CLA, Ben helped start a company that provided outsourced accounting and financial advisory services to K—12 schools. Ben is a Director of the Cargill Foundation, a co-founder of Impact Hub MSP, and a former review board member for the Impact Ventures division of the Minnesota Cup. Ben was board treasurer of the Givens Foundation for African American literature and a founder of the Minneapolis Professional Chapter of Net Impact. Ben has his B.A. in Economics from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and an M.B.A. from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Imam Sharif Abdirahman Mohamed, also known to many as Sheik Abdirahman across Minnesota is the co-founder (1998) and Imam of the first mosque led by the Somali community in Minnesota. Imam Sharif also is co-founder of the Islamic Civic Society of America (ICSA) and Open Path Resources (OPR). OPR has led efforts to bridge Islamic principles to best practices in mental and physical health care. Sharif is certified as a trainer in Mental Health First Aid and an experienced certified trainer in Mind Body Medicine. He is well known as a leading North American Islamic scholar who makes the case that Islam is a critical voice for ensuring America is committed to its democratic principles. Graduating from Metropolitan State University with a BA degree in Family Counseling and with over 20 years of experience in family and marriage counseling, his leadership blends Islamic tradition and scholarship with Western scholarship and democratic principles. Imam Sharif became Minnesota’s first ever Muslim to complete the clinical pastoral education (CPE) program and to be hired as an interfaith hospital chaplain.

Allison Ahcan is Director of Communications at Blandin Foundation. Allison works with her team to support administrative and programmatic work of the foundation.  She also leads strategic initiatives such as the foundation’s Rural Pulse research initiative and community engagement around rural media.  She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and holds the Master of Business Communication from University of St. Thomas.  She returned home to Grand Rapids in 2007 to join Blandin Foundation after communications roles for nonprofits and associations in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. as well as founding and running her own St. Paul-based communications firm, True North Public Relations, for 13 years.  

Dr. Gifty Amarteifio, a Research and Evaluation Specialist, holds a Ph.D. in Evaluation Studies and a MA in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. She has conducted evaluations in K-12 education, higher education, community-based organizations, non-profits and government agencies. Her evaluation journey in these various sectors has allowed her to acquire skill around instrument development, purposeful data gathering, data analysis, and program implementation; all of which aids to her systems thinking approach to evaluation. Gifty has a wealth of experience using qualitative methods to discover areas of success and improvement, to support program development and delivery, to emerge guiding principles, and to identify behavior trends and group perspectives. She strives to work alongside individuals who can think outside of the box and bring both logic and lived experiences to solve challenging problems. Gifty comes alive when she can capitalize on her strengths as a researcher and her passions to understand and address complex social problems. 

Dr. Kathleen Annette, President and CEO of Blandin Foundation, leads her foundation in standing with rural Minnesota communities and leaders as they design and claim ambitious, vibrant futures.  A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota, Dr. Annette is enrolled with the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She earned her medical and undergraduate degrees from the University of Minnesota, the first Minnesota Ojibwe woman to become a physician. Dr. Annette retired in 2011 from federal service after 26 distinguished years, having served as Acting Deputy Director of Field Operations of Indian Health Service.  She was tapped by Blandin Foundation to take the helm of the state’s largest rural-based private foundation and one of only a handful nationally focused exclusively on strengthening rural communities.  

Kerrie Blevins is Founding President of Kerrie Blevins Consulting, providing executive and administrative services. Kerrie’s career in philanthropy is informed by her years of senior management and program leadership in community based nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities.. Her career in philanthropy and nonprofit management has spanned thirty years. She served as Foundation Manager of the James R. Thorpe Foundation for 12 years, helping the Foundation develop its focus on senior and intergenerational funding. Passionate about improving the field of philanthropy, Kerrie has been a peer educator for Exponent Philanthropy, the Minnesota Council on Foundations, and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Kerrie earned a Masters’ Degree in Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Kerrie is actively involved in the community and currently serves as Treasurer of Friends of Diamond Lake in Minneapolis; as Past President of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Alumni Society; and on the Finance Committee of the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. 

Eileen Briggs is Native Nation Building and Government Redesign Portfolio Director at Bush Foundation. Eileen, a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, served 20 years in tribal government, native non-profits and tribal colleges. She is the former executive director of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Ventures, a ten-year reservation-wide effort implementing tribally designed culture, community and economic development initiatives. When she joined the field of philanthropy in 2016, she increased the number of native persons working in philanthropy to just over thirty. Eileen is the Bush Foundation’s Equity Committee Co-Chair and currently serves on board of directors of the Minneapolis American Indian Center. She holds distinctions as former President of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, Native Nation Rebuilder, Bush Fellow and Leadership South Dakota graduate. Eileen holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. 

Claire Chang is Senior Program Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. Claire leads the Foundation’s effort to increase health equity in Minnesota by partnering with nonprofits to create safer, more welcoming, and socially connected communities. Claire brings more than two decades of community-involvement experience with — particular strengths in improving early childhood education outcomes, promoting racial equity, and increasing nonprofit capacity in governance, operations, and evaluation. Claire is a self-proclaimed nonprofit capacity-building geek. She is an active volunteer and has served on several boards, including her current appointment with Hope Community in Minneapolis. Claire also actively invests in her community by volunteering with the Coalition of Asian American Leaders and Pan Asian Voices for Equity.  

Allison Corrado is Senior Program Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, leading up the Foundation’s Healthy Start portfolio. Before joining the team in 2014, Allison was an employment specialist at the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center in Minneapolis, where she worked with local community and technical colleges along with community-based organizations to connect graduates of health care programs with jobs. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in family social science and master’s degrees in public policy and social work from the University of Minnesota. Allison is passionate about working in partnership with other organizations and advocates to advance health equity and dismantle systems of oppression. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughter and two cats. 

Donna Dalton is the Executive Director of Mortenson Family Foundation, a private family foundation located in Minneapolis. As the Foundation has grown over the past decade, she has strengthened grantmaking systems, supported organizational effectiveness, and built and enhanced relationships with the community and nonprofit sector. Previously, Donna assisted hundreds of individuals and families with their charitable giving at The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation. Not only did she share her knowledge of and passion for philanthropy, she also provided counsel on effective ways to give, created programs that benefited community, and enhanced donor satisfaction and engagement by helping people connect their values to their giving to ensure it was the most rewarding possible. She previously held positions in nonprofit development positions, including annual giving, campaign giving, and grant writing. She received a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University and a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Minnesota. 

Christine Diindiisi McCleave is an enrolled citizen of Turtle Mountain Ojibwe Nation, and Executive Director of The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. Christine's grandfather attended Marty Catholic Indian Boarding School in SD and Haskell Indian Boarding School in Kansas. Her great grandfather attended Carlisle Indian School. Boarding school’s inter-generational impacts on her personal life and children’s lives led Christine to complete her Master of Arts in Leadership research on the spectrum of spiritual practices between traditional Native American spirituality and Christianity and the legacy of the boarding schools on spiritual activities and Indian Activism today. She is trained in Trauma-Informed Practices, is a GONA facilitator, a Historical Trauma Recovery Specialist, a KAIROS Blanket Exercise Facilitator, and a fellow of the Nexus Community Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute. Christine has a Mini-MBA in Nonprofit Management from St. Thomas University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Northwestern College. 

Michael Dominowski serves as the President of the Thrivent Foundation and the Director of Community Affairs for Thrivent, the largest fraternal benefit society in the United States. In this role, he leads the organization’s direct community investments and employee engagement within communities. Prior to joining Thrivent, Michael led national and regional corporate responsibility efforts for Target Corporation. He was the co-founder of Dotopia, a Minnesota-based social venture focused on creating the first currency of charitable giving. Michael is a graduate of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and earned his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.  He is a member of the state bar in Minnesota. Currently, Michael serves on the boards of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, Minneapolis-St. Paul Workforce Innovation Network, and the CSR Council of the Conference Board. 

Wayne L. Ducheneaux II, enrolled with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is the Executive Director of the Native Governance Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to assist Tribal nations in strengthening their governance systems and capacity to exercise sovereignty. Prior to joining Native Governance Center, Wayne worked for his Tribe in various capacities. He managed the Cheyenne River Motel, a tribal enterprise; served as the Administrative Officer of the Tribe; and served as District 4 Council Representative with two of those years as Vice-Chairman. He is also a Native Nation Rebuilder from Cohort 3, and most importantly is husband and father. 

Sarah Duniway is a Nonprofit and Health Care Attorney at Lathrop GPM. When leaders at nonprofit organizations and foundations face legal challenges or obstacles, they turn to Sarah Duniway for guidance. Sarah facilitates her clients’ creative problem-solving skills and helps them arrive at the solutions that best serve their organizations’ goals. Clients trust Sarah for her ability to provide straightforward counsel on a wide range of questions, offering high-level perspective rooted in a deep understanding of the complexities of the law. Above all, Sarah delights in helping her clients accomplish their missions. Sarah serves as a trustee of Lathrop GPM Foundation, is a former managing partner of the firm, and serves on the boards of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Minnesota Council on Foundations. 

Linda Eagle Speaker serves as Elder in Residence, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center. Linda is a dually enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe located in Montana and the Blood tribe, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy of Southern Alberta, Canada. Employed for 15 years with the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center in the positions as: Intensive In-Home Worker, ICWA Collaborative Coordinator, Sacred Journey’s Program Director overseeing the MIWRC Sex Trafficking programs and currently Ceremonial Elder in Residence. Linda received her education at BSW Red Crow Community College in Southern Alberta, Canada. 

As Vice President of the Blandin Foundation, Wade Fauth is responsible for organizational assessment and planning as well as coordination of the Foundation’s leadership, policy, grants, communications, and information services activities. Previously, Wade was a manager for Land O’Lakes, Inc., agricultural cooperative, implementing economic restructuring programs in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans and Latin America. He also served as the Legislative Assistant for Agriculture to U.S. Senator Thomas Daschle. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer, graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., the American University Law School in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association. He joined the Blandin Foundation in 2001 as senior program officer for grants. 

Melanie Ferris is a Research Scientist at Wilder Research. Melanie manages a portfolio of applied research and evaluation projects focused primarily in the areas of public health and children’s mental health. Since joining Wilder Research in 2006, she has worked with local nonprofit organizations, Foundations, county departments, and state agencies to conduct community needs assessments, process evaluations that focus on program implementation and system changes, and research projects that examine changes in individual outcomes and program impact. She is experienced using a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches, working within collaborative stakeholder groups, and assisting programs in using evaluation results to guide program improvement. Melanie has a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Macalester College.  

Rev. Dr. Alika P. Galloway  is Co-Pastor of Liberty Community Church. Rev. Alika holds a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta Georgia in Womanist Ethics and World Religions. She is the Editor of the book: Living Waters, Living Stories and nationally known as a story teller and movement maker. A Bush Fellow, Rev. Alika serves as Executive Director of the Northside Healing Space. She is also the Creative Founder of the 21st. Century Middle School Academy. Nationally known as a Womanist Scholar and expert in health disparities impacting African American females, she received a Doctorate from Virginia Union University her dissertation addressed the care of African American women and girls who are victims of sexual violence and the commercial sex trade.   

Bill Graves is the Founding President of The John and Denise Graves Family Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Bill worked in the technology and creative consulting sectors as a business analyst, writer, producer, and resource manager. He lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters. In addition to his work at the foundation, Bill serves on the boards of the Minneapolis Foundation, Teach for America – Twin Cities, and Northeast College Prep charter school, as well as Minneapolis Public School’s World’s Best Workforce committee. 

Lynn Haglin is Vice President and KIDS PLUS Director at Northland Foundation. Lynn’s experience includes over 35 years in administration, community development, and education, with an extensive background in early care and education, youth development, and intergenerational programs.  Currently, she provides leadership for the Foundation’s KIDS PLUS Programs, including initiatives to increase availability of quality childcare and distribution of MN Early Learning Scholarships for northeast MN. She has designed and implemented model programs focused on child/youth development and intergenerational programming. Lynn is a member of boards and committees on the local, regional, and state levels and has recently been appointed to the MN Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. 

Susan Hammel, CFA, translates between mission-driven change makers and expert investors. Susan began her career at Prudential Impact Investments where she managed an $88 million impact portfolio and obtained her CFA® . Susan’s Harvard MPP and philosophy degree from Carleton College inspired her to leave Wall Street and use her financial acumen to help mission-driven organizations. Susan is Minnesota Council on Foundations' Executive in Residence for impact investing. Prior to this role, Susan was an active MCF volunteer in her capacity as Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. Since 1998 Susan spends most of her time as Founder and CEO of Cogent Consulting, PBC, where she and her team build bridges between philanthropy and traditional finance, serving foundations across the country who want to do good well.

Ambar Cristina Hanson is Community Relationship Officer at Mortenson Family Foundation. Ambar oversees the Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families grant program. Previously, she worked as Chief External Relations Officer at Hiawatha Academies. Since moving to Minnesota from the Dominican Republic 22 years ago, Ambar has been dedicated to promoting and advocating for immigrant communities and communities of color to have equal opportunity and access to higher education, jobs that provide livable wages, health, housing and safety. She has over ten years of experience advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors through several roles at Casa de Esperanza. An engaged member of her community, Ambar currently serves on the board for Latino Economic Development Center, Latino LEAD, Bigelow Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni of Color Association. Ambar is a recipient of the Mano Amiga Award from the Minnesota Latino Economic Development Center for her commitment and generous contribution of time and work on behalf of the Latino community.

Saanii Hernandez is Vice President of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She first joined the Women’s Foundation as senior program officer in 2012 and served as a trustee from 2007 to 2012. Prior to the Women’s Foundation, Saanii was part of staff leadership at Hispanics in Philanthropy, where she managed the Midwest and Southwest regions, facilitating local grantmaking and providing technical assistance to grantees in Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado, and New Mexico. She co-managed Firefly Community Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit program and organizational development. As an associate community liaison at the Northwest Area Foundation, she focused on research and community assessment working on projects with tribal communities and Latinos in rural regions. Saanii earned a BA in American studies with an ethnic studies focus and a concentration in women’s studies, from Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota. 

Mark Hiemenz is Donor Advisor at The Minneapolis Foundation. Mark has more than 25 years of experience in the philanthropic, corporate and nonprofit sectors, serving at organizations including the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Ameriprise Financial and HandsOn Twin Cities. He has been a nonprofit executive director, corporate community relations director and a community foundation philanthropic advisor.  A longtime champion of diversity and equity, he served on the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation’s Racial Equity Leadership Team and has engaged many organizations in managing unconscious bias. He has served on numerous boards of directors, including Minnesota Alliance With Youth, Minnesota Council on Foundations and the Corporate Volunteerism Council. At Wiser Paths, his consulting practice, Mark focuses on building organizational culture and capacity. He believes that the core strength of an organization lies with motivated staff and board working together smoothly in alignment with a mission-driven strategy. 

Andreas Hipple is Executive Director of the Better Way Foundation. Andreas leads the foundation’s efforts to advance early childhood development (ECD) in Indian Country and Tanzania through an approach that centers the leadership, priorities, cultures, and knowledge present in partner communities. Under his leadership in 2018, BWF made a 10-year, $10-million commitment to Indigenous ECD, approved its first program-related investment in a Native CDFI in 2019, and has added two Indigenous board members to a family-majority foundation board. Prior to 2018, Andreas served for six years as a senior advisor to both Better Way and GHR Foundation. At GHR, he led the Inter-Religious Action initiative, a ground-breaking effort to strengthen social cohesion through inter-religious collaboration on issues of common concern. Andreas served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, and holds both an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in economics from Carleton College.

Nancy L. Jacobs is Sundance Family Foundation‘s CEO, Cofounder and Board President. Nancy holds an M.Ed. in Parent and Family Education from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. from Boston University. Nancy focused her early career in teaching early childhood development/parent education and teen parenting. Outside of directing the work of the foundation Nancy is a business entrepreneur with a keen interest in expanding her and her husband Mark’s social enterprises, which include affordable housing. Nancy and Mark's free time is divided among their Minnesota and Colorado children and their grandchildren, and adventures that have or will soon include: truffle hunting, scuba diving with octopuses, and global volunteering.

Jenny Johnson is Director of the Family Philanthropy Resource Center at The Minneapolis Foundation. She partners with families and individuals to make charitable impact in our community. She focuses on helping multi-generational families align their giving with their values to bring clarity, focus, passion and strategy to their philanthropy. She has 18 years of fund development and outreach experience in varied nonprofit settings, including a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Chicago, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota, and Cornerstone Advocacy Service. Prior to joining The Minneapolis Foundation in 2015, Jenny was Vice President of Resource Development at Aeon, an affordable housing nonprofit. She holds a B.A. in sociology from North Park University in Chicago. 

Suzanne Koepplinger is the Director of the Catalyst Initiative at the Minneapolis Foundation. Previously she served for ten years as the executive director of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, where she led the first research, community response, and program implementation in the country to address sex trafficking of American Indian women and girls. In that capacity, she has twice testified before Congress and is a certified trainer for the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) and the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center (NHTTTC). Suzanne holds a Master’s degree in the Art of Leadership from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, and is one of 15 national leaders chosen for the NoVo Foundation’s first Move to End Violence cohort. She has extensive international experience as a trainer and public speaker.

A resident of Bigfork, Minnesota, Dr. Heidi Korstad has been a Blandin Foundation Trustee since 2011. Since 2018 she has chaired the foundation’s board of trustees, which features 12 highly diverse, greatly accomplished leaders from across Minnesota.  She recently retired from roles as a member of the medical staff of Bigfork Valley Hospital, Medical Director of the Bigfork Ambulance Association and as a physician in the Scenic Rivers Clinic.  She is a graduate of University of Minnesota, Duluth and the UMD Medical School and of family practice residency at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. Heidi has worked as a volunteer in countries around the world, including Liberia, Guyana and Tanzania.  Closer to home, she has been a major force behind Bigfork’s acclaimed Edge of the Wilderness Performing Arts Center.    

John E. Larsen is a Partner at Design Forty Five, a residential design firm located in Minneapolis, and holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his professional practice, John is actively involved in various nonprofit efforts, particularly those dedicated to the environment, philanthropy and social justice. John serves as a non-family board member and investment committee chair at the Marbrook Foundation. He is also president of the John Larsen Family Foundation. John lives with his husband Mike and their adopted youth in south Minneapolis where he spends an inordinate amount of time tending their garden.

Joel Luedtke is Program Director at the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota. Joel serves as the point person for the Foundation’s Student Centered Learning grantmaking strategy, and has primary responsibility for the Foundation’s overall impact and evaluation efforts. Joel also has considerable experience in adult workforce development.

Denise Mayotte is the Executive Director of the Sheltering Arms Foundation, a small foundation that makes grants statewide to non-profits that help Minnesota’s most vulnerable children. Sheltering Arms funds early childhood and out-of-school time programs and supports public policy efforts in both of these areas. Denise is the co-chair of the Start Early Funders Coalition. She is on the board of the Minnesota Council on Foundations and co-chairs its Government Relations and Public Policy Committee. She is also a board member of Voqal, a national funder of social justice efforts. Denise holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and was a policy fellow with the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  She is a mother and grandmother and lives in south Minneapolis with her husband.  

Lulete Mola is committed to social change that is intersectional, asset-based, and led by communities most impacted. As the Vice President of Community Impact at the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, Lulete puts this commitment to action as she leads the implementation and management of the Foundation’s grantmaking, evaluation, leadership, and field-building programs that enable large-scale systems change. In this role, she also leads the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota. Lulete sits on the board of the Minnesota Council of Foundations. Lulete is devoted to engaging in and supporting community organizing, movement building, and work to advance women's leadership. Lulete also leads professional development initiatives in Minnesota’s East African community and is active in the movement for Black lives. Lulete is the recipient of the Humanity in Action Fellowship, Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project Fellowship, the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship and the Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity Award. Lulete graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. 

Brian Paulson is the Senior Program Officer at the Pohlad Family Foundation. Brian was the 2019 Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative Chair.

Chuck Peterson is the Executive Director of the Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative.

Kyrra Rankine is Director of Partnerships and Initiatives with the John and Denise Graves Foundation. Kyrra is the 2020 Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative Co-Chair.

Melissa Rudnick is the Program Director at Headwaters Foundation for Justice,  where she co-leads the Foundation’s community-led grantmaking, support beyond the dollars, and strategic partnership initiatives. She joined Headwaters Foundation in 2014, after over a decade of community, labor, issue, and faith-based organizing. She is a proud alumni of COR, a multi-racial, multi-faith cohort of community organizers. In addition to organizing, she brings years of facilitation, training, leadership development, campaign planning, and community engagement experience to her role. She is honored to play a role in resourcing and supporting local movements for social change. 

Kate Seng is Senior Director at GHR Foundation. She oversees GHR’s higher education funding, including grants to the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine University, the Opus College of Business at University of St. Thomas, and the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University. Kate also manages GHR’s client relationships, oversees family engagement, and supports GHR’s governance work. Prior to joining GHR Foundation, Kate served as consultant for the Minnesota Community Foundation, the Saint Paul Foundation, Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation and others. She was a senior manager at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, where she developed and managed community-wide initiatives focused on affordable housing, workforce development and anti-racism efforts. Seng was the district director for Minnesota’s Congressman Bruce Vento, where she directed the Congressman’s Minnesota efforts. Kate earned a master's degree in public affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Catherine’s University.

Geetu Sharma is the Founder of AlphasFuture LLC and the lead portfolio manager of the ImpactAlpha Investment Strategy, an equity portfolio focused on sustainability and impact. Geetu has nearly 2 decades experience in the global financial markets across equity and debt. She co-managed a global equities franchise with a sustainability focus and a combined AuM of $4bn at Pictet Asset Management in Geneva, Switzerland. Geetu has also spent a number of years with Credit Suisse HOLT in London, UK. Geetu holds an MBA from London Business School (Dean’s List). Geetu is an active member of the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem. She has recently joined the Professional Advisors Committee at the Minneapolis Foundation and is also a mentor at the Carlson School of Management, Student Investment Fund. Geetu is based in Minneapolis with her husband and 2 daughters.

As Vice President of Operations and Learning for the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Nadege Souvenir oversees grants administration, human resources and IT. Nadege also leads the Foundation’s learning and evaluation efforts, including East Metro Pulse, a community vitality survey and report of life in Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties, which she launched in 2016. Nadege joined the Foundation in 2016. She has a background in dance, arts administration and law. Nadege earned a bachelor’s in communication studies and a bachelor’s in liberal studies with an emphasis in dance from Iowa State University; a master’s degree in arts administration from St. Mary’s University; and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law.  

Molly Sullivan is a Founding Member of TerraLuna. Molly received her Master of Public Policy Degree from Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from New York University and has maintained a passion for education ever since. Molly has also worked for the Human Capital Research Collaborative, Penguin Press, Transportation Alternatives, and the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. In the course of her graduate program, she founded Young Education Professionals—Twin Cities, interned at the Minnesota House of Representatives, designed a pilot teacher evaluation system for a network of charter schools in her capacity as an Education Pioneers fellow in Washington, D.C., and worked on the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Prior to joining TerraLuna, Molly worked for Minneapolis Public Schools as an administrator focused on diversifying the teaching workforce through “Grow Your Own” programs. Molly Sullivan currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for TerraLuna Collaborative. 

Cathy tenBroeke is the Assistant Commissioner and Executive Director of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness. Cathy is an Ex-Officio Member of Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative.

Mala Thao has been in the philanthropic sector for almost 20 years and is currently a Philanthropic Advisor at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (SPMF).  She helps people become smarter philanthropists by working with them to find their philanthropic mission and values.  Mala strengthens SPMF by serving on its equity team that seeks to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value, with a focus on racial equity.  She trains staff to have a deeper understanding of the many facets of identity, justice and equity.  Mala has recently served on the board of Headwaters Foundation for Justice.   

Patti Tototzintle identifies as a Latina with Mexican roots and has been in executive leadership at Casa de Esperanza since 2002, where she oversees all organizational programming, administrative and financial operations, and key collaborations and partnerships. She is passionate about developing the strengths of Latin@s and is recognized as a national expert on leadership development. 

Bharti Wahi joined Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota as its Executive Director in 2016. She brings 20 years of professional experience as an advocate in the nonprofit world and more than a dozen years in education: her strengths include strategic planning, program and project management, collaborations and community partnerships, and budget development and financial management with a focus on equity and inclusion. Prior to her current role, she spent three years with Greater Twin Cities United Way, as well as, five years with Children and Family Program for the Minnesota Literacy Council. Bharti is a fellow with the Annie E. Case Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship and sits on the national KIDS COUNT Steering committee for the foundation.  She was appointed to the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council, the City of St. Paul’s 3K Steering Committee, a member of the policy committee for the Greater Metropolitan Work Force Council and is a board member for Women Organizing Women.  She received her B.A. from the Saint Catherine University and her M.A. from the University of Chicago.

Tracey Zephier is Attorney General at Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and a Bush Foundation board member. Tracey brings to the board broad experience in tribal/state relations, economic development and state administration. Prior to these roles, she was a partner in the Rapid City, South Dakota, law firm of Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan and previously was the president and CEO of First Nations Oweesta Corporation, focusing on creating and sustaining Native community development financial institutions on Indian reservations throughout the United States. Tracey has also served as a banker, an auditor for the South Dakota Department of Labor and executive director of the South Dakota Equal Justice Commission. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, she was named to the first cohort of the Bush Foundation’s Native Nation Rebuilders Program in 2010. Other service includes: adjunct professor, University of South Dakota School of Law; adjunct professor, Oglala Lakota College; and board member, Native Governance Center.