Organization Name: 
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Minnesota Council on Foundations is pleased to provide a competitive compensation package. Benefits include health, dental, life and disability insurance, generous paid time off, contribution to retirement plan, and a flexible work environment.

Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) is a premiere regional membership association serving the state’s philanthropic community. Membership is open to any foundation, corporation, tribe, institution, government, or philanthropic entity, including educational institutions, giving circles, donor-advised funds, and medical or healthcare foundations. While members' grantmaking budgets, styles and program interests vary, all share a common goal to make their involvement in philanthropy as effective as possible. They seek to advance their own impact as well as that of the philanthropy field as a whole.

Minnesota Council on Foundations is a vibrant philanthropic community collectively advancing prosperity and equity.

In 2015, MCF embarked on a strategy development process to recommit its legacy of serving members and adapt to changing times. With new challenges, philanthropy must ask itself: How do we prepare for what’s coming next? If we prepare for a problem before it lands on our doorstep, it can become a huge opportunity. We can harness that change and create a much bigger, positive impact in this world.

Purpose and Strategies
Together with nearly 180 members, and using these focused strategies, MCF fulfills its purpose to the community:

Amplify and share members’ activities, learning and impact
MCF, with support from the Bush Foundation, hired an executive in residence who brought curious minds together to learn and grow. The peer-learning group that formed quickly morphed into a collaborative working group when members decided to put their ideas into action. With MCF’s support, nearly a dozen foundations have come together to create an impact investing pool already worth close to $15 million.

This investment pool is now moving through a review process.  In addition, Otto Bremer Trust and Bush Foundation have field-building infrastructure grants to support the work. With a unique financial structure that makes it easier for foundations to manage their investments within a shared fund, the MCF group is the first of its kind in the country to unveil a joint mission investing pool.

Anticipate future trends
Through a relatively simple scenario planning tool, MCF has helped members gain clarity and move on to the work of developing possible futures within the new federal landscape. MCF is available to talk to member staffs and boards about what these scenarios may mean for each unique organization.

Deepen relationships among members
Networks are one of members’ favorite ways to connect with peers and learn from each other. MCF is investing more staff time into the support of networks and is building virtual capacity to support those networking opportunities. A new online resource called The Hub has been created for members to connect and share information and best practices.

MCF member organizations are dedicated to learning, connecting, furthering diversity and equity, and making an impact. People new to MCF are often surprised and delighted by the depth and breadth of opportunities provided to engage, grow, and contribute. Programs and services include:

Advocacy: MCF engages in advocacy and public policy as a vibrant philanthropic community working collectively to advance prosperity and equity. MCF seeks to:

  1. Foster trust and understanding of philanthropy.
  2. Actively promote policies that elevate the impact of philanthropy.
  3. Support members and key allies in their efforts to have an impact through a strategic focus on policy priorities that lead to a future of prosperity and equity for all Minnesotans.

Executive in Residence: Made possible with a grant from the Bush and Otto Bremer Foundations, the Executive in Residence program enables seasoned experts to deepen their work on a topic, contribute thought leadership to the field, build philanthropic connections and turn concepts into opportunities for collaboration and action. MCF’s first executive in residence is an expert resource on mission investing. A mission (impact) investment is made by a mission-based organization and is designed to generate social and financial returns. The Executive in Residence meets with foundation administrators, board members and trustees and co-founded the Mission Investing Network.

Peer Networks: Members who work at the same type of foundation or have similar job responsibilities or social identities are able to come together to connect with their peers, exchange information and learn from each other:

  • ComMotion Network – for communications-related job responsibilities
  • Corporate Community Affairs Professionals Network – for members interested in discussing the unique issues and opportunities within corporate philanthropy, community relations and corporate social responsibility.
  • Family Foundation Professionals Network – for family foundation members interested in discussing the unique issues and opportunities in family philanthropy.
  • Finance & Operations Network – for members that perform primarily internally focused work such as finance, operations, HR, and IT to support foundation success and effectiveness.
  • Global Funders Network – for members with global grantmaking job responsibilities.
  • Midwest Independent Community Foundations Network – for place-based independent community foundation members with an asset size of less than $250 million located in the Upper Midwest that respect, and do not compete in, the geographic territory of other network members.
  • Mission Investing Network – for members exploring or engaging in mission investing.
  • People of Color Network – for people of color working in philanthropy.
  • Program Officers Network – for members that conduct due diligence on grant requests.

Working Groups: In working groups, members explore public policy and engage in peer learning and networking. They promote awareness of the issues among other grantmakers and develop policy reform recommendations for a public policy agenda. Working groups include:

  • Democracy Funders Working Group – for members interested in addressing grantmaking practices, issues, and public policy and systems change related to strengthening democratic systems and civic engagement.
  • LGBTQ Funders Working Group – for members interested in addressing grantmaking practices, issues, and public policy and systems change related to strengthening the LGBTQ community.
  • Minnesota Disaster Philanthropy Working Group – for members interested in addressing grantmaking practices, issues, and gaps or opportunities in systems and policy related to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and long-term community resiliency.
  • Rural Funders Working Group – for members interested in addressing grantmaking practices, issues, and public policy and systems change related to strengthening rural communities.

Collaborations –Collaborations are a way for MCF members and non-members to take action together on activities that are time-sensitive or autonomous. These include joint projects or initiatives, pooling or aligning funding, planning a large convening, developing and advocating for an independent policy agenda at the legislature, etc. Collaborations include:

  • Finish Strong Funders Coalition for Aging Services – connects a wide array of public and private funders dedicated to supporting older adults in the community.
  • Minnesota Food Funders Network – a group of Minnesota-based funders who make informed, coordinated and strategic investments to improve key facets of our food system.

Professional Development: MCF knows that philanthropy practitioners are continually seeking new ways to be effective in their work. Professional developmental programs such as a highly rated annual conference, signature programs, issue briefings and others keep members at the top of their careers.

Visibility: MCF loves to spotlight members and their good work through shared stories. MCF communicates with a wider audience through coverage in MCF publications, by the local media and more.

Voice: MCF provides a unified voice to strengthen and protect philanthropy and advance the voice of philanthropy in support of inclusion and equity by representing members before elected officials, the media, nonprofits, and the general public.

Service and Support: MCF staff values deep relationships with members, and supports member organizations goals. Members receive personalized attention from knowledgeable staff professionals committed to helping them excel.

Leadership: Members can help shape the direction of philanthropy in Minnesota and beyond by participating on an MCF committee or on its board of directors, and as a sponsor for special initiatives. These are leadership opportunities that help strengthen philanthropy in Minnesota.


MCF works from a Diversity Framework guided by two values:

  • The quality of grantmaking is enhanced when grantmaking organizations reflect the cultural diversity of the communities they serve through their grants.
  • Every private grantmaking organization has the responsibility and the capacity to understand issues of diversity and inclusivity, and should take action in each role where opportunities exist.

MCF members perform this vital work in various roles:

Grantmakers as Funders - Grantmaking organizations are responsible for the prudent management and distribution of charitable funds. Grantmakers improve the quality of life of identified groups, respond to community needs, and address the root causes of problems. Funding priorities reflect the diverse needs and opportunities of communities served through grantmaking, and need to mirror the diversity of the communities they fund.

Grantmakers as Employers – Increasing staff diversity enriches grantmaking. In order to be accountable to their constituencies, grantmakers have the responsibility to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve through their grantmaking.

Grantmakers as Economic Entities – Grantmakers may create economic opportunities for all members of the communities they serve. Through investments and purchasing decisions, funders can support minority-owned businesses and participate in the development of a healthy economic system employing a diverse workforce.

Grantmakers as Community Citizens – Foundations and corporate giving programs have a responsibility to serve the public good. As citizens, grantmakers must be engaged in and responsive to the communities they serve through their grantmaking. Through community involvement, their ability to recognize and support diversity will be strengthened.


Staff members describe the MCF culture as one that is unique and changing. People who work at MCF are passionate with a style of actively bringing ideas and energy to their work. They value relationships and collaboration. Staff members seek to be forward thinking and creative in how they approach members and member services. 

The MCF offices, located in the North Loop section of Minneapolis, are designed to encourage interaction and sharing by staff and to be a gracious and welcoming space for members.

The President provides expert strategic and operational guidance to an organization centered on its members. Also, the President seeks to enhance and expand the organization’s recognized leadership in philanthropy at a time of increasing change in the field. Key areas of focus for the President will be MCF’s continuing work in diversity, equity and inclusion, and public policy. The President interacts with a broad set of stakeholders including staff, board members, elected officials and peers in the philanthropy profession. As the primary spokesperson for MCF, the President frequently acts as the voice and representative of the organization, its members, and the philanthropy sector in Minnesota and nationally.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Champion and implement the strategic plan of the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Clearly articulate the organizational goals for financial and programmatic stability as well as growth for the future.
  • Understand and support a healthy organizational culture at MCF. Respect and uphold the positive aspects of the culture from the past while modifying and enhancing the culture as the organization moves into the future.
  • Motivate and inspire others to act by supporting and clearly articulating the organization’s strategic direction, mission and vision.
  • Develop excellent relations with members. Recruit and retain member organizations across Foundation types. Continue to learn about evolving member needs, interests and ideas for learning, connection and change.
  • Understand, participate in, and champion public policy issues on behalf of MCF.
  • Uphold and further MCF’s programs in diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Lead with strong and effective internal relationships, acting as a cooperative team leader and welcoming team player.
  • Oversee excellence in the financial and operational management of the organization. Assess and improve infrastructure, processes and procedures. Consider new sources of revenue to contribute to financial stability and growth.
  • Collaborate with the talented board of directors and the board committees. Effectively engage and communicate with honesty and transparency.
  • Enthusiastically and positively model the values of MCF, including maintaining excellent relations with peers at national affiliate organizations.

Management Responsibilities

The President at MCF will be an authentic leader of people who brings a nuanced approach to empowering others. Roles reporting directly to the President are: Director of Public Policy and Communications, Director of Program Strategy and DEI, Director of Finance and Operations, and an Executive Assistant. There are twelve staff members currently at MCF. The President will:

  • Develop and retain a high performing staff, particularly supporting and strengthening the senior management team, the capacity of core internal functions, and the commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Model and assist the staff in building and maintaining strong relationships and providing outstanding service to members. Find ways to excite and engage a robust cadre of MCF members in a changing industry.
  • Ensure excellence in the operation of the organization by assigning work and projects effectively across the organization.
  • Manage with good business instincts, fairness, grace, and effective administrative management skills.

Candidates for this executive position will be accomplished, visionary and inclusive leaders with at least 10-12 years of related work experience, from the fields of association management/member organizations or related non-profit or community leadership. Background and familiarity with the field of philanthropy is also critical. Essential skills and experience include:

  • A passion to lead a member services organization and a commitment to the value brought by member organizations. Also, knowledge of the field of philanthropy and the philanthropy-serving purposes of MCF.
  • Experience working successfully with a broad set of stakeholders and in the public domain, ideally having served as a key spokesperson of an organization.
  • Integrity and stature in the community and a reputation as a leader of humility, transparency, and collaboration.
  • Outstanding strategic planning experience, proven operational background, exemplary administrative management skills, and a strong commitment to the mission, vision, and values of MCF.
  • Values and experience leading efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Proven acumen with public policy and stakeholder engagement.

A Master’s degree in a related field such as a nonprofit management, business administration or public administration is preferred; a Bachelor’s degree is required.

Other essential skills and experience include:

  • Demonstrated success in organizational leadership, with proven competence in guiding the development and implementation of a strategic plan, successful organizational positioning, and translating ideas to reality.
  • Background in a member services organization with a strong sense of best practices in working with member organizations and member representatives.
  • Background and understanding of the foundation and philanthropic sector.
  • Knowledge of current trends and emerging models for member organizations, especially philanthropy-serving organizations.
  • Proven, practical experience in leading operations, including program management, marketing, member services, and publications.
  • Proven operational competence in areas such as financial management, budgeting, tracking and reporting, marketing, technology, internal processes, procedures, and infrastructure development.
  • Expertise in public communications, public relations, fundraising, and marketing of the organization and its programs and services. Ability to make connections and “tell the story” of MCF.
  • Experience building, managing, and strengthening high performing teams, with an eye toward empowerment and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience and skill working directly with and for a board of directors.
  • A positive orientation including the ability to optimistically manage change initiatives and skillfully navigate working in the “gray area,” when there are not obvious answers. Capacity to bring stability to an organization, while also assessing and making necessary changes.
  • Ability and commitment to envision and describe the long-term future of the organization in a way that inspires and motivates staff, members and other key stakeholders.
  • Ability and commitment to be an engaging ambassador and advocate for MCF with members, community and government leaders, including the ability to skillfully and gracefully manage, at times, the needs of competing stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects. Skill in monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing program activities in a spirit of continuous improvement and exceeding member expectations.

These Values are Shared by All MCF Staff

  • Serve as a positive ambassador of MCF’s mission, programs, and brand.
  • Provide leadership by acting with vision, courage, creativity, and commitment.
  • Create connections, leverage relationships, and collaborate with the objective of promoting shared learning and impact.
  • Apply principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to galvanize diverse voices and perspectives to advance equity.
  • Respect and value all relationships and always assume best intentions.
  • Practice radical hospitality by making MCF a welcoming and trusted organization where people feel they matter and belong.
  • Embrace fun as part of doing good work.

These Competencies are Shared All MCF Staff:

  • Acquire and share knowledge and skills to understand and advance the work of MCF’s members and to shine a bright light on Minnesota philanthropy.
  • Acquire knowledge and skills to engage grantmakers as MCF members and part of a community where they find rewarding relationships, shared learning, professional growth, and opportunities to increase the impact of their work through collective action.
  • Acquire and share knowledge and skills to prepare MCF members to be effective in a diverse society.
  • Acquire and share knowledge and skills to support MCF members in being active and engaged community participants, and a relevant voice advancing public policy to promote philanthropy, charitable giving, inclusion, and equity.
  • Acquire and share knowledge and skills to support MCF communications, marketing, and public relations activities.
  • Contribute to the organization’s effectiveness. Engage in routine organizational planning, teambuilding, and personal professional development activities. Play a role in presenting major MCF events such as its annual conference, annual membership meeting, and other large membership events.
  • Demonstrate compliance with MCF’s operating policies, procedures, and commitment to proper stewardship of resources.
  • Skill with technology, including experience with multiple computer and electronic communication software and platforms.

Ballinger | Leafblad welcomes you to contact us for more information:

Marcia Ballinger, PhD


Lars Leafblad, MBA

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, January 26, 2019