Mortenson Family Foundation Welcomes Community Members to its Sustaining Environmental Systems Committee

Monday, September 13, 2021

Inspired by the hope, solidarity, and commitment of partnership with community, Mortenson Family Foundation has formally begun involving community on its grantmaking committees. The Foundation is pleased to announce that Rodrigo Cala, Cala Farms; Sachiko Graber, Climate Policy Specialist; Brett Ramey, Consultant; Darlene St. Clair, Saint Cloud State University; and Janiece Watts, Fresh Energy, have accepted the invitation to join Alice Mortenson, Chris Mortenson, Mark Mortenson, and Mathias Mortenson on the Sustaining Environmental Systems grantmaking committee.

Over the past year, the Foundation concentrated intently on learning about, reaching out and listening to, and working with community members through focus groups and a workshop, as well as multiple one-on-one conversations. That process resulted in a wealth of thoughtful feedback and suggestions for bringing the Foundation’s grant guidelines into alignment with its racial equity commitments. 

“This process introduced us to so many excellent people, some of whom we invited to serve on our grantmaking committee. We are still on our learning journey, but one thing is clear – the deeper we go, the more we understand the importance of working toward having community at the center of the Foundation’s work. Our expanded committee will help us move toward this goal,” explained Danyelle O’Hara, Mortenson Family Foundation Community Relationship Officer.

“I’m thrilled that we are moving this work forward. While we started without knowing where we would end, we all became committed to the process and excited about it. The committee was there for the workshop and the most important thing for us was to be honest and encourage all questions, which established a culture of challenge and skepticism. I learned that the first part is about listening, the second is about honesty, and the third is about stepping back,” replied Chris Mortenson, Chair, Mortenson Family Foundation Sustaining Environmental Systems Committee.


Mortenson Family Foundation welcomes sharing of information about inviting community members to join our grantmaking committees. For questions and further discussion, please contact:

Donna Dalton
Executive Director
Mortenson Family Foundation


Danyelle O’Hara
Community Relationship Officer
Mortenson Family Foundation