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Steering Committee Named for Rural Urban Bridge Building

Late in 2022 at the MCF CEO Retreat, an idea took hold around rural and urban bridge building. MCF members began exploring how philanthropy can play a leadership role in uniting Minnesotans across difference, especially rural and urban geography, through shared learning and collective impact.

MCF member discussions led to the recommendation that MCF develop a project dubbed RUBI (Rural Urban Bridging for Impact), which we are launching with a steering committee comprised of MCF members. 

Rural Urban Bridging for Impact - Steering Committee:

  • Aaron Zimmerman, Executive Director, PFund Foundation

  • Anita Patel, Vice President of Grantmaking, Bush Foundation

  • Anna Wasescha, President, West Central Initiative

  • Ben Goldfarb, Director of Program Alignment, The McKnight Foundation

  • Cynthia Bauerly, Public Policy Executive in Residence, Women's Foundation of Minnesota

  • Don Ness, Executive Director, Ordean Foundation

  • Ellen Squires, Research Officer, Blandin Foundation

  • Jennifer Woodford, President, Rochester Area Foundation

  • JoAnn Birkholz, Foundation Director, Medica Foundation

  • John E. Larsen, President, John Larsen Foundation

  • Karen White, President & CEO, Northwest Minnesota Foundation

  • Kevin Walker, President & CEO, Northwest Area Foundation

  • Melanie Hoffert, Chief Marketing Officer, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

  • Morgan Kinross-Wright, Vice President of Community Relations, Land O'Lakes and Exec. Director, Land O' Lakes Foundation

  • Nancy Fasching, Vice President, Community Impact, Southwest Initiative Foundation

  • Repa Mekha, President & CEO, Nexus Community Partners

  • Steve Joul, President & CEO, CommunityGiving

  • Terri Foster, Executive Director, Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation

  • Terri Thao, Program Director, Local Initiatives and Opportunities, Margaret A Cargill Philanthropies

Possible Outcomes of Rural Urban Bridging for Impact:

  • Learning opportunities to strengthen philanthropy’s role in promoting urban/rural interdependence, including practice and evaluation tools
  • Strategic connections to new institutional and community partnerships
  • Data and guidance to inform and evaluate rural funding needs and strategies
  • Resources for philanthropic thought leadership and awareness raising, including narrative change
  • Opportunities for collective action, including legislative advocacy and pooled funds
  • Optimizing philanthropy’s unique role as a convener and broker of non-partisan community building

The Rural Urban Bridging for Impact is a collaborative project of Minnesota Council on Foundations members with MCF serving as the administrative hub and fiscal host. Initial funding is generously provided by Bush Foundation and The McKnight Foundation.

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