President's Corner, Fall 2018

In the early summer of this year, Trista informed the MCF Board of Directors of her intention to step down as MCF President to spend more time on the “futurism in philanthropy” work she developed as a Bush Fellow. She published a book on futurism in October and plans on building an international practice around the issue.

Trista was President of MCF for five years, and the board is grateful for her leadership and many innovative accomplishments during her tenure. She created a dynamic strategic vision for the organization, making diversity, equity and inclusion core to our work, and amplifying philanthropy’s voice in public policy. Trista also provided international thought leadership on futurism in philanthropy. We wish her the very best and look forward to her work on futurism leading to positive change in our communities.

The Board welcomed Peg Birk as an Interim President in September. With the Board and staff, Peg is positioning us for a smooth transition to our next President.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to thank you for your support of MCF. We are looking forward to a vibrant future together.

Thank you,
June Noronha
MCF Board Chair


There are times in your life where the call to do something is strong. Sometimes it starts as a little voice in the back of your head or a tug in a new direction. I felt that tug more than 5 years ago, when I decided to apply for the position of MCF’s President. I had an inkling that MCF would be the sort of place where I could positively impact the field of philanthropy and our community. But I had no idea what sort of wild and rewarding journey this would be.

I am so proud of our organization’s progress from taking our diversity, equity and inclusion work to the next level, to strengthening philanthropy’s voice at the capital for the causes and communities we care so deeply about, to building philanthropy’s living room, a new space for connections and progress.

I am so grateful for the privilege of working with such a dedicated group of staff, members, board members, and volunteers who have done the hard work of re-imagining the power and potential of a 21st century membership association. We have an abundance of leadership
moving MCF forward.

We are in a time of significant transformation and acceleration and the world needs more people working to create a better future for us all. I am now feeling a new call to deepen my work imagining the future of doing good through writing, speaking, and consulting with visionaries and organizations that are ready to predict and share the future.

My decision comes at a time where I have the comfort of knowing that I leave MCF in capable hands. We have built an amazing staff, have a dedicated board of directors and a clear vision for our future after a strategic visioning process with our membership. The future of philanthropy is at a crossroads of which MCF can play a fundamental role in shaping. I am so excited to see what is next for our organization and for our membership.

With gratitude,

Trista Harris
MCF President, 2013 - 2018


Joining Minnesota's vibrant and important philanthropic community to help the Minnesota Council on Foundations during this executive leadership transition is an honor. I am thrilled to be here. My first interim assignment following executive roles as an attorney, was as the interim President and CEO of the McKnight Foundation thirteen years ago.

Since then, through consecutive interim assignments in the civic sector, I have seen the “power of a pause” in hiring a permanent executive leader to give an organization time to reflect, renew, refocus and reboot. All the while, continuing to provide excellent service to its members.

I view the role of interim President as guide, evocateur and healer. Leadership transitions are stressful. As a centered leadership presence, focused equally on staff and internal operations, board governance and the delivery of member services, transformational change is possible during uncertain times. While challenging for all, I am committed to guiding us through this transition with enthusiasm, optimism and fun!

The Minnesota Council on Foundations has a critical role in the philanthropic sector and I am grateful to be a part of the process that helps this organization grow and polish its services for the field and its members across the state of Minnesota.

In abundance,

Peg Birk
Interim President

Peg Birk is the Founder & CEO of Interim Solutions, a Minneapolis based consulting firm that works with foundations, non-profit organizations and associations undergoing management and organizational changes. Peg partners with boards of directors, staff and stakeholders to maximize leadership transitions.

Peg brings to MCF her change management expertise, executive experience as the executive director for the George Family Foundation; interim president for the McKnight Foundation; interim president of the Forum for Theological Exploration; Transitional General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; co-executive director of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, interim executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, interim chief executive officer of Sholom Community Alliance, interim executive director of the Perpich Center for Arts Education and the interim executive director of the Jeremiah Program-Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Prior to founding Interim Solutions, Peg was senior vice president and general counsel for Federated Insurance; city attorney for the City of St. Paul; general counsel for AIG’s U.S. insurance business; and senior government affairs counsel and senior corporate counsel for The St. Paul Companies.

Peg holds a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Houston. She is a certified Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute.

Peg serves on the Dean’s honorary advisory council at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and is a deacon at Plymouth Congregational Church. She previously served on the McKnight Foundation board of directors, the Hamline University board of trustees, the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation board of directors, the International Alliance of Executive Women, the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable board of directors, the Global Rights for Women board of directors and co-chaired of the Center for Religious Inquiry with Vice President Mondale at St. Mark Cathedral.

More of Giving Forum V40, Fall 2018