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Fast Forward
Insights from big thinkers in philanthropy
Category: Non-Profit
Fast Forward features conversations with big thinkers in the field of philanthropy. Through these interviews by Minnesota Council on Foundations staff, you'll learn about the latest trends in Minnesota grantmaking, gain insights on strategies behin ...more
Fast Forward features conversations with big thinkers in the field of philanthropy. Through these interviews by Minnesota Council on Foundations staff, you'll learn about the latest trends in Minnesota grantmaking, gain insights on strategies behind important philanthropic efforts, and come away inspired with ideas and approaches you can take back to your organization.
by MCF

by MCF
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August 15, 2016 01:36 PM PDT

The Bush Foundation will be accepting applications for the 2017 Bush Fellowship from August 30th, 2016, through September 29th, 2016. So Bush Leadership Programs Director Anita Patel sits down with MCF to talk about the goals of the program, share ideas on how to approach applying for the fellowship and talks about the work that's been coming from current and past fellows.

As Leadership Programs Director, Patel works with a wonderful team to equip, inspire and connect leaders in order to strengthen our region. She brings a significant record of accomplishments to the Foundation, including ten years of developing of a wide-range of leadership and inclusion programs as the vice president for racial justice and public policy at the YWCA of Minneapolis.

As someone who grew up and in greater Minnesota and went to high school in Granite Falls (Archibald Bush’s hometown), Patel believes in the talent that lies all across the Bush Foundation region and is excited to invest in the success of our communities.

August 10, 2016 12:15 PM PDT

“We’re going to stay here. But we want to get bigger impact.”

On this episode of the Fast Forward podcast, Tawanna Black sits down to talk about the work it takes to build a partnership with the public sect like she has done between the Northside Funders Group and the city of Minneapolis. She discusses how to get at changing the way philanthropy works inside public sector institutions beyond just policy change but also helping reshape how they do grant making. She shares the four levers of the work of the Northside Funders Group, dives into the very real challenges of sustainability and speaks openly about how to keep fear of failing from preventing risk taking.

Tawanna is the Executive Director for the Northside Funders Group, a collaborative of 19 corporate, community and private foundations and public sector investors committed to aligning investments to catalyze comprehensive, sustainable change in North Minneapolis.

July 29, 2016 01:35 PM PDT

“Trying to put band aids on things will never work.”

John Schwartz

Director and Founder of the Voqal Companies

A public media advocate for 40 years, John has founded community radio and television stations and brought wireless broadband services to cities throughout the United States. In 1980, John founded KBDI-TV in the Denver area, now known as CPT12. In 1983, he started what is now called Voqal — five non-profit organizations that obtained licenses in the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) band. Utilizing the organizations’ spectrum, commercial operator Clearwire, now a Sprint subsidiary, delivers 4G wireless broadband to most major U.S. cities. In exchange for the use of this spectrum, Clearwire provides the Voqal organizations with royalties, which they allocate to their operations and grant-making efforts. In 1995, John started Free Speech TV, a Denver-based progressive TV network which is seen on DISH Network, DirecTV, Roku and the web. John lives in Boulder, CO.

John talks about the work of Voqal to address the “Homework Gap.” He also talks about civic engagement and why political change is vital in making sure everyone has access to good schooling.

July 11, 2016 10:07 AM PDT

“There are aggressive attacks on voting rights that we did not see in the 90s."
Judith Browne Dianis is the executive director of The Advancement Project. Judith has an extensive background in civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of voting, education, housing, and employment. She has protected the rights of people of color in the midst of some of the greatest civil rights crises of our modern times, including in Florida after the 2000 election and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Dianis joined Advancement Project at its inception in 1999, after serving as the Managing Attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. She is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law, was awarded a Skadden Fellowship, served as a Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar at Florida State University Law School, and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She was named one of the “Thirty Women to Watch” by Essence Magazine and has written and commented extensively in the media about race, voting rights, and education issues, appearing often on MSNBC, CNN, BET, TVOne and various radio shows. On this episode of the podcast, Dianis talks about where voting rights are today and why she believes the trend of making it harder to vote as something that will continue. Judith talks about her work on the ground in Florida during the 2000 election, what that tells us about today and how she started a voting protection program as a result. Judith also covers communities’ relationships to voter rights laws and shares opinions on potential structural changes to voting in the U.S.

June 24, 2016 01:21 PM PDT

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at both The Century Foundation and American Progress. He is also co-director of the States of Change: Demographics and Democracy project, a collaboration that brings together American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute, and demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.

He is the author or co-author of seven books, including America’s New Swing Region: Changing Politics and Demographics in the Mountain West; Red, Blue and Purple America: The Future of Election Demographics; The Emerging Democratic Majority; America’s Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters; and The Disappearing American Voter, as well as hundreds of articles, both scholarly and popular.

June 08, 2016 12:33 PM PDT

“Impact investing is a practice and it’s something you get better at or you get more comfortable with.”

Elizabeth McGeveran joined McKnight in 2014 as Director of Impact Investing. She is responsible for the Foundation’s $200 million commitment, investing in businesses and funds that are building the low-carbon economy, improving the water quality of the Mississippi River, and contributing to a thriving, sustainable Minnesota. This portfolio represents 10% of the Foundation’s $2 billion endowment. McGeveran also provides Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) expertise and evaluation across the entire endowment.

On this episode, Elizabeth talks about the McKnight Foundation looked at ways to leverage their assets and say their endowment's market earnings as an underutilized resource. She talks about the process the board went through to assess potential shifts in alignment, describes the Midwest Climate and Energy Program and the Carbon Efficiency Fund.

May 31, 2016 08:08 AM PDT

Susan Voigt is Program Manager at the Medica Foundation. Before joining the Medica Foundation, Ms. Voigt was employed by several nonprofits, start-ups and IBM.
As someone who has lived on the grantee end of incorporating evaluation into the work and is now on the funder side, Susan has real insights about how evaluation tools can and should be used as tools for learning rather than just accountability. In this episode, Susan also talks about Common Shared Metrics as a big picture idea and explains the idea of Field of Practice evaluation.

May 20, 2016 11:06 AM PDT

"We're trying to get the funding closest to the people who are most impacted by these social and economic issues."
Carolyn Link is executive director for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. In her role, Carolyn oversees all operations and strategic direction for the Foundation.
On this episode, Carolyn talks about changes to a grant application process and how it can alter who you're welcoming in and how funder/fundee collaborations are perceived.

April 26, 2016 02:15 PM PDT

With decades of experience in the civic sector, Marcia Ballinger and Lars Leafblad work with foundations, nonprofits, and higher ed institutions to help them make important decisions about leadership hires. In this episode of the podcast, Ballinger and Leafblad talk about what organizations need to think about when recruiting new leadership and how they can pull in various stakeholders.

March 18, 2016 12:48 PM PDT

“One of the best signs of a financially healthy nonprofit is a nonprofit that ends their operating year with a surplus.”

Kate Barr has been making meaning out of financial information and strategies for decades, with stints as an arts administrator, a bank executive, and as Executive Director of Nonprofits Assistance Fund. Her goal is “to help people connect the dots between mission and business model.”

In this episode of Fast Forward, Barr talks about how funders consider which organizations they elect to collaborate with or support. Barr also explains the challenges with a one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating whether or not an organization qualifies for funding. And she breaks down the idea of Core Mission Support.

Plus, in addition to using the Nonprofit Assistance Fund’s website, Barr also recommends reading the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Nonprofit Quarterly.

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