Minnesota Foundations 2020
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

January 16, 2020 

Q: Which foundations should I approach to fund my nonprofit?

Q: What’s the best way to get dollars from specific foundations?

A:  Join this workshop to hear well-informed, external analysis and critiques from your nonprofit peers. You’ll gain useful and nuanced answers to these persistent questions.

Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for this annual exploration of the trends, staffing, program shifts, and financial outlooks of dozens of the most important Minnesota foundations. You’ll learn frank, current information about significant changes taking place in Minnesota’s foundation community.

Whether you’re an executive director, a board member involved in fundraising, or a fund development staff person, this workshop is a great way to expand and enliven your funding prospects for 2020.

By attending this event, you’ll be able to:

  • Build your list of foundation prospects for the coming year that fit your organization’s goals and make the best use of time and resources
  • Connect to burgeoning trends in the nonprofit sector
  • Uncover insider tips about what it’s like to work with various foundations
  • Gain motivation to implement a robust fundraising plan

The workshop will include information about some of Minnesota’s most active private, community, and corporate foundations. This session is a time to dig beyond the grantmakers’ websites and to hear candidly from your peer grantseekers about their experiences and knowledge about working with various foundations.

Participants will receive a complimentary copy of MCN’s Minnesota Grants Directory 2020.

The session will be divided into two sections. The first half of the afternoon will be dedicated to discussing foundations that fund nonprofits across the state of Minnesota. The second half of the session will focus on Twin Cities-specific funders.

This workshop will be offered later in the season in numerous other locations including Duluth, Rochester, Sartell, Fargo/MoorheadFergus Falls, Bemidji, MarshallMankato, and Willmar. Register at the location that’s best for your grantseeking priorities.

About the Presenters

Kari Aanestad is the director of advancement at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In this role, Kari secures and stewards grant and individual donor support for MCN. She also supports the development of other fundraising professionals throughout Minnesota through various channels including in-person and online trainings, the Minnesota Grants Alert, and the Minnesota Grants Directory. Kari holds a bachelor of arts in English and political science from Augsburg College and a master of divinity from Luther Seminary. Most recently she served as grant writer and outcomes manager for St. David’s Center. Kari brings a holistic wealth of experience to her role including international travel to over 20 countries, hospital chaplaincy in England, and teaching and tutoring positions ranging from elementary to post-graduate levels in writing and compassionate communication.

Georgina Chinchilla Gonzalez is the grants and institutional support manager at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO). With an undergraduate degree in violin performance and graduate degree in musicology, her role at the SPCO combines her love of and experience with music and her interest in serving her community. Prior to joining the SPCO, she worked primarily as a youth work professional. In addition, as a Peace Corps volunteer, she taught English and designed youth empowerment camps in a small village in Jordan. She recently completed an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, where she focused on social entrepreneurship.

Michelle T. Edgerton is founder and principle of The Edgerton Group LLC. She previously served as chief advancement officer of Northside Achievement Zone, chief advancement officer at The Family Partnership, the director of development at Twin Cities RISE!, the development officer in major/planned giving at the Courage Center, the regional director for Legacy Management Group, and as the director of events and special projects at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities. She is presedent-elect of the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter. Michelle holds a master of arts degree in leadership from Augsburg College and a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Wake Forest University.

Following careers in creative printing and as a chef, Barbara Martenson has been a writer and professional fundraiser since 1992. She has worked abroad in three countries in the Middle East and in the U.S., as a communications director, development director, major donor officer and grantwriter. Barb has worked with faith-based organizations providing multi-media and university-level services for young people, and food, housing, dental, mental health, and substance abuse recovery services for homeless and addicted people. She has an M.A. in intercultural studies, is a founding member of the Northstar Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association in Minnesota. Barb currently works as a development advisor and grantwriter for the Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities and other area nonprofits.

Jon Pratt is the executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. He has worked at Minnesota Public Interest Research Group as an attorney and lobbyist, as regional director at the Youth Project, and as director for the Philanthropy Project. In 1982 he was campaign manager for Paul Wellstone candidacy for Minnesota State Auditor. In 1987 he became director of MCN, an association of 2,000 organizations that sponsors research, training, lobbying, and negotiated discounts to strengthen Minnesota’s nonprofit sector. Jon has consulted with nongovernmental organizations on the development of NGO associations and services in Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Turkey. Jon has a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a M.P.A. from Harvard University.

Sara Spiess brings more than 15 years of nonprofit fundraising and development experience to her current role as director of grants & foundation relations at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Sara specializes in securing grants and gifts from corporate, foundation, and government agency partners to support mission-driven work. She works to develop and steward a broad base of strategic partnerships among key stakeholders. Sara holds a B.A. from New York University, a St. Thomas fundraising certificate, and is a 2016 graduate of the Leadership Saint Paul program of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Sara has served on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter. She is an active community volunteer.

Erik Torch is the director of grantmaking at Northland Foundation. The Northland Foundation invests in people and communities to support a thriving Northeastern Minnesota. Erik was previously served as executive director of Damiano Center and the program manager for Catholic Relief Services. Erik has a B.S. from Northland College and an M.S.W. from University of Minnesota – Duluth.

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