Six Minnesota Nonprofits Recognized for Outstanding Work

St. Paul, Minn., September 20, 2010 – It is time for a get-together for good. During The Nonprofit State Fair next month, one of the largest gatherings of nonprofits across the country, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and MAP for Nonprofits will recognize six of the state’s more than 5,000 charitable organizations with 2010 Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards.

The Nonprofit State Fair, the MCN Annual Conference, in Duluth on October 7-8, will convene almost 1,000 nonprofit leaders, managers, board and staff to build their skills, learn from one another, and share experiences. As part of this gathering, MCN and MAP for Nonprofits will present six outstanding nonprofits with awards for their contributions to Minnesota's high quality of life.

During the Awards Ceremony, the audience will be inspired by video stories featuring the award recipients and each organization will be honored with a glass art award and financial gift. After October 9, visitors to www.MinnesotaNonprofitAwards.org will be able to see the video stories and read more about each of the awardees.

2010 Nonprofit Mission & Excellence Award Recipients

Nonprofit Mission Awards

  • GiveMN, St. Paul, for Innovation
  • The Frey Foundation, Minneapolis, for Responsive Philanthropy
  • The Loft Literary Center, Equilibrium Spoken Word Series, Minneapolis, for Anti-Racism Initiative
  • Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, Minneapolis, for Advocacy

Nonprofit Excellence Awards

  • Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul, for Excellence in a Small Organization
  • Wilderness Inquiry, Minneapolis, for Excellence in a Large Organization


About the Mission Awards

The Nonprofit Mission Awards recipients are nominated by the nonprofit community. The field of nominees is narrowed to the three most exemplary candidates in each category and recipients are selected by the MCN members.

Nonprofit Mission Award for Innovation: GiveMN
GiveMN has made it easier not only for Minnesotans to give to nonprofits of their choice, but also for nonprofits to spread awareness of their organization’s mission. In the past six months, GiveMN has facilitated over $16 million in donations to more than 4,000 nonprofits in Minnesota. Opened in 2009 through the Minnesota Community Foundation, it is the first giving platform in the U.S. to focus on nonprofits in a single state. Their primary goal is to aid nonprofits in raising money more efficiently and effectively by cutting down on fundraising costs and creating an opportunity for powerful online campaigns. Secondly, GiveMN hopes to increase giving through donor education and engaging nonprofits in this type of fundraising opportunity through social media. With over 45,000 engaged donors, GiveMN has had a successful start to their ambitious mission.

Nonprofit Mission Award for Responsive Philanthropy: The Frey Foundation
The Frey Foundation’s mission as an independent, private, grantmaking foundation is to act as a catalyst in strengthening its community by investing in a statewide plan to end homelessness. Their goal is to promote self -sufficiency and creative change that will result in community members reaching their full potential. The Frey Foundation has worked with individual organizations primarily in the Twin Cities area and has plans to donate a total of $10 million from 2006 – 2014. Not only have the Freys been generous in donating their money, but they have also become advocates in spreading awareness of homelessness by speaking at events and actively working with Heading Home Minnesota.

Nonprofit Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative: The Loft Literary Center, Equilibrium Spoken Word Series
As the nation’s largest independent literary center, The Loft Literacy Center strives to maintain and improve the art and success of writing by supporting local authors through competitions, grants, and honoraria. Furthering its commitment to literature and the literary community, The Loft has been able to turn its efforts to anti-racism through their program Equilibrium Spoken Word Series (EQ). As the brainchild of Bao Phi, The Loft’s associate program director, the Equilibrium Spoken Word Series was developed by and for young artists of color, facilitating a forum where young people are able to freely express themselves around challenging subjects that affect their lives and shape their experiences. The Equilibrium Spoken Word Series covers a range of topics including social justice concerns, discrimination, and classism, with an emphasis on the validation and support of its performers and audiences.

Nonprofit Mission Award for Advocacy: Minnesota Second Chance Coalition
The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition is a product of community-based organizations and individuals advocating for fair and responsible laws and policies that allow those who have committed crimes to redeem themselves. By supporting and acting on behalf of these citizens, the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition hopes that they are able to fully support themselves and their families and fully contribute to their own communities. The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition has also mobilized hundreds of individuals at the Capitol, focusing efforts on affected individuals by giving them a voice and positively engaging community members throughout the state.

About the Excellence Awards

The Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence Awards recognize excellent Minnesota nonprofit organizations as defined by the MCN Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence. Nonprofits and their boards of directors apply for the awards. Recipients are reviewed and selected by a blue ribbon panel of nonprofit leaders.

Excellence Award for Small Organizations: Springboard for the Arts
Springboard for the Arts believes that individuals can and should make a living and a life doing creative work. Springboard has made this possible for artists and small, artist-led organizations by providing resources, education, and consultation services for more than 20 years. In 2004, Springboard launched a planning process to help overcome challenges such as lagging financial support. Springboard now has a “living strategic plan” which allows them to make in-course corrections as needed. They have adopted a dashboard that tracks financial indicators and program outputs, creating shared understanding of key issues and more effective board meetings. The board is engaged and has a clear sense of governance and responsibility. The organization has adopted and uses creative evaluation tools to determine which projects and partnerships to pursue. They have improved their financial position, expanded their service area, and identified new ways to attract donors and partners, including securing national grants.

Excellence Award for Large Organizations: Wilderness Inquiry
This nonprofit organization was founded on the idea that shared outdoor experiences have the power to transform individuals and communities – a discovery made after an eight-day trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for 12 people with and without disabilities, organized to demonstrate that motors were not required for the handicapped, the elderly and women to access the wilderness. Today, Wilderness Inquiry continues to bring out the best in people by forming strategic alliances with the National Park Service, the Mississippi River Fund, the Minneapolis and Saint Paul schools, and other organizations. The organization has used strategic planning to achieve aggressive growth goals for each of the past 15 years, completed two successful capital campaigns, has active collaborations with more than 100 different organizations serving youth, families, people with disabilities, low-income families and the elderly and is actively engaged in evaluating the results of its work both through internal and independent studies.

About the Sponsors

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is the statewide association of 2000 nonprofit organizations. Through its website, resource publications, workshops and events, cost-saving programs and advocacy, MCN continually works to inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector.

MAP for Nonprofits
MAP for Nonprofits unleashes the power of the nonprofit sector to achieve powerful results by assuring the most effective management of nonprofits. MAP’s innovative, cost-effective management consultation and support to Twin Cities’ nonprofit organizations includes board recruitment, strategic development and backroom services like accounting, legal services, technology and more.
 

 
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