Six Nonprofit Leaders Elected to Statewide Board


Contact: Christine Durand, Communications Director
Phone: 651-757-3082, 612-723-1325 (cell)

St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 19, 2011 — Six nonprofit leaders will join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) board of directors. The six individuals were selected in a competitive election by the 2,000 nonprofit member organizations of MCN. The new board members began their three-year terms on January 1, 2012, joining the board of 23 members who aid the policy and direction of the statewide organization.

“The Council and its members are proud to have a diverse group of leaders from throughout Minnesota joining MCN’s board of directors,” says MCN executive director Jon Pratt. “Coming from every part of the nonprofit sector, they are in a good position to identify the challenges and opportunities that lie on the other side of this recession.”

Bobbi Cordano Bobbi Cordano
Vice President, Programs
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Saint Paul

In her role as vice president of programs at Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a multi-service organization with a $20 million budget and 190 staff, Bobbi Cordano provides leadership for all direct services for children, families and older adults. She also oversees healthcare initiatives and program development, and collaborates on cross-foundational initiatives, including Promise Neighborhood. Prior to coming to the Wilder Foundation, Bobbi held other leadership positions, including most recently as interim president of the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Allina Hospitals and Clinics and as president of Park Nicollet Institute/Vice-President of Park Nicollet Health Services. In addition to her work in the nonprofit sector, Bobbi has a wealth of experience in the educational and government sectors, including as assistant dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, director of disability services for the Office of Equity and Diversity, and as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, including working in the Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General. Bobbi is a frequent speaker, facilitator and consultant to nonprofit organizations, and has served on many advisory and nonprofit boards. Bobbi has founded several nonprofit organizations including Metro Deaf School and Minnesota North Star Academy. She holds an undergraduate degree from Beloit College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Tracy Fischman Tracy Fischman
Executive Director
AccountAbility Minnesota
Saint Paul

Tracy Fischman joined AccountAbility Minnesota (AAM) as executive director in July 2009. AccountAbility Minnesota provides pathways to income by providing free tax assistance and related financial services in the Twin Cities Metro area, and by training other organizations across the state to provide these vital services. Prior to working with AccountAbility Minnesota, Tracy served as a consultant to nonprofit, philanthropic and political organizations, by providing strategic campaign, project management and organizational development services. Tracy has a long history of fostering social justice, with nearly 20 years of experience in public health, HIV/AIDS, civil rights and women’s rights. She has an extensive background in policy and advocacy, as well as organizational planning and development. Tracy has worked for organizations such as Planned Parenthood of Illinois as the vice president for public policy, and the Chicago Department of Public Health’s STD/HIV/AIDS Division as the director of policy and legislative affairs. Tracy has served on a number of Boards, including: Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, Illinois Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Citizen Action of Illinois and Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief. Tracy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Cathy Maes Cathy Maes
Executive Director
ICA (Intercongregation Communities Association) Food Shelf

Cathy Maes serves as the executive director of ICA Food Shelf, a social service agency that offers food, financial assistance, job counseling and resources to residents in the western suburbs. As director, Cathy manages a $2 million budget, hires and evaluates a staff of 12, works for/with 500 volunteers and an 11 member board of directors.

Prior to coming to ICA Food Shelf, Cathy owned a market research company and was very active in the Minnetonka School district as an elected school board member, a member of the district strategic planning committee and a volunteer lobbyist for school funding. Additionally, Cathy served as planning commissioner for the City of Minnetonka, as well as the Vice President of the Minnetonka Boys Basketball Association. Cathy holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from Northern Arizona University.

Ethan Roberts Ethan Roberts (Incumbent)
Director, Twin Cities Jewish Community Government Affairs Program
Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas

As government affairs director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Ethan represents the interests and protects approximately $22 million in annual federal, state and local government funding for the Twin Cities’ Jewish community’s various nonprofits. Combining private philanthropy, volunteers and government funding, the nonprofits which Ethan represents expertly provide a full range of human services - from early childhood education and subsidized day-care to vocational training and long-term care for vulnerable older adults - for Minnesotans from all backgrounds. In addition, Ethan is responsible for organizing bipartisan public affairs forums and debates, including last year's gubernatorial debate attended by 900 people and a recent bipartisan legislative forum featured on TPT's Almanac. Recognized in Minnesota and nationally for his leadership, Ethan is MCN’s Vice-Chair, Metro Meals on Wheels’ Public Policy Chair, and the 2010 recipient of the Len Lieberman Professional of the Year Award from the Association of Jewish Community State Government Affairs Directors.

Ethan is a 1996 graduate of Macalester College and a 2003 graduate of Stanford Law School. In 2007, Ethan and his wife Naomi were delighted to return to Minnesota so they could live closer to family. The move also enabled Ethan to change careers from civil litigation to helping do his part to repair the world through social justice (or in Hebrew, tikkun olam). When he is not busy lobbying legislators and preparing public policy arguments, Ethan enjoys spending as much time as possible with Naomi, their children Noah (age 6) and Elsie (age 2), and their immediate families on the Renville County farm where Naomi grew up, with Naomi’s parents in Hutchinson and with their younger siblings in Minneapolis.

Marsha ShotleyMarsha A. Shotley (Incumbent),
Vice President, Board and Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
President, Blue Cross Foundation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation

Marsha has the accountability to advance the corporation’s social responsibility value through her role as president of the Blue Cross Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota addressing significant influences on health that are beyond the traditional reach of the health care system; and, the corporate Community Affairs Department, promoting employee volunteerism and community involvement efforts for the corporation.

Marsha also serves as a board officer and staff liaison for the BCBSM Board of Trustees and its’ Governance Committee. In this role, Marsha works jointly with Corporate Counsel to assure legal requirements are met for board and company business.

In total, Marsha works with six separate nonprofit entities. Her interests are in helping to fulfill Blue Cross’ social responsibility role through community work, to inspire others to lead and the governance role of boards. She holds a Master’s Degree in organizational leadership. She serves as the Chair of the Board of LifeSource, the organ procurement organization charged with all aspects of organ recovery for transplantation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin. In addition, she serves as Chair of its’ Executive Committee. She also serves on the boards of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Minnesota Institute of Public Health, Blue Cross Foundation, Minnesota Jefferson Awards, and the Governance Committee of Twin Cities Compass.

Shela SmithSheila Smith (Incumbent)
Executive Director
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
St. Paul

Sheila M. Smith has been Minnesota Citizens for the Arts’ executive director since 1996. She was a leader in the 2008 “Vote Yes” campaign, passing a Minnesota state constitutional amendment to create 25 years of dedicated funding for the arts and environment. Smith has been Chair of the State Arts Action League, part of Americans for the Arts, and was recipient of the 2009 Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award, which honors an individual who has dramatically affected the political landscape through arts advocacy efforts at the state level. An Adjunct Professor for the University of Minnesota in both Minneapolis and Duluth, she teaches and lectures nationally about the arts, grassroots advocacy and other issues. For the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, she is part of the Public Policy Cabinet and a member of the Board. Smith has a Masters in Arts Administration from St. Mary’s University and a B.A. in Shakespeare from St. Olaf College.

Before joining MCA she served as staff at the Minnesota State Senate and lobbied local governments for Continental Airlines in Houston, TX. In her off hours, she is a proud member of Minnesota’s 2008 and 2009 Champion WorldQuest team, an international affairs trivia competition of the World Affairs Councils of America, and enjoys kayaking and hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior. She received the 2009 Leadership Award from Conservation Minnesota.
Sheila has been deeply involved as a volunteer for MCN for over fifteen years, including serving on various committees including ad hoc committees to monitor nonprofit grants management, property tax exemptions, as well as the planning committee for MCN’s annual conference and selection committee for the Nonprofit Mission Award finalists, among others. Sheila has served as a speaker and panelist on public policy and arts issues at MCN sponsored events.

These six will join the following members of MCN’s board of directors: Amy Brugh, Minnesota AIDS Project; Molly Greenman, The Family Partnership; Rodolfo Gutierrez, Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER); Mary Jones, YWCA of Minneapolis; Nancy Kleeman, Jewish Community Action; Jeanne Edevold Larson, Northern Dental Access Center; Joan Macik, Heartland Community Action Agency; David Marty, Reif Arts Council; Keith Parker, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Pham Thi Hoa, CAPI; Kathy Potter, Access of the Red River Valley; Leonard Price, Minnesota Conservation Corps; Shannon Robinson, Twin Rivers Council for the Arts; Lori Saroya, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota; Alvine Siaka, African Health Action Corporation; Susan Strandberg, Three Rivers Community Action; Joshua Winters, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group


The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is the statewide association of 1,950 nonprofit organizations. Through its Web site, 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.

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