Recipients of the 2017 Nonprofit Mission & Excellence Awards Announced!

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Propel Nonprofits have selected six Minnesota nonprofits that have made outstanding contributions to our state’s high quality of life as recipients of 2017 Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards. Presented each year since 1987, the Mission and Excellence Awards recognize and honor the contributions of Minnesota nonprofits in the areas of Innovation, Advocacy, Anti-Racism, Responsive Philanthropy and Excellence (for large and small organizations). Nonprofits honored this year are City Stay, Hopewell Music Cooperative North, Mary’s Pence, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, Commonweal Theatre Company and Project for Pride in Living. 

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and Propel Nonprofits will present this year’s recipients with their awards before more than 850 nonprofit professionals on Friday, October 13 as part of MCN’s 2017 Annual Conference at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Recipients will receive one-of-a-kind glass awards from Minnesota glass artist Robinson Scott, professionally produced videos featuring their organizations, and modest cash awards.

Mission Award Recipients

Innovation: A truly unique nonprofit music school in the heart of North Minneapolis—a culturally vibrant area of the Twin Cities—Hopewell Music Cooperative North engages a wide array of cultural groups on the Northside by hearing and reacting to the needs of the community, using music as the medium to build internal capacity from its neighborhood roots. Hopewell provides a high-quality music education program, while maintaining a position of open access to children and adults living in economically disadvantaged communities.

Advocacy: Developed jointly by Imam Asad Zaman and Congressman Keith Ellison, Muslim Day at the Capitol encourages civic engagement by connecting the Muslim community to their legislators and by sharing their views on how to improve Minnesota. Held for 13 consecutive years, Muslim Day at the Capitol educates the Muslim community about government systems and encourages them to step up for public service and ethical leadership in Minnesota. By teaching participants how to advocate and lobby for their community, Muslim Day at the Capitol seeks to authentically integrate the Muslim community into the fabric of American society.

Anti-Racism Initiative: The first and only program to localize the concept of study abroad, City Stay places Twin Cities high school students of all colors and creeds with new Minnesotan families in the Somali, Hmong and Latino communities for one week. The organization’s groundbreaking approach to community building has allowed dozens of students and families to learn about a new culture or language without traveling abroad. These relationships serve as an ongoing tool to build a more connected community that fosters intercultural understanding in an increasingly diverse world.

Responsive Philanthropy: For over 30 years, Mary’s Pence has funded projects that increase the economic security of women and increase women’s voices in their communities. They support women’s organizations with budgets under $200,000 that are women led, community centered, focused on social justice values, and working for long term sustainable social change.

Excellence Award Recipients

Excellence – Large Organization: Dedicated to empowering low-income people to become self-reliant through integrated services, Project for Pride in Living (PPL) began as an affordable housing developer in 1972, and has since become a robust multi-service agency that today serves more than 13,000 low-income people annually. PPL has created housing and stabilized neighborhoods by working with nonprofit partners, neighborhood groups, and agencies to build or renovate nearly 2,000 affordable housing units.

Excellence – Small Organization: Since 1989, the professional artists of the Commonweal Theatre Company have brought to life soulful stories told with honesty and creativity at their theatre located in Lanesboro, MN in the heart of southeast Minnesota’s bluff country. The company boasts a balanced, yet challenging, repertory traditionally comprised of five plays with more than 180 performances, chosen from among the world’s finest classic, contemporary, and emerging playwrights.

Award Sponsors

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) was founded in 1987 to meet the increasing information needs of nonprofits and to convene nonprofits to address issues facing the sector. With over 2,100 nonprofit member organizations, it is the second largest state association of nonprofits in the U.S., with a mission to inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector.

Propel Nonprofits was created from the merger of MAP for Nonprofits and Nonprofits Assistance Fund. The two organizations’ programs were complementary, so the combination provides a more holistic approach to services that meets a larger set of nonprofits’ needs, including the ability to more closely link strategy, governance, and finance. Propel Nonprofits is more than a resource – it’s a partner that meets clients where they are and urges them to keep going – to become empowered.

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