St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is pleased to announce Kari Aanestad as the organization’s new associate director, effective immediately. She succeeds Nonoko Sato, who was named MCN’s new executive director on July 8, 2021.
In her new role, Aanestad will partner closely with Sato to advance the mission and work of MCN and Minnesota’s robust nonprofit sector through strategic visioning, fundraising, relationship development, sector research, and education. She will also play a critical role in shaping and implementing the organization’s strategy, including oversight of development and research, operations and financial management, as well as leading the annual planning and budgeting process and guiding new strategic initiatives and special projects each year.
“The nonprofit sector has benefited greatly from Kari’s leadership, innovation, and passion during her five-year tenure with MCN, first as our development manager and then as our director of advancement,” said Sato. “Time and time again, she has demonstrated skills in effectively operationalizing big visions and ideas that inspire action, transform systems, and support nonprofits across Minnesota and nationally. We are so thrilled that she will now be applying those same skills, as well as her unbounded energy and dedication, in her new role within our organization."
As a nonprofit fundraising professional with fifteen years of experience, Aanestad has led MCN’s expansive development and research initiatives since 2016, most recently as director of advancement. Additionally, she serves as a co-director of GrantAdvisor.org, a crowdsourced website harnessing grantseeker feedback to strengthen philanthropy, and vice president of the Minnesota Northstar Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association. Prior to joining MCN, Kari served as grants and outcomes manager at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development and program counselor at ACR Homes.
“It’s an honor to be invited into this leadership role alongside Nonoko, MCN’s staff and board, and the broader nonprofit sector,” said Aanestad. “I look forward to using everything I’ve learned from various nonprofit roles over the past 15 years to support MCN’s programs, operations, research, and strategic initiatives – all working together to ensure Minnesota’s nonprofits have the resources and information they need to achieve their charitable missions.”
Originally from Fargo, ND, Aanestad graduated from Augsburg College with a bachelor’s degree in English and political science, before attaining a master of divinity from Luther Seminary. 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.
Read Kari's full bio.