MCN is currently seeking nominations to serve on its board of directors beginning January 2023. To nominate yourself or someone else, please visit

Kari Aanestad

Associate Director


Kari Aanestad
Kari Aanestad is the associate director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In this role, Kari advances the mission and work of MCN and Minnesota’s nonprofit sector through strategic visioning, fundraising, relationship development, sector research, and education. As a member of MCN’s leadership team, Kari provides strategic direction and input on the organization’s trajectory, evolution, opportunities, and partnerships. 

Kari also supports the development of other fundraising professionals throughout Minnesota through in-person and online trainings on program evaluation, building a culture of philanthropy, and grantwriting at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. She also serves as the editor of MCN’s major fundraising resources such as the Minnesota Grants Directory, an annual publication featuring over 100 of the top Minnesota foundations, and the Minnesota Grants Alert, a bi-weekly newsletter with an audience of 3,600 nonprofit professionals. 

As a nonprofit fundraising professional with nearly a decade of experience, Kari also provides leadership to, a strategic initiative launched in partnership between MCN, California Association of Nonprofits, and Great Nonprofits. GrantAdvisor is a crowdsourced website led by nonprofits that’s like a “Wikipedia” of philanthropy. Grantseekers write reviews of foundations, helping their colleagues and giving honest feedback to strengthen philanthropy.

Kari holds a B.A. in English and political science from Augsburg College and an MDiv from Luther Seminary. Most recently she served as development manager for MCN. 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.