2021 Annual Conference

This year's Annual Conference will look at how nonprofits are and must continue to move the sector in the direction of equity, healing, and sustained transformation by looking critically at how the last year and a half has necessitated change in our practices, operations, values, and relationships. 

We will pick up where we left off at last year's Annual Conference to see where we are with rooting deep into how we act in the interest of becoming a more whole, reflective, effective, and interconnected sector. How have we become change agents? Where are we stuck and need to keep pushing ourselves? As we push, how will we support each other and thrive, and what are the specific tools we will need along the way? 

As we gather, we also acknowledge that our more recent history is something to be understood in relationship with the fullest spectrum of histories and the systems they have birthed. The nonprofit sector is one such system in particular kinship with government and philanthropy. The collective power we hold for “operationalizing the reimagining” is great. Let’s take this year’s Annual Conference as a space to (re)commit to actively learn with each other and challenge old habits and patterns that persist and keep us from justly acting. Let’s share generously the changes we have implemented—from remote work and organizational structure to community-centered practices to financial management to responsive programming, research, service delivery, and advocacy.  

Conference highlights include:  

  • 30+ breakout sessions over four days, with each breakout period offering multiple session options across activity areas

  • Mixture of skill-building and action-oriented sessions and big-idea, vision-oriented sessions 

  • Offerings centering rural, BIPOC, and small nonprofits 

  • 2 Keynote sessions that offer equal parts application and inspiration 

  • Recordings of sessions after the conference, providing attendees access to every minute of conference content 

  • Hosted virtual coffee chats for networking in your area of expertise/interest 

  • Wellness and artistic interludes accessible on-demand  

  • Virtual games and prizes 

  • LIVE, IN-PERSON “Social Hours” throughout the state where you can reconnect face-to-face with colleagues over food and drink 

2021 MCN Annual Conference

October 14, 15, 28, & 29
Times vary

Virtual Conference
Live & Recorded

Sponsored by:

Bush Foundation

Bremer Bank

Hosted by:


Keynote Addresses

Gaby Strong

Power Shifts: Community Self-Determination, Justice, and Reckoning in Pandemic Times

Opening Keynote: Thursday, October 14

Over the past year, as Minnesota became the epicenter of a national and international reckoning on racial justice, while the human race grappled with a global pandemic, the pain and wisdom of the most marginalized communities offer knowledge for the collective path forward. Gaby Strong will share her insight and experience from nearly 40 years of work in the nonprofit, tribal and philanthropic sector. Challenging the status quo of philanthropic giving, of leadership and decision-making, of positional power structures and constructs requires changemaking and action. How do you see yourself as part of that change?

H. Adam Harris

What’s Next and How Do We Get There? 

Closing Keynote: Friday, October 29

Join H. Adam Harris for a keynote that asks the question: What’s Next? As we navigate the momentous changes of the last couple of years, where do we go from here? How do we put our feelings, our hopes, into tangible action?

We will discuss the ways issues of race and identity impact our work and lives. We will challenge ourselves to rethink and reimagine our mission statements, our values, and our policies. Where there is conflict, there is opportunity, let’s talk about it! 

Conference Planning Committee

  • Terri Allred, Rochester Consortium of Nonprofits
  • Scott Artley, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
  • Monica Bryand, Voices for Racial Justice
  • Brett Buckner, OneMN.org
  • Ashley Charwood, Bemidji State University and Peacemaker Resources
  • Donte Curtis, Catch Your Dream Consulting
  • Laura Dunford, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Gema Alvarado-Guerrero, Parenting Resource Center Inc.
  • Courtney Gerber, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Aaliyah Hodge, People for PSEO and University of St. Thomas
  • Kelly LaCore, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Maggie Lorenz, Lower Phalen Creek Project & Wakan Tipi Center
  • Shannon McCarville, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Ileana Mejia, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Glyn Northington, Propel Nonprofits
  • Nonoko Sato, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits