Kari Aanestad is the director of advancement at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. As a member of MCN’s leadership team, Kari provides strategic direction and input on the organization’s trajectory, evolution, opportunities, and partnerships. She also serves as the editor of MCN’s major fundraising resources such as the Minnesota Grants Directory and the Minnesota Grants Alert. As a nonprofit fundraising professional with nearly a decade of experience, Kari also provides leadership to GrantAdvisor.org. Kari holds a B.A. in English and political science from Augsburg College and 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.
Terri Allred is the Southeast Minnesota regional coordinator for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she serves as a liaison between MCN’s St. Paul office and nonprofits in Southeast Minnesota. Terri has worked in the nonprofit sector her entire life, mostly focused around issues of sexual assault and domestic violence. She has served as the executive director of five nonprofits in three states and currently lives in Rochester. Prior to joining MCN, Terri served as the director of community engagement for the Women’s Shelter and Support Center. She has a B.A. from Wake Forest University and a master of theological studies in feminist theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Passionate about helping small businesses, Nathan Austin has made a difference in the community, and for the economy. As an author, international speaker, coach, and community advocate, he brings 20+ years of entrepreneurship, business management, sales, IT experience, and relationship building to his work. After co-founding Mytech Partners, Inc. in 2000, he focused on helping clients and community partners achieve their organizational goals. As an author of Capitalism & Community: A Partnership for a Better Tomorrow, Nathan desires to knock down geographic barriers by helping small businesses and community organizations worldwide. He also served as a facilitator of a small business owner peer group for seven years. He is active in the business community, and speaks locally, internationally, and at association conferences, trade shows, and industry peer events.
Michelle Basham is CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. Previously, she served as executive director of The Bridge for Youth. Prior to that, Michelle was CEO of YWCA Delaware and held positions at CommonBond Communities, FamilyWise, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She holds a degree in communications and organizational development, a graduate degree in public administration and business, and a law degree. Michelle has received numerous awards, including the City of Minneapolis Award and the Outstanding Young Minnesotans/Americans from the Jaycees. Michelle’s work also included leading the collection of data regarding racial disparities in criminal justice for Hamline University and currently, teaching part-time at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Throughout her life and work, Michelle’s passion has been fighting for those who are oppressed, abused, or the subject of discrimination.
Dee Baskin is a communicator, educator, advocate, queer person of color, and executive director of Loan Repayment Assistance Program of Minnesota. Dee has extensive experience in fundraising, communications, and administration across various industries, including nonprofits and education. She is also an active member of Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and serves on NTEN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. They hold an associate’s in computer information systems from Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, a bachelor’s in English and public relations from the University of Indianapolis, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. Dee’s CliftonStrengths are Restorative, Connectedness, Intellection, Belief, and Responsibility.
Jake Blumberg is pretty much obsessed with fundraising and believes that a successful strategy, campaign, and message can expand the impact of nonprofits and schools doing incredible work in our communities. He has helped lead record-breaking and history-making fundraising efforts—and is totally invested in helping Minnesota earn the title “The State of Giving.” Jake was named executive director of GiveMN in 2015 and has a background that spans leadership roles in nonprofits, politics, and higher education. As the senior director of development and community engagement at Open Arms of Minnesota, Jake launched multiple online giving campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. As co-finance director of Minnesotans United, he helped lead a multi-million dollar campaign in Minnesota to win the freedom to marry for same sex couples.
Longtime Bellmont Partners strategic partner Maureen Cahill has 30 years of experience ranging from media relations, strategic planning, and crisis communications. Most recently, Maureen spent the last eight years as executive director for Smile Network International, working with hospital administration, government officials, and medical volunteers around the globe. She started her career at KSTP-TV as an assignment editor and field producer, then spent eight years at Mall of America as director of public relations. She went on to run her own PR agency and handled communications for many sectors. She has worked with many nonprofits over the years including the Basilica Block Party, Cornerstone, Advocacy Services, Community Action Council, Theatre Latte Da, and the Newborn Foundation. Maureen is a graduate of St. Cloud State University.
John Capecci of Capecci Communications in Minneapolis is a communication coach, consultant, writer, and cofounder of Living Proof Advocacy, an organization that helps purpose-driven individuals and organizations unleash the power of personal stories to advocate for positive change. He is also coauthor of the book, Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference (2019, 3rd ed., Granville Circle Press). John holds Ph.D. degree.
Kari L. Clark is chief development officer at YWCA Minneapolis. With over 20 years of development experience, Kari helps YWCA create development plans that align with the overall strategic plan for organizational engagement and growth. Kari started her career as an associate director of planned and endowed gifts with The Foundation for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Following Children’s, Kari worked for Gustavus Adolphus College for 11 years, first as their director of gift planning, then moving into a director of principal gifts position. During her time at Gustavus, Kari co-founded Gustavus Women in Leadership, a volunteer-run student/alumnae program in support of the development of current and future women leaders. Kari graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B.A. and obtained her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.
Emma Connell, research associate at Wilder Research, leads and supports various stages of evaluation and research projects, including data collection, analysis and reporting. Though her work covers a wide variety of topics, it is primarily focused on educational, philanthropic, and health-related initiatives. Emma’s research interests include analysis methodology and effective communication of evaluation results to spur action. She has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a concentration in advanced policy analysis methods. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy at Concordia College in Moorhead. Prior to joining Wilder Research in 2015, Emma worked in community organizing.
Camille Cyprian is a spiritual scholar-practitioner, certified coach and equity practitioner, who is particularly passionate about the healing and wellbeing of individuals, communities, institutions, and systems. Camille has been recognized as one of “Tomorrow’s Leaders” in O, The Oprah Magazine, and her work has been covered in radio and print. Camille is the founder and healer in residence of Centered Spaces LLC. A container of healing justice practitioners rooted in Transformative Praxis™, a framework she developed, which incorporates intersectional healing justice into the every-day work of social change. Camille is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota. She currently serves as the director of diversity, equity, inclusion & program strategy at the Minnesota Council on Foundations, and serves on the board of Headwaters Foundation for Justice.
Ellen Davis, founder of Future Funding, is a grant expert, project manager, and fundraising strategist with more than 10 years of experience developing grant programs, strengthening institutional funding strategies, and writing and winning grants. Ellen was previously grants director and a grant strategist at Fox Advancement for three years, where she provided grant writing and grants development support to a diverse portfolio of nonprofit clients. Before that, she spent seven years working in Washington, D.C. for a variety of international development nonprofits, including ABA ROLI, Plan International, and Pact. Ellen has a M.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from American University.
Sharon DeMark is a program officer for the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation where she reviews grants in arts and humanities, disabilities, aging services, and legal services. She also reviews grants for the Mardag Foundation and the F. R. Bigelow Foundation. Sharon has presented at Grantmakers in the Arts’ national conferences and has sat on selection panels for Saint Paul Cultural STAR, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. She has also guest lectured at the University of Minnesota and the College of Saint Mary’s. Prior to working in philanthropy, she headed education departments for theaters and performing arts centers in the Twin Cities and New York City. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin.
As a former reporter, Chris Duffy understands what motivates journalists. As Goff Public’s vice president of public relations, Chris helps clients develop effective public relations and communications strategies – and his track record for story placement in the media is unmatched. Between journalism and public relations, media has been the focal point of Chris’s career for nearly 15 years. Across a variety of industries – from hospitality and health care to energy and the environment – Chris has helped clients protect and enhance their reputations, always knowing when and how to get the right story.
Danielle Flint is a licensed master’s social worker, and nonprofit leader, with a particular passion and energy for multicultural community building. She has 12 years of experience in nonprofit work program delivery, and 6 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, specializing in anti-oppression and equity in education, resilience, and restorative approaches. Danielle has led restorative circles, trained others in using restorative practices, and uses an equity framework while training. She has presented in workshops and conferences for the past seven years, trained in anti-oppression for four years, and been a fundraiser for three years.
Grace Fogland is the development and communications assistant at MCN. In her role, she works closely with the director of advancement and other members of the communications and membership team to coordinate key aspects of MCN’s fundraising and communications, including prospect research, grant proposal and report preparation, individual giving, event marketing, and external storytelling. Additionally, Grace helps increase participation and awareness of GrantAdvisor.org, and will coordinate the production of the Minnesota Grants Directory. Grace has past experience in graphic design, marketing, and communications work with both Minnesota and Nebraska-based nonprofits. She earned a B.A. in sociology/anthropology, with concentrations in film and media studies, from St. Olaf College.
Danielle Gangelhoff has spent her career helping nonprofits achieve impact through finance, administration, governance, and program development. She is currently the finance & operations director at Native Governance Center (NGC), where she strengthens finance, streamlines operations, leads organizational growth and development efforts, and has recently led NGC through a transition to remote work in response to COVID-19. Prior to joining NGC, Danielle developed and served as director of the fiscal sponsorship program at Propel Nonprofits. In addition to her work at Native Governance Center, Danielle serves as board chair of Provision Community Restaurant.
Karen Graham is the managing director of education and outreach at Tech Impact, a nonprofit that connects technology with social change. She leads a team of researchers, trainers, and writers who create technology resources such as The Consumers Guide to Donor Management Systems, all designed to help nonprofit and philanthropic leaders put their vision into action.
Jillian Gross Fortgang is energized by helping identify internal expertise and leverage collective wisdom within groups. Through years of reflective practice she has come to understand that learning and growth require curiosity, openness, and humility. This can be unsettling, uncertain work, but one of her favorite things to say is: "I like being uncomfortable." Rather than remain satisfied with the quickest or simplest solutions, using supportive coaching and facilitating strategies she asks tough questions that address root causes and require complex answers. Jillian has a Ph.D. in higher education with a concentration in organizational behavior and management and a masters in nonprofit leadership. Throughout a multifaceted 17 year career as an educator, nonprofit professional, and researcher she remains dedicated to embracing a growth mindset for herself and others.
Briana Gruenewald has an exceptional track record in journalism, cause marketing, media and blogger relations, graphic design, and promotions. She has developed and implemented award-winning communications campaigns for clients such as Second Harvest Heartland, Public Art Saint Paul, Uptown Association, Explore Minnesota, and Midwest Dairy Association. Her passion for telling the stories of cause-related organizations stems from her two years as an AmeriCorps member. Prior to joining Bellmont Partners, Briana worked with ThreeSixty Journalism, where she recruited and mentored teenage writers, along with spearheading the organization’s communications and marketing efforts. In 2019, Finance & Commerce named her a Rising Young Professional and she earned her master’s degree in graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Jennifer Hadley loves looking for trends and anomalies in data and using her organizing and analytical skills to manage datasets. In her role as database coordinator for Friends of the Mississippi River, she manages data flow between the main database (FileMaker Pro) and communications (Salsa Engage), and accounting (Quickbooks) software. She is excited to apply her educational and professional experiences to support restoration of the Mississippi River. After obtaining her master’s degree in ecology and environmental science from the University of Maine, Jennifer worked along the Rio Grande in New Mexico to monitor long-term ecological changes. After mostly being a field ecologist for 16 years, Jennifer now focuses her career on data management and looks forward to sharing with you what she has learned at Friends of the Mississippi River.
An information security professional with 20 years of focused technology and security experience, Roger Hagedorn combines business analysis and project management with cyber security solutions and specializes in helping nonprofits develop successful security strategy. He’s worked for organizations as diverse as the Seward Community Co-op, The Trust for Public Land, the Minnesota Senior Federation, and DARTS. In 2012 he earned both GSEC and CISSP security certifications. He now works for the City of Minneapolis as the IT Department’s senior security analyst. His favorite activities are performing security risk assessments, conducting strategic technology planning, vetting third-party providers and solutions, aligning technology with strategic planning and risk reduction, and developing security awareness programs. In another life on a distant planet, he also taught French, film and narrative theory at the university level.
Ruth Hamberg created Squaretree after nine years working in nonprofit communications, development, and stakeholder engagement. With a background blending research, leadership development, and the arts, Ruth partners with a broad network to lift up changemakers’ stories. Along with Squaretree, Ruth supports social change through the roles of board member and treasurers of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – Twin Cities and Minnesota Rising identity-based leadership facilitator. Previously, Ruth managed stakeholder engagement for Minnesota Compass, a project of Wilder Research. Before joining Wilder, she worked in media relations at Greater Twin Cities United Way and held internships at a microfinance institution (Ecuador), human services agency (West Central Minnesota) and social business (India). Ruth holds a bachelor of arts in Spanish with minors in biology and management from the University of Minnesota – Morris.
Jonathan Hatch is the founder and executive director of Saint Paul Media. Jonathan brings to the table more than 13 years of experience in information architecture, user experience design, and front-end development. He holds a B.F.A. and an M.A. in writing and literature with an emphasis on digital rhetoric and web content development. Jonathan got his start developing websites specifically designed to attract do-it-yourself audiences with creative content and search engine optimization. He has had the unique experience of founding and directing a nonprofit before starting his own design studio. Those experiences (and his inability to keep his opinions to himself) have made him a trusted web design and digital strategy consultant for several well-established nonprofits in the Twin Cities.
David Hogen is a financial planner with M&E Catalyst Group. He began his career in financial services in 2009 with a finance degree from the University of Minnesota, and later obtained his MBA from the University of St Thomas. With a comprehensive planning approach, David works with both individuals and small business owners through the creation and implementation of goal driven plans. While each situation is unique, David understands the importance of tying vision and values into expectations and results. In every client partnership, legacy planning is an integral facet and is often overlooked. By opening dialog about tailored philanthropic planning, clients can begin to bridge the gap to integrate their core beliefs with financial planning.
Amanda Horner is the senior communications manager at Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In this role, she builds community engagement around stable housing, children and family wellbeing, older adults and people with disabilities, and community vitality. Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Amanda worked as a communications and public affairs consultant, providing strategic counsel and implementation support to clients in social services, health care, economic development, affordable housing, and others. Throughout her career, Amanda has worked closely with new and traditional media to enhance the public conversation around critical issues in our communities. A graduate of the University of St. Thomas, Amanda recently earned a master’s degree in public policy, also from the University of St. Thomas.
Julie Jonas is the legal director for the Innocence Project of Minnesota. In addition to her work for the Project, she teaches at Minnesota law schools where she focuses on the prevention of wrongful convictions and working with clinical students to screen and investigate cases of potential innocence. Julie completed her undergraduate and law degree at the University of Minnesota. After law school, she practiced with the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office in St. Paul for nearly a decade. In her current position, she has successfully worked to secure the release of five innocent men from prison who were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. She also works on policy issues. Her work was instrumental in Minnesota’s passage of its Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act awarding compensation to innocent Minnesota exonerees.
Jonathan C. W. Jones is a seasoned award winning educator, founder and C.E.O. of Ideation4 who works with educators, schools, nonprofits, and under-resourced communities through proposal workshops, coaching, consulting, and innovation. His passion lies across the intersections of education, business, and philanthropy. Jonathan has landed local and national grants and awards from Bush Foundation to NASA, and has collaborated with organizations to impact students, educators, and community builders in the Twin Cities. Jonathan recently participated in Headwaters Foundation for Justice's Giving Project Cohort 5, which raising over $250,000 for 12 organizations for and by people of color. holds a B.A. and master’s degree in special education and a K-12 administrator license. Jonathan is looking to deepen his understanding of how fundraising and grantmaking can address inequities in the Twin Cities.
Rocky Jones is a writer, musician, and video artist based in St. Paul, who has spent his life and career committed to the idea that art and art-making can serve as catalysts for a more just world. A native of Washington, D.C., he is also an experienced marketing and communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in industries as varied as retail, design, and nonprofit arts administration. Currently, he is the director of equity, diversity and inclusion at Minnesota Opera, where he previously served as communications manager for several years.
Iris Key is the development manager at Vision Loss Resources, where she focuses on growing new revenue streams and raising awareness of how training and support can help people with vision loss, blindness, or deafblindness to stay independent. It’s all about communicating your message in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience. Iris has a master’s degree in French from the University of Michigan and a background in human resources training.
Tasha Klettenberg is the creative director of Saint Paul Media, a Minnesota design firm that specializes in brand development and website design for nonprofit organizations. Working almost exclusively with nonprofits for nearly 10 years has given her a deep understanding of the unique challenges their brands face. She especially enjoys finding innovative, creative ways to integrate visual storytelling into her website and print designs. She enjoys creating positive change through design.
Lisa Lindgren, is a recently retired associate professor of marketing. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in marketing for 20 years. Prior to that, she worked in the computer networking industry for 17 years. She has formed LML Marketing, LLC and will now devote her time to providing marketing expertise, assistance, and consulting to nonprofits and social enterprises. The passion to do this came from serving on the boards of Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity and Minnesota Street Market, a food and art co-operative in St. Joseph, for a number of years. Lisa holds the designation of Ph.D.
Mike Linnemann is development director at Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Mike sees fundraising as the art of helping passionate supporters have the greatest possible impact on programs and ideas they hold dear. As an eagle scout from central Minnesota, his foundational experience took place in the Boundary Waters, which he considers to be the state’s greatest natural asset. More recently, he honed his fundraising skills at the University of Minnesota Foundation, and today is most happy doing what he can to help keep Minnesota beautiful.
Abdeslam Mazouz is originally from the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Abdeslam moved to the U.S. at age 24 to start his IT career. He started working in an entry-level IT position as he pursued an associate’s degree in network security. After gaining experience through different positions, Abdeslam returned to school to obtain a master’s degree in information assurance and security. He has now been working in cybersecurity for more than eight years. Abdeslam works for the City of Minneapolis and was recently promoted to the position of chief information security officer for the city.
Marcia Milliken is the executive director of the Minnesota Children’s Alliance. In her role, she brings extensive experience working with multidisciplinary teams in a variety of settings, including child advocacy centers and sexual assault agencies. In addition to her history of collaborating across professional disciplines, Marcia blends the skillsets of various fields, having served as a forensic interviewer, advocate, training director, and adjunct instructor for Child Advocacy Studies. With a background in journalism studies, Marcia brings a keen eye to the development of branding and communications strategy. In her current and prior roles, Marcia led the logo and brand persona development for her organization. Marcia also specializes in the development of strong teams through protocol development, case mapping, and defining roles and responsibilities in high-functioning teams.
Before joining the Theater Mu staff as development director this past May, Wesley Mouri worked as a full time Equity actor in the Twin Cities for eight years. His work includes performances with Theater Mu, The Guthrie Theater, The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, as well as two years working in management aboard a luxury cruise liner. Wesley's passion for representation and amplifying Asian American voices on stage led him to move behind the scenes. Drawing upon unique interpersonal and communication skills, Wesley is proud to support Theater Mu's mission of promoting arts, equity, and justice both locally and nationally.
Mónica Nadal, Pollen’s art + talent director, nurtures and builds relationships in the Twin Cities’ freelance creative community to work on Pollen projects. Mónica is an innovative Puerto Rican designer and art director who centers authentic connection and communication into her design practice on a daily basis.
Amanda Nigon-Crowley is the communications & development coordinator of the Diversity Council in Rochester. Amanda brings nine years of experience in business management and 12 years of experience in management of human service organizations to the Council. She is also a trained writer and experience writing tutor. Amanda has an M.A. in art therapies from the University of Wisconsin – Superior and is a qualified mental health practitioner. She is a local farm owner and passionate about food justice.
A native Duluthian, Leah Olm has been organizing money and people for 16 years. In her 10 years of full-time individual fundraising, she organized kissing booths and foursquare tournaments. She wrote live asks that raised $71,000 in 1000-person luncheons, $18,000 at a 100-person rally and $50,000 at a one-on-one major donor meeting. She often had a fundraising budget of zero dollars, so she learned how to solicit donations of donuts and beer, take major donors out for coffees instead of lunches, and host guerilla-style events in public places so she wouldn’t have to pay for space. So it's fair to assume that if you're running into a snag in your fundraising, Leah’s been there. Leah serves as the lead coach and trainer for RaiseMN.
Trina Olson leads Team Dynamics’ curriculum development; concretizing the tools and resources our clients need to thrive. She is a two-time executive director with a track record of building and retaining teams across race, gender, and sexual orientation to achieve shared goals. Trina has built an impressive portfolio of national and regional policy and advocacy experience, centering a multitude of progressive issues, including: healthcare, hunger, living wage, immigration reform, transgender inclusive non-discrimination, and more. Trina is the author of Fairness in Philanthropy, Leveling the Playing Field for Our LGBTQ Neighbors, as well as, Seeking Safe Haven: LGBTQ People and the American Immigration Experience. Together, Trina and Alfonso have co-written a soon to be released book entitled: Hiring Revolution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Disrupt Racism and Sexism in the Workplace.
Emily Orr is the director of adaptive recreation & inclusion at Reach for Resources Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help individuals with disabilities and mental illness reach their full potential. Emily is an “accidental admin” of their Salesforce instance and utilizes the Click & Pledge app to recruit individuals to hundreds of events each year for Reach. Emily has been supporting individuals with disabilities since 2006 in various capacities but primarily through planning and facilitating activities and wellness programs.
Luciano Patiño is the information technology and data manager at Propel Nonprofits. A Salesforce certified administrator and avowed geek, Luciano designs and implements Propel's data and technology solutions. Luciano also leads workshops on cultural competency, using the Intercultural Development Inventory and other tools. Luciano has a bachelor of science in business degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Jerome Rankine, Pollen’s editorial director, finds ways to incorporate storytelling into every aspect of Pollen’s work. He helps to nurture all of Pollen’s stories from seed to flower, partnering with Pollen’s talented group of writers to help strengthen their voices and nudge narratives into place. Jerome makes music with whatever he can get his hands on, which usually means laptops and guitars and can also be found wading gently into local politics.
Rinal Ray is a public policy professional, nonprofit leader, teacher, and lawyer. Rinal is the interim executive director at People Serving People. She also teaches Nonprofit Advocacy, Lobbying and Organizing in the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at Metropolitan State University. Rinal was previously deputy public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she advanced MCN’s policy agenda. Prior to her role at MCN, Rinal served as a staff attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation. Rinal serves as a co-chair for the Voices & Choices Coalition for Children and on the board of College Possible Minnesota. She has a B.A. in international studies and political science from Macalester College and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Rinal was a 2015-2016 Humphrey Policy fellow.
Kevin Robinson, executive director of ANEW BAM, co-founded ANEW BAM in 2013 with the aim of helping students develop the skills and self-awareness to reach their fullest potential and become change agents within society. Under Kevin’s leadership, ANEW BAM has reached more than 1,500 students from the ages 5-13 in partnership with St. Paul Public Schools, doubling its reach and organizational budget in less than five years. Previously, Kevin worked as a parent liaison for the juvenile court system and sat on the board of the Department of Children’s Services. Kevin has presented at multiple conferences including the National Alliance of Black School Educators conference, Project Zero annual conference, and the 2019 SXSW EDU conference, a component of the South By Southwest family of conferences and festivals.
Katie Rojas-Jahn is the director of communications and strategy at the Minnesota Children’s Alliance, a membership organization dedicated to supporting local communities to effectively and efficiently respond to allegations of child abuse. To her role at the Alliance, she brings more than 10 years of experience working in policy, advocacy, and health care nonprofits, focusing on communications management; program development; training and collaborative learning; coalition building; and partnership cultivation. Katie believes in the power of people and communities to create transformative change. Prior to joining the Alliance, she managed community engagement strategy and health needs assessments at Children’s Minnesota. Katie received her bachelor’s degree in Chicano studies and Spanish studies from the University of Minnesota.
Dee Sabol is executive director of the Diversity Council, an organization that has spent 31 years ensuring the people of Minnesota embrace diversity as a foundation for building a healthy, inclusive, and prosperous communities. Dee has extensive experience in cross-cultural communication and change management, and most recently spent 15 years managing public affairs, strategic partnerships, and community and cultural engagement in El Paso County, Colorado. She has been deeply engaged in the areas of public-private collaboration, social justice, and equitable growth. Dee received a bachelor’s degree in communications/sociology from the University of Colorado and a master’s in public administration/nonprofit management from Regis University. She’s taught courses in social justice collaboration, governance, and public relations, and her entire career has aligned with equity and inclusion efforts in the U.S.
Andrea Sanow is the marketing manager for Propel Nonprofits where she gets to watch nonprofits grow, become stronger, and contribute to a more just community. You might have seen her other places around the sector when she worked for: Augsburg University, Arts Midwest, or the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits everything from administration, fundraiser, and communicator. In 2012-2013, she completed a year of service through Lutheran Volunteer Corps and worked at Lutheran Social Services in supportive housing in San Francisco, California. She has her master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from Augsburg University.
Winona Schultz currently serves as the development associate at Can Do Canines, where she manages the fundraising CRM database, direct mail and online fundraising, and donor cultivation. She studied nonprofit management at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and has almost 10 years of experience in fundraising, events, and volunteer management. She has a passion for storytelling, data organization, and using her powers for good.
Christine Schwitzer has over 10 years of experience in grant writing and management. She currently is grant manager at The Works Museum in Bloomington, and is founder of Holistic Grant Services, providing nonprofits with comprehensive grant writing and strategy. Christine previously served as director of development for YouthLink, where she raised $1.7 million annually in contributed revenue. Christine also served as managing director of grants at Fox Advancement, a fundraising consulting firm, where she provided grant writing consulting to dozens of Twin Cities’ nonprofits. She began her work in fundraising at the PBS Foundation in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for managing over $30 million in grants. Christine is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.
Samantha Sencer-Mura is executive director of 826 MSP. Samantha grew up in Minneapolis. During her time as a student in Minneapolis Public Schools, she recognized the deep inequities inherent in the school system and decided to commit herself to creating transformative educational experiences for underserved students. Prior to her tenure at 826 MSP, she worked as an educator and program director in New York City and the Bay Area. She received her B.A. from Occidental College and her M. Ed. in school leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also a board member for New Leaders Council Twin Cities.
Jon Severson currently serves as director of strategic partnerships & government relations for the Science Museum of Minnesota. He is responsible for the strategic relations and advancement of the museum’s top stakeholders including corporate and foundation philanthropy, corporate sponsorship, and government relations. Prior to joining the Science Museum, Jon worked with Greater Twin Cities United Way and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where he served two terms on the board of the Minnesota Association of Museums. Jon is a graduate of St. Olaf College and received his MBA from The University of St. Thomas with a concentration in nonprofit management. Jon volunteers regularly with numerous Twin Cities charities and currently serves on the Public Policy Committees for the Association of Science-Technology Centers and AFP Minnesota.
Kristin Skaar, development & communications director, has worked at Habitat Minnesota since 2014. Kristin directs Habitat Minnesota’s communications strategy and fundraising activities, including Give to the Max Day, foundation giving, annual giving, corporate sponsorships, monthly giving, and stewardship activities. Kristin previously coordinated Habitat Minnesota’s Habitat 500 Bike Ride and fundraising events at The ALS Association, MN/ND/SD Chapter and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Kristin has a degree in business management and Spanish from Luther College, where she was president of the Habitat campus chapter. Kristin has served on the board of directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities since 2017.
Becky Smith is the communications director at Violence Free Minnesota, a statewide coalition of over 80 programs working to end relationship abuse. She specializes in strategy, connection, and asset-based communications grounded in equity and justice. Becky is honored to serve on the board of Family Tree Clinic, which aims to cultivate a healthy community through comprehensive sexual health care and education.
Yesenia Sotelo is a digital skills teacher and web developer. She elevates ambitious nonprofit professionals by teaching them how to use the technology tools of modern marketing. Yesenia can teach you how to use website analytics, optimize for conversions, and understand the basics of website technology. Her SmartCause Method for building websites is especially designed for the way nonprofits collaborate, make decisions, and grow. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nonprofit Technology Network for her work teaching digital skills to nonprofit professionals.
Peter Tatikian has been involved with nonprofit technology since 1993, when he programmed the fax machine on his first day as a college intern. Since then he has managed the IT infrastructure at nonprofit organizations ranging from small grassroots startups to established organizations with multiple locations. He believes that jargon-free communications, flexibility, and a ready supply of chocolate chip cookies are more helpful to the nonprofit system administrator than a mastery of the command line.
Ebony Taylor is the project manager at Tech Impact. Over her 14 year career, Ebony has held positions from tier 1 helpdesk technician to Office 365 SME to project manager. Throughout her time at Tech Impact she has used her communication and technical skills to advance nonprofits and their technologies. These advancements are based on the changing tech world and each organization’s revolving need for new IT. Her current team consist of seven people distributed in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., where they handle all project work for Tech Impact’s managed services clients, as well as one-off clients that are seeking to upgrade or update their current IT infrastructure. Ebony’s main purpose is to keep all projects on budget and on time to ensure the needs of her clients are met in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
Mala Thao is a Hmong/Thai American refugee who has been in the philanthropic sector for almost 20 years with an equal amount of time fundraising in the community. She is currently a philanthropic advisor at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation where she helps people become smarter philanthropists by working with them to find their philanthropic mission and values. Mala strengthens the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation by serving on its equity team that seeks to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value, with a focus on racial equity. She also trains staff to have a deeper understanding of the many facets of identity, justice and equity.
Funwi Tita is the development and community relations staff member for Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in health and human services. Funwi moved to the United States in 2001 from Cameroon, West Africa. He has lived in Minnesota since. Funwi is a strong advocate for the underprivileged and underserved communities. He has spent more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector serving communities in Africa and America. He believes in the mission and vision of Habitat for Humanity, and enjoys the role of representing and sharing the great work Habitat is doing in its communities.
Bharti Wahi is executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. Bharti brings 20 years of experience as a nonprofit advocate and 12+ years in education. Prior to joining Children’s Defense Fund, she spent three years with Greater Twin Cities United Way overseeing several grant portfolios. Previously Bharti led the Children and Family Program for the Minnesota Literacy Council. Bharti is a fellow with the Annie E. Case Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship and sits on the national KIDS COUNT steering committee. She was appointed to the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet advisory council, the policy committee for the Greater Metropolitan Work Force Council, and the board for Women Organizing Women. She received her B.A. from the Saint Catherine University and her M.A. in public policy and nonprofit management from the University of Chicago.
Jeremy R. Wells currently serves as senior vice president of Philanthropic Services at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. In this role, Jeremy serves as the chief fundraising and donor stewardship strategist. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas and is a frequent speaker on a variety of advancement and fund development topics, including charitable tax policy, development planning, utilizing volunteers, donor engagement, stewardship, and ethics. In addition to his work, Jeremy serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including the AFP Global board of directors and the AFP Political Action committee. He was also selected as a 40 Under 40 recipient by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2018. Jeremy holds a master of arts designation and is a certified fundraising executive.
Alfonso Wenker drives Team Dynamics’ client engagement; working side-by-side with C-Suite executives and internal champions of cultural change efforts. He is an executive leader and facilitator of transformational organizational culture and strategy campaigns. Prior to co-founding Team Dynamics, Alfonso served as the vice president for the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Alfonso also co-chaired the National Creating Change Conference, the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ organizers in the country. In 2012, he played the role of deputy finance director for the historic Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign. Alfonso is a sought after speaker and executive coach. Alfonso’s leadership has been recognized as a 40 Under 40 Awardee - 2017, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal; Facing Race Anti-Racism Award – 2016, The Saint Paul Foundation; Catalytic Leader Award – 2014, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Jules Wilkins is the chief advancement officer at the Montessori Center of Minnesota (MCM), where she oversees the fundraising efforts that support MCM’s programming, and coordinates the strategy for all MCM communications. An expert on donor communications and board development, Jules brings more than a decade of fundraising and donor communications experience to her role at MCM. Jules has presented on donor communications and board development at the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference, the Nonprofit Innovation Conference, the MCN Nonprofit Leadership Conference, and many other local and national conferences. She writes and consults on donor communications at JulesWrites.com. She holds a B.A. from Drake University, and is a certified fundraising executive. Jules serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Minnesota Chapter.
John Wurm is membership and communications director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where he leads the organization's varied communications efforts, develops and executes marketing and promotional planning for MCN programs and products, and oversees the nonprofit and associate membership programs. Prior to joining MCN, John worked for 14 years in the Twin Cities book publishing industry, assuming a wide-range of product marketing, communications, and media relations roles. His previous nonprofit experience also includes communications, events, and marketing roles at the United Way of Minneapolis and Redleaf Press, a leading nonprofit publisher of resources for early childhood professionals. John holds a B.A. in mass communications, with an emphasis in public relations, from St. Cloud State University. He has been with MCN since 2012.
AsaleSol Young is a visionary, writer, entrepreneur, educator, and activist. With 10 years of experience as an educator, AsaleSol founded Sankofa Underground North Academy, a small charter school, and learned intimately the challenges of funding Black-led, systems-change movements. AsaleSol is currently the marketing and development director for Urban Homeworks, a small affordable housing nonprofit in North Minneapolis. Leveraging hir background as an educator and a student of African-American history, AsaleSol continues to ideate ways to make fundraising more BIPOC-centric. In her current work, AsaleSol calls us to recognize the white supremacist history that created socio-economic gaps and disparities and now result in underfunded solutions.