Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit

2021 Greater MN Summit

In 2011, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits began hosting an annual conference for nonprofits in regional centers, small towns, and rural communities.

For our 10-year anniversary, we are hosting a virtual Greater Minnesota Summit on June 22 and 24. This two-day summit is designed to bring together staff, board members, and volunteers from across Greater Minnesota to learn, network, and strategize. 

Whether your work stretches across multiple counties or is focused on one small town, nonprofits face many of the same issues. And these issues play out differently in every one of our communities. This regional conference will take time to explore what it means to be a nonprofit in Greater Minnesota.

This year's theme is The Best of Greater Minnesota. Together, we will tackle some of the most important perennial themes for nonprofits in Greater Minnesota including leadership, fundraising, communications, and engaging diverse communities. Throughout each discussion, we'll look at the ways that these issues play out in our Greater Minnesota communities and we'll highlight opportunities for building a revitalized landscape for all.


Conference Keynotes

Tuleah PalmerJune 22 Keynote: Kitchen Table Wisdom at the Board Table
Tuleah Palmer, president and CEO, Blandin Foundation

Working in rural and Native nonprofits since 14, Tuleah Palmer has spent 29 years serving and leading nonprofit organizations.  Beginning as a subsidized youth worker in a mailroom, to executive director in one of rural Minnesota’s larger nonprofit organizations, Tuleah seeks to inspire courageous leadership as we begin the renewal era of natural and man-made disasters in the last year. Transitioning from nonprofits into philanthropy as the new president of the Blandin Foundation last summer, Tuleah will share lessons learned in complex rural nonprofit management, including power dynamics between funders and nonprofits, the art of framing narrative, setting the bar in budgeting, demystifying evaluation, and the critical role of reciprocity in relationships between community, nonprofits and funders.   

Ben WinchesterJune 24 Keynote: Rewriting the Rural Narrative
Benjamin Winchester, rural sociologist, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality

It seems the rural story has already been told. Small towns keep getting smaller.  Churches, schools, clinics, businesses, and now post offices, have closed their doors as the lucky few migrate out to the big cities. This deficit framework dominates how we discuss and envision our rural communities. However, the story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar. Learn how positive changes around migration, community involvement, economic development, and regional living have diversified this landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.

Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit

June 22 & June 24, 2021
Virtual Conference - Live/Recorded
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Sponsored by: 

Church Mutual Insurance

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board


Initiative Foundation logo


Mankato Area Foundation logo


Northland Foundation


Northwest Minnesota Foundation


Propel Nonprofits

Southwest Initiative Foundation

West Central Initiative

Greater Minnesota Summit Planning Committee

  • Terri Allred, Greater Minnesota and Southeast Regional Coordinator, MCN

  • Courtney Gerber, Program Director, MCN

  • Kelly LaCore, Northeast Minnesota Regional Coordinator, MCN

  • Joe Pederson, West Central Minnesota Regional Coordinator, MCN

  • Warsame Warsame, Central Minnesota Regional Coordinator, MCN

  • Bradley Wolfe, Southwest Minnesota Regional Coordinator, MCN