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Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit

Registration  |  Schedule & Sessions  |  Speakers  |  Sponsors  |  Attendees
2021 Greater MN Summit

Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, June 22 

9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.: Opening Keynote 

with Tuleah Palmer, president and CEO, Blandin Foundation

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Breakout Session 1

  • Leadership Care for Money
    Do you want to know where money and leadership intersect? Money is one of the major pillars of the society and influences every aspect of the organization. In this session, we will discuss how money impacts leadership excellence and organizational success. Discover how leaders can ensure financial efficiency, accountability, and responsibility within their teams. This session will also help leaders to understand their roles in the financial sustainability of their organizations.
    Ayodeji Oyebola, founder, Emmright Business Management & Consulting Services

  • Responsive in Crisis: Family Engagement in a Pandemic 
    Winston Churchill taught us “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Join this engaging session to learn strategies one organization in rural West Central Minnesota used to improve family engagement during crisis to help families reach their goals. Rather than waiting out the pandemic, MAHUBE-OTWA fully embraced core concepts of a Whole Family Approach from seeking out family voice, to strengths-based coaching, refining goal-development, centering on mindfulness, and working from an equity lens. These strategies led to record setting outcomes for our families, with milestones achieved that seemed impossible previously. This interactive session will provide tools for frontline staff and opportunities to practice them while also giving managers and directors keen insights for continuous improvement.
    Sandy Andress, family service worker, Liz Kuoppala, executive director, and Alice Meyer, family coach mentor, MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership

  • The Ojibwe Perspective on Rural Equity Work
    Join in a discussion about social injustice and the movement towards building a more just and equitable community from an American Indian perspective. Also learn about the podcasts and outreach to American Indian Communities through the Minnesota Indigenous Leadership Network.
    Jay Schlender, American Indian leadership and civic engagement educator, University of Minnesota-Extension

  • Why the Arts are Essential in Greater Minnesota
    This year's Summit has a great theme: The Best of Greater Minnesota. And what makes Minnesota great? Hands-down its the arts and how enthusiastically Minnesotans support the arts statewide. As nonprofits consider how to build a revitalized landscape in regions and towns across the state, several arts leaders will share why the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts, storytelling, etc.) are essential to cultural vitality and community well-being, building empathy, improving mental health and education outcomes, addressing racial injustice, and increasing economic opportunity and tourism. With localized examples, this conversation will make it clear why and how any nonprofit or local community in Greater Minnesota should prioritize weaving the arts into their ongoing work.

    Joseph Allen, project director, Gizhiigin Arts Incubator; Shantel Dow, executive director, Reif Center for the Performing Arts; Ashley Hanson, founder and director, Department of Public Transformation; Bethany Lacktorin, board chair, River Players/New London Little Theatre; Daniel Oyinloye, co-founder, DanSan Creatives; and Joanna Schnedler, executive director, Minnesota Music Coalition

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.: Wellness & Networking Session 1

  • Wellness Session: Pet Café with Ruff Start Rescue
    According to the National Institute of Health, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-released hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood. If that sounds like a perfect prescription for self-care, join us for this Wellness Session hosted by Ruff Start Rescue. Dog AND cat people welcome!
  • Networking Session: Organizational Resilience in a time of Recovery
    Nonprofits in Greater Minnesota have long been resilient and creative when it comes to maintaining lasting relationships and innovative solutions to what their communities face. In a year where resilience and creativity were relied on to get through some of the most difficult challenges we've faced as a sector, what did you learn that you want to carry forward and what do you need now? What opportunities are you identifying to work on as you turn your attention to making your organization strong for the next challenge and how does that impact your leadership? Join members from Propel Nonprofits' Strategic Services and Training teams to discuss these questions and more (like, what does it mean to return to the office after a pandemic?) in a lightly facilitated networking session.

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.: Breakout Session 2

  • Child Care Landscape in Rural Minnesota 
    What is the business that keeps other businesses in business? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the industry that helps build brains. Lack of quality childcare throughout our nation impacts your work—directly or indirectly. The current business model for child care isn’t working. We’re losing the child care workforce for many reasons. The significant shortage of childcare in Greater Minnesota has a negative impact on businesses, including nonprofits and your employees. What can we do about this? Learn how you and your nonprofit can make a difference in the child care landscape of Minnesota. 
    Nancy Jost, director of early childhood, West Central Initiative 
  • Nonprofit Leadership through a Critical Race Theory Lens
    Diversity in the nonprofit sector is more than just race. How can we use the influence we have within our organization to maximize the strengths of our differences? We will examine different types of organizational power and concepts within Critical Race Theory to discuss how our differences make us stronger. Attendees will learn what they can do to support leadership and diversity within the nonprofit sector.
    Padam Chauhan, ESL instructor, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Bradley Wolfe, Southwest Minnesota regional coordinator, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Becoming Culturally Responsive in the Workplace
    At your organization, you may work with and encounter people from different cultural backgrounds than yours. These cultural differences can influence the nature of your work and have unintended and far-reaching consequences. Avoiding the dangers of hidden biases could eventually lead to better outcomes at work. This training focuses on encouraging participants to enhance their ability to understand and evaluate complex overlapping cultural influences that affect the way you work. It will provide tools to better understand the impact of bias and to explore/develop awareness of your own biases and how these biases may impact the work you do with a diverse range of people/situations. Participants will also discuss the meaning of cultural responsiveness and suggestions on guidelines for its practice in the workplace.
    Charles Fai, program clinician, Minnesota Sex Offending Program 

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.: Wellness Session 2

  • Wellness Session: Office Yoga
    Office Yoga with Stacy Johnson will explore the breath, movement, and stretches easily incorporated into our day for increased wellbeing. Specifically designed by a mission- driven professional FOR mission-driven professionals...knowing that we need to prioritize self-care to have the resilience and passion to pursue our big-picture goals and have a positive impact on others.

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Breakout Session 3 

  • Emerging Leadership & Culture of Excellence 
    Behind each successful company/nonprofit lies a culture that inspires excellence. A major component that drives this success is the introduction of a transformative leadership style into an organization. Leadership is a matter of tapping human resources. Capable people who don’t become leaders have not exhausted all of their opportunities. We need to develop leaders to be bold at those decision-making tables and to never leave their community behind. This is how we tell our own story. This is a story that tells everybody that we belong.  Leadership is not defined by an org chart, title, or paycheck. If no one is following you, you’re probably not a leader. Some philosophies on leadership include: get comfortable being uncomfortable, give up control to get control, don’t be a credit taker, and stay contemporary.
    Eunice Adjei, executive director, Jugaad Leadership Program
  • Foggy Headlights: Reexamining the Equity Lens We Think We Have 
    In this session we will challenge the equity lenses we claim to have as a global society. In addition, we will view how audio and visual imagery has intentionally shaped how we view the social construct of race as it relates to equity and inclusion. 
    John Nehemiah Harper, director of diversity, equity & inclusion, interim director of admissions, South Central College  

Thursday, June 24

7:45 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.: Sponsor Session

  • Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.: Lessons from the COVID Pandemic
    We’ve all learned a lot through the COVID pandemic about how our nonprofit organizations respond in a crisis. Tim Marks from Church Mutual will share some of the lessons learned from the pandemic and how we can respond better to future events or catastrophes. We’ll talk about Cyber Liability issues, board considerations when it comes to designated donations, moving on from COVID, and other topics of interest to nonprofits.

9 a.m. - 10 a.m.: Breakout Session 4

  • Tips from a Program Officer 

    In the world of nonprofit revenue streams, philanthropic foundations provide less than five percent of the funding for nonprofits. Yet, the impact of foundation funding is considerably outsized compared to the actual dollar amounts granted. Join this workshop to hear from a panel of foundation program officers as they discuss the funding world and speak to the shared goals of nonprofits and foundations for community impact. What’s top of mind as they develop new funding priorities and consider the next grant round? How much importance do they see in relationship building? What resources and ideas would they like nonprofit staff to know about? Plus, take time to ask your questions about what makes foundation staff tick and about the models of grantmaking in Minnesota.
    Kari Aanestad, director of advancement, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits; Cory Boushee, program officer community impact homelessness lead, Northwest Minnesota Foundation; LeAnn Littlewolf, senior program officer, Northland Foundation; and Pablo Obregón, community engagement officer, Southwest Initiative Foundation 

  • Minnesota Not Nice: the History of Racism on the Prairie 
    This session explores the history of indigenous removal, anti-Blackness, and the construction of white supremacy in Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota name for this land that settler-colonizers transformed into state of Minnesota. This session will explore the complicated relationships between surviving indigenous communities, native-born white and black settlers and European immigrants, and Black migrants in the aftermath of the Civil War as Minnesota navigated through social upheaval and civil rights movement through the 20th century. Participants will be asked to consider how this history winded toward the state murders of Black Minnesotans, including Philando Castile (2016) and George Floyd (2020), enables the hypervisibility of Minnesota’s indigenous communities fighting environmental and political racism, and demands accountability from the state’s white-settler majority. 
    Misti Nichole Harper, visiting assistant professor, Gustavus Adolphus College 

10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Wellness Session 3

  • Pet Café with Animal Allies Human Society
    According to the National Institute of Health, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-released hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood. If that sounds like a perfect prescription for self-care, join us for this Wellness Session hosted by Daryl Yankee from Animal Allies Human Society. Dog AND cat people welcome!

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Breakout Session 5

  • HR and COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward 
    Our world has been turned upside down over the past year+ of the pandemic. This session reviews the transformative role of HR during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lessons learned and future forward considerations all organizations must have on their radar. 
    Stacy Johnston, founder, Audacity HR 
  • Communications Wellbeing: Tools for Setting Realistic Expectations 
    Communications directors at nonprofits are often a team of one, sometimes two. This means you are the person in charge of setting the overall communications strategy for the organization, executing all communications pieces, and managing additional requests that come through from the staff. It is critical to set expectations so staff have a better understanding of what is on your plate, and what is realistic for you to accomplish. This session will lay out some tools for how to set those expectations and create boundaries so you can support your staff in a way that is sustainable for you and helpful for the organization as a whole. 
    Katie Godfrey Demmer, communications director, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation 
  • Increasing the Diversity of Boards 
    Nonprofits should strive to have board members who are representative of the organization’s constituents. To be open to new viewpoints, boards should seek out new potential board members from outside the organization’s traditional circles. How can organizations prepare themselves for welcoming a diversity of viewpoints? The presenter will discuss their experience recruiting and including new board members who are representative of the community being served. 
    Ashley Charwood, admissions representative, Bemidji State University 

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.: Wellness & Networking Session 4

  • Wellness Session: Office Stretching with Duluth Area Family YMCA
    The virtual world has kept a lot of us sitting at our desks more often than not. Counteract this lack of movement and stagnant posture with a 30 minute office stretch session led by a Duluth Area Family YMCA personal trainer and group exercise instructor. You'll leave this wellness session feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and full of motivation to make movement a regular part of your work day!
  • Networking Session: Strategies for Financial Resilience and Recovery
    Did the financial needs of your organization shift over the last year? How did you use your PPP loan and what did it make possible during a time of disruption? Nonprofits had to be creative with their resources as they maintained and expanded programs, or paused other operations in 2020 - so what now? Join members from Propel Nonprofits' Accounting & Finance and Capital Assets teams to discuss what lessons you've learned and what you need now to create a more resilient organization.

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.: Breakout Session 6

  • How to Collaborate Effectively Using Google Drive 
    Google Drive is a cloud storage and sync service. It also includes a suite of online applications like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and more. This session will showcase how use these applications to collaborate effectively with your co-workers, clients, and vendors. Topics for this session will include how to use some of these applications and how to store, sync, and share your work files with google drive. 
    Ben Nwachukwu, information technology specialist, Southwest Minnesota State University 
  • The American Democracy Project: Creating Inclusive Civic Spaces for Deliberation Across Differences and Learning Complementary Public Action with the People
    For the wellbeing of our communities and our democracy, we need to think differently about how we engage citizens in the problems which matter the most on our campuses and in our communities. This session introduces deliberative practice as a learning process to develop civic skills and capacities, and shares the experience of choicemaking with resources on voting and the example of Warriors Vote to empower new populations with the franchise.
    Kara Lindaman, professor of political science/public administration, Winona State University 
  • Using the Senses for Multiracial Communication
    This session brings attention to how we register racial biases, stereotypes, and prejudices through sensory experiences in everyday context. We provide concepts and examples for understanding the role of the senses in constructing social and cultural differences. By raising awareness of how we sense and feel racially-charged interactions, this session provides organization leaders with the tools to identify and enhance how we communicate in multiracial contexts.
    Christopher Brown, acting dean, College of Arts & Humanities and professor of communication studies and Sachi Sekimoto, professor and acting chair, Department of Communication Studies, Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Earned Revenue: The Business of Sustainability 
    As the fundraising environment continues to evolve, many organizations are looking to diversify the income streams that support our important work. In this session, we will examine models for earning income from the services and expertise of our nonprofits to create new, sustainable sources of revenue. 
    Cameron Kruger, president & CEO, Duluth Children’s Museum 

2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Closing Keynote - Rewriting the Rural Narrative

with Benjamin Winchester, rural sociologist, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality 

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