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New Structures for New Times

August 20, 2012 in Events, Uncategorized

Two nonprofits merge to better meet needs of the poor

Reposted from MinnPost

Ask Liz Kuoppala whether it’s the economy or the need for more clout that’s propelling her social service organization’s upcoming merger and she’s hard-pressed to make a distinction.

Really, she’ll tell you, it is both the significant need of Minnesota’s poor as well as the need for a more commanding profile in this challenging economy that is leading to the marriage of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and the Affirmative Options Coalition.

Simply put, the advocacy groups realize they share a similar vision and mission. In that, the groups are like many other service nonprofit organizations in Minnesota that have merged since 1999, according to an interesting study, “Synopsis: Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers,” released in July by MAP for Nonprofits and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Read the rest of this entry →

Guest Blog: New Structures for New Times

August 1, 2012 in Event, Uncategorized

Making Sense of Mergers

Judy Alnes, Contributor, executive director, MAP for Nonprofits
We’re done with the last minute scurrying to finish the nonprofit merger research which was unveiled yesterday July 31st. The research team has held its final meeting, designs have been poured over, fonts selected, paper purchased, edits made, and press checks completed. Now all that’s left to do is turn our attention back to the future. And what a huge future it is as nonprofit leaders explore strategies to keep their organizations successful.

When MAP and Wilder Research embarked on this research journey two years ago, we aimed to learn more about nonprofit mergers. Do they create more vital organizations? Can a merged nonprofit be more effective in securing resources? Can it stave off the pain of reductions in funding? Can it create a more revved up financial engine for preserving the services that we most need in our communities? Do nonprofit mergers hold any promise as a response to the tight economic times in which nonprofits find themselves? Read the rest of this entry →

Merger Forum

July 20, 2012 in Event, Uncategorized

DATE: Tuesday, July 31
TIME: 8 a.m. – 12 noon
LOCATION: Hilton Minneapolis
A conference on collaborative strategies to maintain our strong nonprofit sector in the challenging decade ahead, in view of declining government funds and increasing need. MORE INFORMATION


July 20, 2012 in Conversation, Homelessness, Jobs & Training, Poverty, Uncategorized

Grant Abbott, a Faces of Poverty participant, posed the question we’re talking about now: are people equally free?

“I would like to say something about why talking about poverty is so difficult in this country. I believe it is difficult because it gets at the heart of the American myth of a free society in which hard-working individuals can lift themselves up and out of poverty. Poverty raises very difficult questions for this myth. Are people equally free? What is the impact of racism on people’s ability to work themselves out of poverty? Does the wealth gap between the rich and the bottom half of the population create such an unfair advantage that government needs to address it?…”Grant Abbott, Interim Executive Director, Episcopal Community Services of Minnesota

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Fourth Annual Agency Survey

July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Each year for the last four years, Greater Twin Cities United Way has conducted a survey of the nonprofit agencies that receive United Way funding.
The results are now available.


A few key highlights:

  • The increase in number of people served seems to have finally peaked: For the first time since we began this survey, fewer than half of the responding agencies (45%) reported that client load increased in the prior year.
  • There was a significant jump in the proportion of agencies reporting an increase in the number of unaccompanied or homeless youth they are seeing.
  • More than half (55%) of the agencies reported they lost government funding in 2011. But the same portion (55%) reported increased revenue through individual donations.

READ MORE Download the full report or the executive summary.


June 22, 2012 in Conversation, Homelessness, Jobs & Training, Poverty, Uncategorized

The hard conversations are the ones worth having

There are some things we’d rather not talk about. Politics, race and religion are almost always off-limits. Approaching any one of these hotbed issues, even with the best of intentions, is a risky proposition. With a failing economy and eroding confidence in our government, is poverty yet another conversation we’d just as soon avoid? 

As the online facilitator of United Way’s Faces of Poverty conversations, I continually ask myself  if it’s possible to really engage the community in an unflinching look at poverty that elicits candor rather than apathy. Eager for fresh perspectives and ideas, having a dialogue of substance, particularly in a digital space, is a challenging proposition. But I remain convinced that it’s a vital conversation for our community and country.

Dubbed the “poverty tour,” radio and television talk show host, Tavis Smiley, and Cornel West, professor of African American studies at Princeton University, took their anti-poverty message on the road to 18 American cities while promoting their book, The Rich and the Rest of Us. At the heart of their message is a plea for America to start talking about the plight of the poor.

Read the rest of this entry →

Celebrate Pride Month with United Way Arise Project

June 22, 2012 in Event, Uncategorized

Igniting Action in the LGBT Community

United Way Arise Project is a powerful collaboration of smart, bold and civic-minded professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of the LGBT community. Through focused giving, advocacy and volunteering, Arise works for positive change by increasing the quality of life in the LGBT community. This year marks its first as a Giving Community and will focus on reducing youth homelessness in our community. Read the rest of this entry →

Heard on United Front

May 21, 2012 in Conversation, Education, Jobs & Training, Poverty, Uncategorized

LIVE on United Front 
to “All Conversations” and Join Us

Do we have a skills gap or jobless recovery problem? Here’s what a conversation participant had to say:

“Really great and interesting points. From an education perspective, 40 percent of Minnesota high school seniors who continue on to a college or university (including two- and four-year programs) require remedial math and/or reading. Also, Minnesota’s overall achievement gap is second-worst in the United States. I think for many students and the emerging workforce, we do face a skills gap in Minnesota. However, I completely appreciate that the jobs aren’t there as well, and disheartened to read Liz’s post about job wages. In many ways, from income levels to access to education, Minnesota is becoming increasingly polarized.”

Nicholas Banovetz, Public Affairs Manager, MinnCan

Joyce Foundation President Recognizes Minnesota FastTRAC Success

May 21, 2012 in Events, Jobs & Training, Uncategorized

In a recent speech at the Philanthropy Leaders Series (hosted by MCN), Ellen Alberding of Joyce Foundation, described the important systems change efforts of Minnesota FastTRAC resulting in career pathways for low-income communities. Ellen effectively outlined the state’s efforts by talking about the success of an individual FastTRAC participant, Antoinette McCarthy (who had recently been recognized in the Governor’s second State of the State). Ellen characterized Antoinette’s story “as inspirational as her smile–that night was electric.” Antoinette, a mother of three struggling to make ends meet, had recently completed a FastTRAC training that earned her an industry recognized credential and was now on a trajectory to earning double that of a minimum wage job. Antoinette has also chosen to continue her education and will complete coursework this fall becoming a Registered Nurse. State policy change and innovative program efforts funded by Joyce Foundation was a big part of Antoinette’s success. READ MORE

Leadership’s Pursuit of Excellence

May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Number One Factor for Effective Leadership

Reposted from Yours In Improvement by Brian Lassiter, President, Minnesota Council for Quality

“Leaders are never too busy to strive for excellence,” said BG Porter, president of Studer Group at last week’s Quest for Excellence conference in Washington DC. I attend this conference most every year, and I always pick up best practices on what drives organizational performance excellence. This year (since I’m now Tweeting: @LassiterBrian – see my article last month on social media!), I was listening to the remarkable line up of speakers, searching for the 140-character insights. Like this one from Nancy Schlicting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System: “The most important word that creates an entrepreneurial and innovative environment: ‘yes.’” In other words, empower your people and good things will happen. READ MORE