Trivia Night Meet-Up
Monday, July 14th
Bar Abilene, hosted by Jon Berry

Mission Statement Mixer
Wednesday, July 16th
Fulton Brewery

Emerging Leaders Network lunch: Fundraising 305
Friday, July 18th
12:00-1:00 pm
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 

Disc (Frisbee) Golf Meet-Up
Wednesday, July 23rd
Minnehaha Park, hosted by Elissa Schaufman

YNPN-TC & YEP-TC Night at the Guthrie
Tuesday, July 29th
7:30pm show, drinks afterwards
$15 = tix to "Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike" plus a drink
Please Come 30 minutes before the show
Call Guthrie BO (612-377-2224) and ask for "YNPN" offer

Board Game Night Meet-Up
Thursday, August 14th
Chatterbox Pub, hosted by Elissa Schaufman



* Notes from Creating Leader-full Spaces presentation at 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference.

* Facilitation resources on topics such as Open Space Technology and World Cafe, and groups such as the Public Conversations Project and the international Art of Hosting network.






We provide and promote opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals.

We envision a world where young nonprofit professionals:

• connect through purpose
• challenge to change
• lead together

Our values:

● We strive for respect and inclusiveness
● We seek opportunities to collaborate
● We respond to the evolving needs of our community

Subscribe by E-mail

The Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is a community of nonprofit staff, volunteers, supporters, and allies: current and future leaders who want to connect with others in the social sector.



Bite-Sized Leadership Lessons

By Leah Lundquist
Follow me on Twitter: @leahlundquist 

Ever since hearing the inspiring words of Bush Foundation CEO Jen Ford Reedy and Humphrey School Associate Dean Laura Bloomberg at the 2014 YNPN National Conference, I’ve been thinking about how impactful it is to hear an individual speak about his or her perspective on leadership.

After all, what really is leadership? You can’t put it in a box or a clear-cut definition. Everyone lives leadership in his or her own way, and it is something entirely different and powerful when it emerges from a team of individuals. 

But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that leadership takes inspiration. It takes seeing behavior or hearing an approach that you feel moved by enough to integrate it into your way of being in the world.  I thought I would provide a little fresh fodder for you to reflect on today in the words of four incredible leaders here in Minnesota’s civic sector.

All these video clips come from digital case studies that are a part of the Hubert Project, a collection of open educational materials for individuals working in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors. Tip (from a Proud Project Director – full disclosure here): Bookmark it as a great and ever-growing resource for free professional development!

Grab your lunch, sit back and have a watch: 

Gloria Perez, President & CEO of the Jeremiah Program on Values & Passion (1:55)

Food for Thought: What are your interests? What are the deep-seated values and experiences driving those interests? Where do those values show up in the work you’re doing in the world? If they don’t, how can you realign your work to pay attention to what fuels you?


Danette Buskovick, Director, Training, Research & Communications at MN Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs on the Importance of Relationships (1:25)

In this clip, Danette is talking about the work that was done to bring together the cross-sector Safe Harbor Taskforce to design the policy that is now actively addressing the sex trafficking of minors in Minnesota.

Food for Thought: Where have you seen the key importance of relationships show up in your work? Is there an area of your work where you might be neglecting the importance of reaching out to partners, new and old? Are you asking that key question, “Who isn’t at the table who should be?”


Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations on the Value of Co-Leadership, Mentorship, Sponsorship (2:03)

In this clip, Trista is referring to the work of the African American Leadership Forum, “a movement of African American leaders and stewards across five metropolitan areas,” including the Twin Cities.

Food for Thought: What’s your “sphere of influence” and how are you creating positive change in that space? Who are those who have modeled mentorship or sponsorship with you and how are you paying this forward?  


Dr. H. Yvonne Cheek, President of Millennium Consulting Group and Consultant for the African American Leadership Forum on being a “pivot point” as a leader – being able to engage in “both/and thinking” in order to lead in complex, adaptive social change efforts.  (2:02)

Food for Thought: What could benefit a better balance of “both/and” in your work? Is what you’re dealing with a “problem to be solved” or a “polarity to be managed?”

Hope you enjoyed these words of wisdom. What would you offer as something you’ve learned about “leadership” by living it?  

Photo Credit


Moving On

By Sarah Townsend Morris
Follow me on Twitter: @morrissaraht

“HelloGoodbyeHelloGoodbye… I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
The Beatles, Hello, Goodbye

These lyrics come from what feels like my theme song of late: Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles. Since graduating college in 2007, my now husband and I have moved four times, never staying anywhere longer than three years. Perhaps we’re not so different from you or many others in our generation, who chase job opportunities wherever they lead.

Here’s my story:

I arrived in Minneapolis in mid-June of 2012 with a shiny new MPA degree, eager to dig into the civic fabric of the city, grow strong community connections, and land the best possible job. We were pursuing an excellent career opportunity for my husband, and I felt confident that the Twin Cities’ booming nonprofit sector would make the town a great fit for my career, as well. Putting my heart and soul into my networking efforts was the only way to find and secure the “right” job, I thought, so I joined any and every group I could find, attending all the events I could afford. I ran myself ragged for a few months, but by all measures, my efforts quickly worked. I was firmly established in the nonprofit community and had a full-time job consulting to nonprofits by September of that year.

Fast-forward to mid-April 2014:

After close to two years in Minneapolis, my husband’s career aspirations and the difficulties of living thousands of miles from our nuclear families led us to search for new opportunities. When we got the news that he had been offered a position in South Florida, I was, on a personal level, thrilled. He would work more normal hours, we would be able to spend more time together, and we would be within driving distance of his family. South Florida would be warm and beautiful, and we would say goodbye to Minnesota winters. The Southeast is truly home to us. We were so happy.

On a professional level, however, I was filled with dread and sadness. I felt like I had just hit my stride with work, excelling in my job and even bringing in several new clients. I had spent an immense amount of effort really learning the local nonprofit landscape and had deepened and expanded my personal network. Additionally, I was in the middle of my board term for YNPN-TC, and I had just taken on the role of Governance Committee Chair. With fellow committee members, I was gearing up to develop our next strategic plan, and I was eager to pitch in to make the YNPN National conference a huge success. It hurt my heart to think about walking away from all that I had worked so hard to build here. It was even more difficult thinking about how to break the news to my boss, clients, and fellow YNPN-TC board members.

Fast-forward to today:

Even though it hurt, I did it. We’ve all made it through to the other side of my goodbye, and now I’m down in South Florida in Week Two of my job hunt. With the heartache of goodbye still quite fresh, I have been wondering: is it worth it to put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this next chapter? Who knows what the future holds… How will I feel if I invest in this community the way I invested in the Twin Cities, only to have to turn around and say goodbye again? Will it be harder to say goodbye another time? Does it get any easier the more frequently you say goodbye? Is it really worth it to get invested?

Those questions are coming from a logical place in my mind. But I have to tell my mind and my ego to be quiet right now. This work–this charitable and philanthropic drive we all feel–has to be governed by the heart at times like this. The mind, the ego, they aren’t the ones that push us to this work. If we were driven purely by logic and the need to (materially) succeed, we wouldn’t be in this sector. We nonprofiteers all, on some level, feel driven in our hearts to this work.

So, right now I must listen to my heart, and my heart always tells me to go all-in:

Push yourself to understand this community’s needs. Push yourself to find a place where your talents can help make positive change. Push yourself to get to know people, to get connected, to understand how you can help them and they can help you. It will be hard if you have to say goodbye again. But maybe you won’t have to say goodbye again. Then, it will have been worth the effort ten times over. And what if you do have to say goodbye again? Then at least you will know you’ve made a mark on others’ lives, a mark on the community that leaves it a better place—in however small a way—than when you came.

My hope is that, in my two years in town, I have left a positive mark on the Twin Cities and on your life, no matter how small. And please know that you have made a mark on me. I’ve never before seen civic engagement like I witnessed and partook of in the Twin Cities. I’ve never before seen such a passionate effort to create inclusive and responsive systems that work to eliminate inequity and inequality for all marginalized groups. I’ve never before seen such sophisticated and authentic community engagement in nonprofit work. I’ve never before had the opportunity for self-examination that comes with being a cultural foreigner. You’ve knocked me down a few times, but you’ve also picked me back up and inspired me. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your community. Thank you for challenging me and changing me for the better. Thank you. 

Photo Credit



A more “Beautiful day in the neighborhood”

By Angie Keeton

Click “Like” if Fred Rogers is your hero?

“Rodgie”—as I called him as a child—was and is one of my heroes, and I know that I’m not alone in this sentiment. I can say that nearly every morning as a young child, I turned on PBS, and watched, listened, and learned with my favorite TV neighbor.

Now, 30 years later, watching Mr. Rogers with my own kid, I am happily swept back to a beautiful time when and I learned about feelings, making crayons, Yo-Yo Ma, cooperation, friendship, and caring for animals—especially the fish. For his talent, persistence, patience, humility, I am grateful to have experienced it all first hand, while he was still with us.

Pam Costain, president and CEO of Achieve Mpls and guest speaker at June’s Breakfast of Champions, spoke to us with conviction and candor and posed the question “Who influences us? Who mentors us? Who are we drawn to as leaders to learn from?”

For me, at a time that was so critical to my child development, that person was Fred Rogers. For Pam Costain, it was the incomparable U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. She first met Wellstone when she was a 19-year-old sophomore at Carleton College where he was a political science professor. Knowing him transformed her life. She considered him her mentor and friend. She worked on Wellstone campaign, until the tragic plane crash in 2002 that took his life, that of his wife, their daughter, and three staffers. She then went to work building Wellstone Action for five years, followed by four years on the Minneapolis School Board, and has been at Achieve Mpls now for four years.

Pam believes deeply that “people are the agents of change” and “relationships are the glue” that makes things move together. Many of us present on June 8, of course, echo that sentiment since we are all working in some capacity for the greater good. The majority of us present that morning are also working specifically in the field of education or social services in support of education. So, every day, our work is focused on youth and adult education. But our discussion with Pam helped remind me that while our day-to-day work is critical, what we do away from our desks can also have a huge impact on the future for the young people in our community.

At a time where we are perpetually determining a monetary value for things (A postage stamp from the 1900’s just sold for 9 million dollars last week) I want to ask you, “How much was your education worth to you?” Go all the way back to pre-school or kindergarden. What was it worth?

If you had had a dramatically different experience during your school years, do you think you would be in the position you are today? The person you are today? Successfully and passionately serving clients and communities through a nonprofit organization?

Now I’ll ask you another question. Did you vote for school board in the last election? Or ever?

This is where organizations like Achieve Mpls play a critical role in our community. They are the advocate, the voice, the bridge to connect the community to the school district. They fundraise; they research; they communicate; they build movements and public will. They support the district while walking the tight rope of their deeply held values and convictions and progressive goals.

Back to Mr. Rogers. Have you heard his testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969? It’s six minutes of your day that will wow you. Can you imagine what he would have to say to us now, with the conditions children are facing both at school and at home? Can you imagine what he might say about padded seclusion rooms? The recent school shootings? The crisis of our drop-out rates? I think he would be gravely concerned about what is happening to education and to our kids and we should be, too.

Each of us is called to speak out just like Fred Rogers did so articulately in his testimony. Though we work for the greater good everyday in our jobs, we can’t forget that we have a responsibility to go beyond that. What is it worth to you that every other kid, regardless of their luck in life, got to have the same chance to discover the leader, the genius, in themselves?

I would say it’s worth everything I got.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” — Fred Rogers

I really want to be Mr. Roger’s hero. Will you join me?

“Hey, kiddo! Hand mommy my zip-front cardigan. Let’s lace up our sneakers and get to work.”

Photo credit



Forever young

By Adam Yust
Follow me on Twitter: @mplstp

Have you ever felt like the youngest person in the room? Growing up in a civically-engaged family, I constantly found myself the youngest person at neighborhood meetings. 

In 2000, at age 13, I went on the record at a Saint Paul community meeting to oppose a project that would have destroyed aspects of my neighborhood. A bus-way from downtown Saint Paul to Mall of America was proposed to travel down the center of West 7th Street. This transit project would have cut service levels, divided the neighborhood in half, and taken away boulevard trees. Because of my young age, people at the meeting asked me, "Why are you here?" I answered, "I'm here because I care."

Fast forward to 2014.

I currently sit on the board of my Saint Paul neighborhood district council. This board doubles as a nonprofit and a community development corporation. Saint Paul is lucky to have a local form of governance like the Neighborhood District Council System. It is relatively easy to become civically engaged in your community by participating in your neighborhood district council.     

Click to read more ...


Can we stop talking about passion for a minute?

By: Lindsay Bacher
Follow me on Twitter: @lindsayinMPLS

It seems to be pretty standard for career books and blogs (even this one) to tell you that the secret to career success is to channel your passion and do the thing you love.

That’s crap. Well-intentioned, but in my opinion, crap.

Ok, maybe not complete crap, but unattainable for a lot of people. It takes a certain amount of luck and grit to make it in a career that matches your passion. And we have to acknowledge that being paid to do the thing you love is a privilege. It’s far more common for people to hate their job than to love it.

Click to read more ...