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Demystifying Board Service: Part 2

by Julia Jackson

You may have heard the saying “if you’ve seen one board you’ve seen one board,” but what exactly does that mean? Boards have the same responsibilities at the most fundamental level; however, I’ve seen first-hand in my work as a consultant and board member that boards can vary dramatically. These differences can have an impact on the experience you'll have and the work you'll do. 

In Demystifying Board Service Part I, I wrote about knowing what you want to give and get out of board service and how to match that with what a board needs. But to really ensure a great fit—one where you can make the best use of your time and talents─you have to understand the board’s composition and function.

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Unlocking the Mystery Surrounding Foundations

Whether you’ve researched grant opportunities, written a grant application or received funding from a foundation, you know that foundations play an important role in supporting and sustaining the nonprofit community. But, how much do you actually know about foundations? Do you know what distinguishes a private foundation from a public foundation? Or, how many foundations are located in Minnesota?

No? Neither did I, so for May’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, Stephanie Jacobs from the Minnesota Council on Foundations joined us to help clear up a little of the mystery that seems to surround foundations. Here's the scoop.

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Member Spotlight | Who is Mai Youa Moua?

by Michael Brink
follow me on Twitter: @michaelkbrink

The Vitals: Name, Current City, Age
Mai Youa Moua, Oakdale, MN. 24.

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Q&As | How can I approach my supervisor about my future career path?

In this edition of Q&As, I caught-up with Art Berman—President & CEO of Twin Cities RISE!—to discuss what seems to be the no man’s land of career planning with your superior. Checkout his thoughts below on handling this daunting issue!

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Are We Really Facing Race?

main.jpgThe following blog is by James Faghmous.

On the night of May 1, 2011, hundreds of people stormed the streets of New York and D.C. They waved the US flag and chanted our national anthem. They were celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. Although such celebrations did not take place in the Twin Cities, I find it ironic and timely that the Saint Paul Foundation hosted its  5th Annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards at the Saint Paul River Center just two days later.

It is important to realize that extremist nationalism–systematically self-aggrandizing while ignorantly diminishing others—breeds racism. In fact, racism disguised in nationalism is even more dangerous, since it provides some seemingly legitimate excuse for racist thoughts and behavior. Whether it is “Latinos are taking our jobs” or “Muslims are terrorists” the result for individuals of the non-dominant culture is the same; they are marginalized, discriminated against and placed under heightened scrutiny.

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Stay Classy, Minnesota!

classy.jpgDisclaimer: About two months ago, I started a new job with Jefferson Awards for Public Service, an organization whose mission is to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism by presenting awards to those that exhibit outstanding service to their community.

In late March, I attended the National YNPN Leaders Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan and learned about a unique relationship that the San Diego YNPN chapter began with The Classy Awards. The Classy Awards recognize the top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses, fundraisers and volunteers from across the country, and last year they decided to partner with YNPN San Diego to honor an Outstanding Young Nonprofit Professional. 

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Mind the Age Gap: Tips for Navigating an Intergenerational Workplace

main.jpgIt was my first day at a new job. I almost made it through lunch before facing the dreaded question: “How old are you?" Four hours on the job and I'd realized that most of my colleagues were 20-30 years my senior. I’d hoped to not reveal exactly how young I was until I’d been there a bit longer, but it was not meant to be. "I'm 26." "Oh, I thought you might be about my daughter's age," my colleague replied. "She's 24."

Starting a new job is often nerve wracking. Starting a new job when you're the youngest person at work can be even harder. I remember the questions running through my head: “Will my colleagues think I’m too young for this job? Will I fit in? Will my contributions be respected?”

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Demystifying Board Service: Part 1

Last fall I registered for a class at the Humphrey School that required me to be on a board. I knew little about boards, but was interested in them. I just didn’t know why anyone would want me on a board or how to find one. I’m young-ish, haven’t worked in the Twin Cities nonprofit sector for very long, don’t have a lot of money, and I’m not well connected to rich or prestigious people. But there I was, required to serve on a board.

My boss was just finishing some consulting working with Rainbow Rumpus. She thought it would be a good fit for me because the organization was in a period of growth; they were high functioning board; the people on the board were good people to work with; and there would be a lot of leadership opportunities. So I contacted them.

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Reflection in times of crisis

I answered a call by making a call.

From my cozy, sunny office, I made two phone calls (of course, on my break time and from my cell phone)–one to Senator Klobachar and one to Senator Franken.  As a constituent, a former AmeriCorps member and public interest lawyer that facilitates legal volunteering, I explained how I have seen AmeriCorps improve communities through education, jobs training and environmental programs. Until it all came tumbling out of my mouth on those phone calls, I didn’t realize how much service meant to me and the people in my life.

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The Folly of Fearing Facebook

At last week’s Emerging Leaders Network lunch, we talked a lot about how to handle current or prospective employers and colleagues looking you up on social networking sites. Several suggestions bounced around the room: Direct professional contacts to your LinkedIn profile instead of Facebook, restrict certain Facebook updates to a more select group of people, maintain two different Facebook accounts (I’m not a big fan of that last one). And then we started talking more extreme measures: Ramping up privacy settings to 11 to be unfindable, or even altering your name so it doesn’t look like you at all.

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