Since this site is meant to share my journey and learnings as I move from a corporate career into a nonprofit career, I thought it might be time to share the top 5 organizations I have in my scope and why I am so excited by this move.
I want to start by saying, there are almost an unlimited number of incredible nonprofits in the Twin Ciites. We a major hub for innovation, leadership, support and outcomes, second only to San Francisco. I am very proud of what that means for our community!
I mention this because, while I am focusing on 5 incredible organizations that I am interested in becoming a part of, this list will change and grow as I learn more and continue to network. (These are in no particular order).
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) – They are a multidimensional human services organization that is quietly serving both the Jewish and non-Jewish population. They have just successfully completed a 5 year strategy and are in the beginning phases of what the next 5-10 years will look like. They’ve been gifted building and are starting into a capital campaign to retrofit the building in order to move in late fall. They are in a unique and exciting partnership with PRISM who will also be moving and co-locating with them this fall. I am so impressed with their approach and creative thinking. As they researched their strengths and gaps, they realized they are one of the few JFCS’s in the country without a food shelf. Rather than fill that gap by creating one on their own, they sought out a partner in PRISM. This is not a merger or acquisition, its a true partnership that leverages the best of both organizations in order to better serve the community. Impressive and something I aspire to be a part of.
The YWCA Minneapolis – Their motto is to … Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women. Their moto was enough to put them at the top of my list but HOW they do it is why they stay at the top of my list. They are vigilant about identifying, discussing and rooting out racism. Their “Lets Talk about Race” forum and workshops as well as the expert leaders on their team are amazing resources for the whole community; profit, nonprofit, civic, etc. They have a board comprised entirely of women and a leadership staff that is overwhelmingly female. With their new leader (Luz Maria Frias), I’m excited to see what new audacious goals they set for themselves and therefore are setting to help move all people forward with grace while being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Watching them is like seeing my values in action and I’d love to be a part of their future.
Wilder – Center for Communities (WCC) – One of the pioneer organizations that uses data to drive strategy AND shares that data openly, easily and generously with the communities they serve. They are organized into 3 functions; research, direct services and the WCC. The WCC is fascinating. They use the data insights from research and imagine new ways to solve problems in our communities. They aren’t afraid to take risks and pilot new programs. The WCC also realizes that leadership is critical to the success of any organization but especially nonprofits since resources are constrained. They have amazing leadership training, cohorts and shared experiences that rival any Fortune 100 for impact and personal growth. It’s a small but mighty team that I’d love to be a part of!
The Boys & Girls Club (National) – Talk about an organization that is embracing change! When Jim Clark joined B&GC 5 years ago, he set out to make change. With more than 1,000 clubs (including international locations), they serve more than 4 million kids, thats a big reach and huge task! Historically, the club experience was determined by the local leadership team. B&GC is on a mission to drive a more consistent and quality club experience and its been fun to learn about how they plan on bringing this vision to fruition. They are truly embracing change management and have partnered with some amazing organizations on programming, data and research. There are some pretty interesting regional roles that are helping drive the change with a coordinated, supportive and high touch approach. Feels like it would be a great entry point for my skill set.
Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) – NAZ is focused, committed, tenacious, audacious and strategy. Who WOULDN’T want to be a part of that?! “NAZ has a game-changing approach that is closing the achievement gap. NAZ’s wraparound framework effectively supports low-income children of color so that they will graduate from high school prepared for college”. Again, their work is seeped in data and research with a vigilant focus on outcomes for the scholars and families they serve (all kids are referred to as scholars, how cool is that!?!) Inspired by the results of the Harlem Children’s Zone, they were initially funded through a 5 year Promise Neighborhood grant and are now rolling out a more widespread support model to continue their work well into the future. Their programming is innovation and focuses on partnering with other local agencies to deliver in community, wrap around support for the whole family. As they grow, I’m paying a close eye to when they may need additional operational help in order to scale efficiently, I’d love to help this amazing organization succeed.
So, what do all the above organizations have in common? Why am I so intrigued by them and interested in joining their teams in order to advance their missions?
- see the need for change, embrace the need for change and are committed to change through action.
- support children and families in new, innovative and bold ways that set audacious goals with an optimistic approach.
- are willing to test and learning into what’s best for their community.
- use data to inform gaps, potential solutions, progress and real outcomes.
- understand that communities need to work together for the greatest good and that we are ALL better together.
My hope is … this or something better, for all involved. I would consider it an honor and privilege to work at ANY of the above organizations and have the opportunity to use my skills and experience to make a difference while learning along side amazing leaders. However, I’m open to what’s best for everyone and if that means a different/emerging or currently unknown opportunity, I’m open to that as well. In the meantime, I’ll keep cheering on these organizations while researching other amazing nonprofits in our community.
It’s so much fun!