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Saint Paul | Nov 14-15

Wed., November 14

8 A.M.

Registration, Beverages and Exhibitor Showcase

8:30 A.M. - 9:45 A.M.

+ Breakout Sessions: Round 1

9:45 - 10:15 A.M.

Exhibitor Showcase and Light Breakfast

10:15 - 11:30 A.M.

+ Breakout Sessions: Round 2

11:45 A.M. - 1:15 P.M.

+ Wednesday Luncheon Awards Ceremony

Nonprofit Mission Awards

Learn more

1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round III

2:30 - 3 p.m.

Exhibitor Showcase and Dessert

3 - 4:30 p.m.

+ Keynote Presentation

4:30 - 5:30 P.M.

Social Hour

Join us for hors d'oeuvres, networking and music with the soulful sounds of Trio Milieu, featuring Andrew Bocher on keys, DeCarlo Jackson on bass and trumpet, and Richard Haneman on drums. 

Thurs., November 15

7:15 a.m.

Registration, Beverages and Exhibitor Showcase

7:45 - 8:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round IV

8:45 - 9:15 A.M.

Exhibitor Showcase and Light Breakfast

9:15 - 10:45 a.m

+ Friday Morning Keynote & Awards Ceremony

Learn more


10:45 - 11 a.m.

Coffee Break and Exhibitor Showcase

11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m

+ Breakout Sessions: Round V

12:15 p.m.

Lunch on Your Own: Join a Group!



"I am exhausted by the end of two days and yet I leave the conference energized and looking forward to the next conference. Big smiles!"

—Recent MCN Annual Conference attendee


Keynote Sessions

Thursday Afternoon: The National Nonprofit Landscape

Jeff moore, chief strategy officer, Independent Sector; Kenza Hadj-Moussa, Communications Director, TakeAction Minnesota; and Jon Pratt, Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

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Join this session as Jeff Moore, Rebecca Lucero and Jon Pratt offer a national perspective on the current trends, challenges and opportunities for the nonprofit sector. They will share insights how leaders should be preparing for the future of the sector, including what possible public policy battles lay ahead. Join them in discussing the role of nonprofits in American life and how we can work to strengthen the sector by moving forward together.

Moderated by Kenza Hadj-Moussa, this conversational panel will provide ample opportunities for you to ask your questions about the current state of affairs in America's nonprofit landscape. Let's dig in to understand Minnesota's role in leading the sector, learning from others, and tackling our own challenges. Together, we can help the nonprofit sector to evolve in new ways.

Jeff Moore currently serves as chief strategy officer at Independent Sector, supporting the organization’s critical strategic visioning efforts as it guides the sector to meet the future needs of democratic society. He is a senior leader with broad experience in the nonprofit field, government and industry. He most recently served in an executive role in the health-systems research field. Jeff has served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense and as legislative director to Congressman Thomas J. Downey (NY). In each of his positions, he has built critical partnerships and alliances that have accelerated organizational and mission success. Jeff considers his Distinguished Civilian Service Award, presented in 1998 by Secretary of Defense William Cohen, to be among his greatest career achievements. Cohen honored Jeff at the end of his tenure in the Clinton administration for his contributions to the nation’s security and his unique ability to build bridges between U.S. government agencies, the U.S. private sector and foreign governments.

Kenza Hadj-Moussa, communications director, joined TakeAction Minnesota in 2017. Kenza leads TakeAction's media work and communications strategy to promote structural change across the state. She previously worked in communications with Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and St. Stephen’s Human Services. Kenza is chair of the board for Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and serves on the board of directors of Our Saviour’s Community Services. She has a Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership from UMD and is a graduate of Guilford College. She’s also a certified administrator of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.

Rebecca Lucero, public policy director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s advocacy agenda locally and nationally, and lobbying on behalf of Minnesota’s nonprofit sector. Prior to joining MCN, Rebecca served as policy and advocacy manager for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, a senior community representative in the Minnesota office of Representative Keith Ellison, and an unemployment law judge with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. She has a law degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College. 

Jon Pratt is the executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Since 1987, Jon has led MCN, an association of 2,100 organizations that sponsors research, training, lobbying and negotiated discounts to strengthen Minnesota's nonprofit sector. Jon has worked at Minnesota Public Interest Research Group as an attorney and lobbyist, as regional director at the Youth Project, and as director for the Philanthropy Project. In 1982 he was campaign manager for Paul Wellstone candidacy for Minnesota State Auditor. Jon has consulted with nongovernmental organizations on the development of NGO associations and services in Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Turkey. Jon has a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a M.P.A. from Harvard University.

An optional lunch will take place in the ballroom immediately preceding this keynote. If you'd like to join us for networking and a box lunch, be sure to add on the meal when you register for the conference. Thursday lunch is not included in the overall conference registration fee.



Friday Morning: Evolution of Leadership: Stories of Joy, Optimism and Hope

Armando Camacho, C.E.O., Opportunity Partners; PH Copeland, equity organizer, American Heart Association; Tracy Fischman, Executive Director, Prepare + Prosper; and Don Ness, Executive Director, Ordean Foundation


Throughout our lives, our leadership opportunities ebb and flow. Whether through positional authority, social connectedness or moral grounding, each of us has opportunities to lead in our own ways. During our Friday morning keynote, we've invited four nonprofit leaders to talk about their own leadership experiences. We've asked them to present a TED-style talk about how their leadership has evolved over time and how their thinking has changed. Each speaker will highlight an emotion or attitude that has buoyed or challenged their leadership over time. Join us to reflect on their learnings, to consider your own experience, and to share ideas about the evolution of leadership.

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Armando Camacho, president and C.E.O. of Opportunity Partners, is a nationally recognized, collaborative, mission-focused leader with extensive nonprofit and education experience. Prior to joining Opportunity Partners, Armando served as president of Neighborhood House, worked as a district administrator for the St. Paul Public School District and as a principal for the Minneapolis Public School District. Armando’s nonprofit board service has included Greater Twin Cities United Way, MAP for Nonprofits, Mardag Foundation, Charities Review Council and Friends of the St. Paul Public Libraries, among others.

PH Copeland was born and raised in her beloved community of North Minneapolis. Her professional background involves youth and community organizing surrounding racial equity and other social justice issues. PH is the equity organizer for the Good Food Access Campaign at the American Heart Association. She believes organizing, advocacy and storytelling are tools for developing a sustainable life, ending cycles of poverty and forms of oppression, and creating healing spaces for growth. In her spare time, PH is a contract employee with Minnesota Civic Youth as the Youth on Boards program director. She is also co-facilitator of Hope Community’s Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens program. PH holds a bachelor of arts in public affairs from Wells College. 

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Tracy Fischman joined Prepare + Prosper (formerly AccountAbility Minnesota) as executive director in July 2009. Prepare + Prosper facilitates poverty alleviation and financial capability through the provision of free tax assistance, financial services, training and advocacy. Previously, Tracy served as a consultant providing strategic campaign, project management and organizational development services. Tracy has worked for organizations such as Planned Parenthood of Illinois and the Chicago Department of Public Health’s STD/HIV/AIDS Division. Tracy serves on Women Winning’s board of directors and has served on the boards for Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, Citizen Action of Illinois and Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief. Tracy holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Don Ness serves as the executive director of the Ordean Foundation since January 2017. The Ordean Foundation was founded in 1933 by Albert Ordean — a prominent Duluth banker also active in the wholesale grocery business — and his wife, Louise. The foundation’s mission is to address issues of poverty, and has awarded more than $68 million in grants to local individuals and organizations over the years. Don served as mayor of Duluth from 2008 to 2016. After leaving office, he took a job as executive director of workforce development at Lake Superior College. He earlier served on the Duluth City Council for eight years, worked as a campaign manager for Congressman Jim Oberstar and was employed by the A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation in Duluth.



Thursday Awards Ceremony:

Unsung Hero Awards

Friday Awards Ceremony:

Mission & Excellence Awards



2017 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards Ceremony & Opening Keynote Session

Thursday, October 12, 12:30 - 2 p.m.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is pleased to announce the third annual Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards, taking place before our Opening Keynote Session. In partnership with The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation seeking to improve the quality of life for present and future generations, four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities.

Learn more about the 2016 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award honorees.


Networking Luncheon and 2017 Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Award Ceremony

Friday, October 13, 12:30 - 2 p.m.

While you get to know your nonprofit and grantmaking colleagues over lunch, you will be treated to the presentation of the Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards, presented by MCN and MAP for Nonprofits. These awards emphasize the importance of nonprofits to the quality of life in Minnesota by recognizing achievements that make a significant impact in the categories of:

    - Innovation
    - Advocacy 
    - Anti-Racism Initiative
    - Responsive Philanthropy
    - Excellence Award

Each recipient will receive the honor and distinction of being recognized as a leader among Minnesota's nonprofits, a professionally produced video production capturing the organization's work, a one-of-a-kind art glass award, hand blown by Minnesota Glass Artist Robinson Scott, a feature profile of your organization in MCN's Nonprofit News, and a cash award (for all recipients except for Responsive Philanthropy recipient)

To learn more about the Mission and Excellence Awards and to view videos of previous honorees, visit the Minnesota Nonprofit Awards website.


Wednesday Breakout Sessions:

Session I | Session II | Session III

Thursday Breakout Sessions:

Session IV | Session V

Breakout Sessions


Wednesday, November 14, 8:30 - 9:45 A.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round I

Beyond Diversity, Culture & Inclusion: Alternative Frameworks for Nonprofits Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Building an Evidence Base for Your Program Track: Evaluation or Programming

Going Virtual: Moving to a 100% Remote Workforce Track: Finance, Operations and HR

Planning Our Tomorrow by Reflecting on Our Yesterdays Track: Leadership and Governance

Removing the Stigma from Rebranding Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology

Tax Changes and Charitable Giving Track: Fundraising 

The Courage to Lead: Self-Leadership and Better Relationships Track: Leadership and Governance

Transformative Listening: Translating Community Ideas into Action Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Wednesday, November 14, 10:15 - 11:30 A.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round II

Board Governance Best Practices: Marathon or Sprint? Track: Leadership and Governance

Collaboration: What Makes It Work? Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Community Engagement for Achieving Public Policy Goals Track: Public Policy and Advocacy

From Striving to Thriving: Leading an Agile Organization Track: Leadership and Governance

Generating Monthly Donors Without Breaking the Bank Track: Fundraising

Jugaad: An Innovative Program for Emerging Minority Leaders  Track: Leadership and Governance

Navigating Through Change Track: Finance, Operations and HR

Social Justice, Equity, and Understanding your Impact  Track: Evaluation or Programming  

Using Digital Media to Cultivate and Collect Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology


Wednesday, November 14, 1:15 - 2:30 P.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round III

Creating Healthy, Respectful Workplaces and Preventing Sexual Harassment  Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Donor-Centric or Mission-Centric? Finding a Way Forward Track: Fundraising

Engaging Employees and Engaging Their Talent Track: Finance, Operations and HR

FASB Reimagined: Revolutionizing Compliance Track: Finance, Operations and HR

How to Host Tough Conversations Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Mission Creep or Mission Leap? Track: Evaluation or Programming

Purpose: Refining Your Why for a Better What Track: Leadership and Governance

Sabbatical 101: How to Create a Career Break Without Breaking Your Career Track: Leadership and Governance

Three-Tiered Approach to Storytelling to Enhance Programming Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology

Thursday, November 15, 7:45 - 8:45 A.M.

Breakout Sessions: Round IV

Annual Reports in an Age of Social Media Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology 

Culturally Responsive Leadership Track: Leadership and Governance

Authentic & Purposeful Leadership for New Leaders Track: Leadership and Governance

Continuous Improvement: Enhancing Your Organization's Process Track: Leadership and Governance

Innovation in Community Engagement Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Making Money Off Your Mission: Is it Ethical? Track: Fundraising

Minnesota’s Response to Youth Victims of Labor Trafficking Track: Equity and Community Engagement

What Every Leader Should Know About Human Resources Track: Finance, Operations and HR

Thursday, November 15, 11 A.M. - 12:15p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Round V

10 Tips for a Smooth Web Redesign Process Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology

Board Governance: Hot Topics and Best Practices Track: Leadership and Governance

Dealing with the White Supremacy in Us Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Digital Dominance: Successful Storytelling in Days of Distraction Track: Marketing, Communications or Technology 

Making Your Metrics Dance: Connecting Numbers to Narrative Track: Evaluation or Programming 

People Matter! Designing a Strategic Staff Structure Track: Leadership and Governance 

Taking a Victim-Centered Approach to Sexual Harassment Track: Equity and Community Engagement

Wellness as Work Culture: Putting Theory into Practice Track: Finance, Operations and HR 

What Just Happened? Moving Forward from the 2018 Election Track: Public Policy and Advocacy







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