Category: Convening Update


Where Has All the Paper Gone? MCF Convening Resources Available to All

Something was missing from the Minnesota Council on Foundations 2010 Annual Convening held October 28 and 29 — stacks of handouts and piles of paper.

While the notion of not having a print out of every PowerPoint presentation in my greedy little hands sometimes had me twitching during our two-day get-together of Minnesota grantmakers, I did learn to just sit back and soak in what the speaker was saying (I actually looked up more than down during the talks), taking comfort in knowing that we were doing our part to be green.

Instead of making zillions of photocopies, MCF is posting all the PowerPoint presentations, PDFs of reports, links to resources – nearly everything that was projected onscreen and highlighted during the idea sessions, and more – here on the convening schedule.

The theme of this year’s gathering was “Innovative Strategies for the Future: Realizing Our Full Potential.” The convening website is now an invaluable one-stop shop for the latest, greatest, most thought-provoking, catalytic materials on the topic.

On the website, just browse through the Schedule. Under each session description, you’ll see the corresponding resources for that program.

Keep checking back. While most of the resources have been posted, we expect to add more, including session notes, throughout the next couple of weeks.

- Chris Murakami Noonan, MCF communications associate

Joining us tomorrow?

We’re looking forward to seeing attendees tomorrow at the first day of the 2010 MCF Annual Convening! If you’re joining us, stay tuned to the blog and the site during and after the Convening to access resources from the plenaries and idea sessions as well as other media like photos, blog entries and more.

If you’re on twitter, we’d like to welcome you to join the conversation about the Convening by using the hash-tag #MCFAnnCon. You can also follow MCF on twitter, our handle is @FollowMCF.

We closed registration this afternoon because we had reached our capacity. It’s sure to be a tremendous event!

Robert Byrd Invites You to Dinner and a Movie

Bee

Silence of the bees? New documentary addresses mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.

The Jerome Foundation is proud to screen two wonderful films as part of the MCF 2010 Annual Convening. On Thursday, October 28th, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm join me and Alyce Myatt, the Executive Director of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media, for Dinner and a Movie. Admission to this first-of-its-kind program is free with the price of registration to the Annual Convening.

The first film is a powerful documentary entitled Colony which takes a look at the mysterious mass deaths of bee colonies throughout the United States, a phenomena referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder. Beautifully filmed by Ross McDonnell, and skillfully edited by Carter Gunn, Colony is a riveting look at an unlikely issue with profound and unexpected environmental and economic impact.

We are excited to announce that recent MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, Marla Spivak will be attending Dinner and Movie event. Dr. Spivak is a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota who is internationally known for her research into honeybees.

Her MacArthur Genius Award is a powerful acknowledgment of that research.  She will be available to comment on honeybee collapse syndrome currently striking much of the country, as well as answer your questions about this mysterious disappearance of honeybees.

The second film, Flourtown, is a beautiful 8-minute drama by Minneapolis-based filmmaker, Bill Slichter.  In an alternate reality, Flourtown is a city owned and run by a group of rich and powerful industrialists whose choices have devastating impacts on the film’s protagonists.

The film is a mixture of live-action and computer generated animation that is visually exquisite. Its look and feel are the result of combining over 500 paintings with live action footage shot in HD video.  A team of over 100 talented artists and craftspeople came together to build props, make miniatures, design costumes and build sets, and create computer generated special effects.

Both Colony and Flourtown are highly effective representations of the power of media in telling both non-fictional and fictional stories that address important issues of our times.

If you’re involved in funding the arts and media, or are just interested in an opportunity to join us for an evening of thought-provoking entertainment, please  sign-up to attend this special program when you register for the convening.

- Robert Byrd, Jerome Foundation program director

For a preview of Colony, watch the clip below.

Image CC WildXplorer

What’s In a Name?

Melissa Eystad, 2010 Annual Convening planner

One of the biggest challenges in planning an event like the 2010 MCF Annual Convening is designing how people are going to “be together.” How often have you attended events where the old lecture method is alive and well? Or there’s a panel of talking heads with no time for participant interaction or questions? Or how about the PowerPoint presentation where every slide is read to you – verbatim?

For many years MCF has been giving members the opportunity to gather as a whole to discuss and learn about philanthropy opportunities and issues.  Can you think of a conference format or feature you’ve experienced? Well, we’ve probably tried it.

It would be easier to offer the same design and format year after year.  But our goal is never what is easier for us, but what will make each event interesting, informational, engaging and energizing for as many busy grantmakers as possible. And ultimately, to create an event that plants the seeds for new ideas, solutions and relationships that will increase philanthropy’s impact into the future.

One of the first changes you may have noticed about our 2010 event is the name.  Planning committee members and staff felt strongly that we needed a different image for our annual gathering.  A conference is a conference. The term “convening” conveys more — that it’s about bringing people with common interests and purposes together to learn, discuss, and be inspired about the work ahead.  This will be a truly participatory event.

So, to “break the mold” again with new features and formats at the 2010 MCF Annual Convening, we are:

  • Exchanging the traditional CEO/trustee dinner with a dynamic morning of presentations, conversations and explorations between CEOs, top philanthropy executives and their boards of trustees. These peers will join together to hear about innovative governance and philanthropic leadership opportunities.
  • Reframing breakout sessions as “idea sessions.” Our planning committee challenged us to create more engaging small-group formats that deliver three things: relevant topic content, more attendee discussion and sharing, and clear, tangible tools and applicable strategies.  This may be a tall order for 75- and 90-minute sessions on complex topics – but we’re up to the challenge!
  • Partnering with the MCF Arts and Culture Funders Network and Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media to offer our first dinner and film option on Thursday evening. Special thanks to MCF members Cindy Gehrig and Robert Byrd from the Jerome Foundation for helping to make this possible!

As planning continues, we’ll have more new developments to report. We know that grantmakers’ time and resources  are limited and valuable, especially in these changing times. But we also know that coming together to build our field-wide strengths is essential, too.

MCF members as well as other grantmakers from Minnesota and the upper Midwest are invited to attend.  Stay tuned to this website for more details and to register.  For a whole new convening experience, join us October 28 & 29 in Plymouth, MN!

- Melissa Eystad, former MCF vice president and current 2010 Annual Convening planner from World Spirit Consulting

Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker, Committee Co-Chair

These are extraordinary times for Minnesota, and for Minnesota philanthropy. Our state faces a daunting budget deficit. The economy is in the doldrums. Disparities in everything from educational achievement to health and community wellbeing paint a disturbing picture: a Minnesota where low-income people and people of color do not fully share in the high quality of life that has made this state great.

So: what kind of Minnesota do we hope to create for our children and grandchildren? What kind of future? My belief is that, whatever angle you and your organization take on the vital work of philanthropy, those defining questions are relevant to what you do. And I think there’s an important role for the Minnesota Council on Foundations in creating a space in which we can think through these questions together, get serious about sharing ideas, and work toward innovative solutions.

That’s why I joined my colleague LaTresse Snead of Tastefully Simple in chairing this year’s MCF convening. We are busy crafting a convening in which all types of Minnesota philanthropies will find value, be challenged, and leave energized for the work ahead. As we finalize the planning, your voice matters — so please take advantage of this website to let us know what you’re looking for from your fall convening.

See you in October!

– Kevin Walker, president & CEO Northwest Area Foundation

Welcome to the 2010 MCF Annual Convening Website!

Thanks for visiting us! There will be many new and interesting additions to this site in the coming weeks before the conference, so please keep in touch.

You can stay in touch with the latest news and information about the convening in several ways:

  • Subscribe to our registration alert and be the first to know when registration goes live
  • Get the insider information here on the convening blog from our committee, speakers and MCF staff members
  • Follow MCF on twitter and track the convening hashtag #MCFAnnCon
  • Add the convening site RSS feed to your feed reader

Are you looking forward to the convening? Comment on this post to add your thoughts about what you hope to see at this year’s event.

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