Download a PDF copy of the strategic plan

This 2012 - 2014 Strategic Plan for the Minnesota Council on Foundations focuses on growing MCF's leadership, and collective efforts among its members, at a time of major challenge and change within and beyond our state.

The plan continues and expands upon the Council's long-standing commitment to provide highly valued and relevant services to its members and key constituents, supporting member capacity and effectiveness on the issues and in the geographies members value and address through their individual missions.

It was developed around themes of philanthropy's roles in working toward common good, addressing persistent disparities, increasing collective impact through partnerships and cross-sector collaboration, and incorporating promising practices to attain higher levels of effectiveness, both individually and collectively. To address these themes, the Plan calls for MCF to expand its role in leadership with and on behalf of its members.

Because MCF's board sees Minnesota's stark and persistent racial, ethnic and economic disparities as a threat to future prosperity and the common good, the plan emphasizes philanthropy's potential to advance equity in our state. By equity, we mean the condition that will exist when factors such as racial, ethnic, economic and geographic differences are no longer predictors of life outcomes for Minnesotans.

Finally, with government challenged in many ways, there are opportunities to increase philanthropy's impact through cross-sector collaboration and public policy engagement. The plan calls for MCF to provide leadership and assist its members in advancing the voices of grantmakers on the primary issues where they invest their charitable resources to advance the common good.


MCF expands and strengthens a vibrant community of diverse grantmakers who individually and collectively advance the common good.


By 2020, the Minnesota Council on Foundations will comprise a large and diverse membership, inclusive of traditional, new and evolving philanthropic entities that reflect our state's changing communities. MCF members will customize their experience and use of MCF's highly valued services through technology and in-person interactions. Members will actively engage in self-organized networks to further learning, action and social change and to create new models for effective philanthropy, with MCF playing a spectrum of roles from leader to convener to participant. MCF will be widely recognized for leadership in preparing our members to be effective in an increasingly diverse society. MCF will catalyze philanthropy's voices on key public policy issues that advance a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota.


  • Leadership: We act with vision, courage and commitment to create positive change for our members, the field of philanthropy and society at large.
  • Connectivity: We collaborate for maximum impact and learning, leveraging our interconnectivity with others who strive for common good locally, nationally and globally.
  • Inclusivity: We galvonize diverse voices and perspectives to advance equity in our membership, the field of philanthropy and society at large.
  • Integrity: We uphold the public trust, set high standards for the field and are principled and accountable, leading by example.


  1. Increase members' effectiveness in a diverse and changing society by strengthening knowledge, skills, and connections.
    1. Provide high quality, valued and accessible member services in the areas of education/professional development, networking opportunities, issue briefings, and cross-sector convening.
    2. Share best practices and research in the field and provide multi-level training for members.
    3. Promote increased racial and ethnic diversity in philanthropic governance and leadership.
  2. Advance the voices of a community of grantmakers who strive for a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota.
    1. Amplify MCF's voice on statewide public policy issues that affect Minnesota's disparities and that correspond to MCF members' top grantmaking areas.
    2. Actively support issue-based member networks and coalitions to expand their voices and ability for individual or collective action.
    3. Partner with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and other nonprofit, government, public and private sector parternships to address state-level policy issues.
  3. Build a community of grantmakers reflective of the growth and complexity of Minnesota's philanthropic sector and committed to the public trust.
    1. Establish and maintain a membership base that represents at least three-quarters of the grantmaking in Minnesota.
    2. Explore ways to diversify membership to be responsive to Minnesota's changing communities of givers, including traditional, new, and evolving philanthropic entities.
    3. Foster the public's understanding and trust of philanthropy by sharing data-driven research and information. Be the most comprehensive and accurate source for public officials, media, nonprofits and others who seek information about philanthropy in the region.
    4. Actively promote legislation that grows and sustains philanthropy and charitable giving.
  4. Sustain or create the capacity of MCF to deliver on its mission and strategic goals.
    1. Champion and model exceptional governance, management, inclusive practices and strategic leadership.
    2. Review and adjust MCF's business and financial model to assure successful implementation of plans and organizational financial health.
    3. Align the staff and volunteer capacity of the organization to meet measurable performance objectives.
    4. Maximize efficiencies through technology, partnerships, and/or restructuring.