Essential Skills and Strategies for Grantmakers

Start Date: 04/14/2011 10:00 AM
End Date: 04/15/2011 12:00 PM
Location: Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center, 2480 South County Road 45, Owatonna, MN, 55060 MCF Member: $450
Nonmember: $550

Online registration has closed, but you are still welcome to register.  To register, please contact Chantel Karney at or 612.465.0715.

Description: Essential Skills & Strategies (ESS) for New Grantmakers is a comprehensive educational program designed to help familiarize new and up-and-coming grantmakers with the foundation world and the field of philanthropy.

Taught by expert trainers, the sessions are designed to provide grantmakers with wide-ranging knowledge, insight, skills and tools to help them be more effective in their work. Topics include: Navigating Legal and Ethical Issues; Making Sound Funding Recommendations; Maximizing Grant Impact; and much more.

The ESS curriculum was developed by the national Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and has been adapted to target key areas of interest to Minnesota grantmakers. To learn more about the curriculum, visit

Endorsed by philanthropic groups and foundation staff around the country, ESS is a valuable opportunity for grantmakers to learn about the field and make connections with colleagues.

Offered in a retreat setting, ESS allows participants the time and space to immerse themselves in the workshop material. Participants also cultivate professional relationships with colleagues for future support and sharing.

The cost of the workshop includes:

  • Participation in the workshop
  • All of the workshop materials
  • Lodging and meals during the workshop

ESS participants will also receive a discount on upcoming MCF Effective Grantmaking webinars on finance and legal FAQs.


  • Kerrie Blevins, foundation director, Patrick & Aimee Butler Family Foundation; vice president, Private Philanthropy Services
  • Mary Pickard, principal advisor, Opus Philanthropy Group

Kerrie Blevins is a skilled foundation professional who has worked in the philanthropic environment for more than 20 years. For the past 13 years, she has served as foundation director for the St. Paul-based Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation, where she is responsible for all aspects of planning, program and grantmaking, and board development. Blevins is also vice president of Private Philanthropy Services, providing foundation management and board planning services to several private foundations, including the Beim Foundation, The Laura Jane Musser Fund and the James R. Thorpe Foundation. She is a frequent trainer for the Association of Small Foundations and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Prior to her work with philanthropic organizations, Blevins worked in fund development, program development and senior management for several Twin Cities nonprofits. She also has served on a number of nonprofit governing boards. She has a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Mary Pickard is a principal advisor at Opus Philanthropy Group, where she and her colleagues advise a group of six family foundations committed to high-quality, entrepreneurial philanthropy both within and outside the U.S. and to creating a “learning organization.” Pickard retired as president of the Travelers Foundation in 2007, after 35 years of service. Over that time, she developed the company's community citizenship program from a $600,000 contributions program to a broad-based community affairs function, including a foundation, a sponsorship and corporate contributions program, volunteerism and social purpose investments. Pickard also has worked as a newspaper reporter, corporate publications editor and in human relations. She is past chair of the Minnesota Council on Foundations and a former board member of the national Council on Foundations.

MCF Cancellation Policy: if you must cancel your attendance for this event, please contact Chantel Karney via e-mail or at 612.465.0715 before April 7 to ensure a refund.