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Three grant recipients share how their organizations have grown with capacity building support from the Management Improvement Fund.

Capacity building plays a vital role in an organization's work and growth.

The Management Improvement Fund (MIF) is a unique grant opportunity that the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation provides to nonprofits to support capacity building. Grants are used to fund technical assistance through consultative work for such things as strategic planning, board development, fund development planning and organizational assessments. The fund provides grants to small and midsize nonprofits operating in or serving the East Metro and/or Greater Minnesota.

Investing in Growth

“This grant gave us some breathing room to invest in ourselves as an organization and a staff,” said Rebecca Slaby, executive director at AMAZEworks. “It allowed us to grow and provide more educators throughout the Metro and state with our important anti-bias resources and training.”

AMAZEworks has also been able to create an Advancement Team, which focuses on consistent messaging and communications in sales, marketing and development. In addition to updating their website, AMAZEworks has been able to release a monthly e-newsletter and increase their equity consulting services during last year’s social unrest.

Funding The Future

Urban Roots has received the MIF grant multiple times over the years. They used funding from their last grant to strategically plan their leadership transition and support the hiring of their current executive director.

“I came on as our deputy executive director, preceding the retirement of our previous executive director Patsy Noble, and we were to work side by side for six months with a plan that was funded through the MIF grant,” said Hayley Ball. “We were able to transfer knowledge and relationships, and create a strong plan for our board to follow to execute that transition. I think that using those funds to really create a solid plan and then adapt it based on the changing needs in the community was just an incredible asset for us.”

With funds from the MIF grant, Urban Roots was also able to bring on a grant writer to help establish a more diverse portfolio of funders, which in turn helped cover different costs and allowed them to bring on more interns.

Expanding Reach

The Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County in rural Minnesota used the funding to help with their strategic plan. Since then, the organization has been able to grow staff capacity.

“Thanks to financial support from MIF, we were able to invest in a consultant to help us with the strategic operations and development plan,” said Lucy Richardson, the organization’s executive director. “We wouldn't have been able to have that extra support if it weren’t for the Management Improvement Fund. 2021 marks the third year in our strategic planning and we now have four full-time staff members. We are also expanding our services to another community within Goodhue County.”

We sometimes put capacity building on the back burner because we can always spend more money on programming. But in order for us to move to the next phase and to be able to be more effective in our community we have to build capacity.

Hayley Ball

The Importance of Investing in Capacity Building

Support from MIF provides nonprofits with the room to take a deeper look at their work and then assess how their organizations can internally develop and grow.

“We sometimes put capacity building on the back burner because we can always spend more money on programming,” Hayley said. “But in order for us to move to the next phase and to be able to be more effective in our community we have to build capacity.”

With support from the Foundation’s MIF grant, each organization has been able to expand their reach, in some cases growing their programs, staff and resources.

To learn more about the Management Improvement Fund, as well as how to apply for the grant, contact Community Impact Program Officer Tiffany Kong.

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