Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Partnering for Stronger Nonprofits in Greater Minnesota

What do Bremer Bank, MAP for Nonprofits, and the Charities Review Council have in common? We’re working together to strengthen greater Minnesota’s nonprofit landscape. We’re thrilled to report that on January 9-11, the Charities Review Council and the Bremer Bank Branch of Brainerd hosted another successful workshop in the Strengthening Nonprofits series supported by the Otto Bremer Foundation. More than 25 local nonprofits in the Brainerd Lakes area have joined this effort to build their capacity and organizational strength as they work to meet standards.

Our Capacity Building Services work with funders in the communities or topics they serve to make the Accountability Standards accessible, non-threatening and easy to achieve for nonprofits. Our workshops create a safe, fun, engaging, personal and risk-free space for organizations to go through our process.

Before the Charities Review Council began collaborating with the Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Banks, there were only four organizations from the Brainerd Lakes area on the Charities Review Council’s list of nearly 500 nonprofits that Meet Standards. “Now, there are more than 25 organizations that have started the Accountability Wizard and they are all on track to Meet Standards in the next six months to a year,” reports Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, the Charities Review Council’s Program Director, who led the Brainerd workshop series.

This means that there is now a group of organizations in greater Minnesota who share a language about how to build sustainable nonprofits while meeting donor and sector expectations. The Accountability Standards give nonprofits the opportunity to advance their mission by becoming more transparent and accountable, helping improve visibility, reputation, and public trust. This can translate into more effective organizations and much more viable outcomes for these nonprofits.

“While miles and lakes separate our communities, they’re facing many of the same challenges in greater Minnesota as nonprofits in the Twin Cities,” said Atlas-Ingebretson. 

“Capacity building and support in greater Minnesota are much needed, as populations are declining and shifting, poverty is on the rise, and there is less money to go around.” Through our partnership with Bremer Bank, we’ve been able to make a difference for nonprofits in Brainerd, and we hope to continue this work in communities across the state and beyond. 

At the Charities Review Council, we’re committed to building collaborations. It is exciting to be working with Amy Wyant and the Bremer Bank of Brainerd. They have contributed their time, space and resources to ensure the success of our efforts for the common good of the Brainerd Lakes area. It has similarly been rewarding to strengthen our relationship with nonprofit allies, like MAP for Nonprofits, who provided key expertise during our workshops. Many thanks to Amy and our Bremer Bank family, and Jay Lyons and Phil Duran from MAP for Nonprofits.

To talk about how we can work together, contact Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson (651-224-7030).

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