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Learn how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is working with community partners and welcoming new staff in this video with President & CEO Eric J. Jolly. Ph.D.

As the clocks roll forward for daylight saving time, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation springs ahead. In the spirit of collaboration, our President & CEO Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., talks about two new community partners and welcomes four new staff at the Foundation who happen to have partnership at the center of their work.

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Hello everyone. At this early juncture in the year, collaboration continues to be an important thread in our work at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.

Today I'd like to briefly talk about two partnerships, both of which deepen our impact across the state of Minnesota. First, I am thrilled to share that we have been selected by the Bush Foundation to administer two grant programs. The first is the Bush Prize: Minnesota, which awards funding to organizations with a history of successful community problem solving.

The Bush Prize aligns perfectly with our deep commitment to investing in community-led solutions. The grants are flexible and can be used by an organization to build up reserves, test a big idea, or simply support ongoing work. Also, this year, our Partnerships team will lead a collaborative design process alongside community members across the state to develop a new statewide grantmaking program, the scope of which is yet to be defined. Funding from Bush makes this new program possible, and I look forward to sharing the details as they emerge.

The next partnership I want highlight is with Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and chairperson of the Taylor Corporation. Glen has generously donated $172 million worth of farmland to the new Taylor Family Farms Foundation to support Southern Minnesota, a place where he has deep roots. The income generated from this land will be used to support rural communities.

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is one of three community foundations that will support the distribution of these funds in partnership with the Taylor Family Farms Foundation to local communities. We look forward to working in collaboration with these partners to realize the Taylor family's vision. This is a bold and entrepreneurial approach to giving, and it provides a blueprint that I believe will inspire the generosity of others.

Speaking of partnerships, we have had four individuals who recently joined our staff and not coincidentally, community collaboration is central to each of their roles.

And so in the spirit of partnership, I would like to welcome Alfonso Wenker as the new Vice President of Community Impact. With the Community Impact team, Alfonso works to ensure that the foundation's grantmaking and programs are informed by and responsive to our communities. Tsega Tamene is the new senior director of Community Impact. She joins Alfonso and team in listening to community partners and providing leadership on grantmaking and capacity building strategies.

Jennifer Vickerman joined our Philanthropic Services team as a gift planner. Jennifer partners with individuals, families and organizations who want to make a personal impact in their communities. Finally, Kari Onyancha is the new senior director of partnerships. Kari will support our partnership with the Bush Foundation and work with community members on the new grantmaking program.

And last, the 2024 Facing Race nominations are now open, and I want to encourage you to nominate someone for this annual award that recognizes anti-racism advocates in Minnesota. Visit and learn more. Thank you for joining me for a report on the very exciting opening of this year, which promises to take us more broadly across the state of Minnesota, working more deeply on the issues that Minnesotans care about. I look forward to returning again and sharing our progress throughout this year.

Facing Race Awards

Partnerships with the Bush Foundation and the Taylor Foundation

Starting this year, we will be working with the Bush Foundation to administer two statewide grant programs, the first being the Bush Prize: Minnesota.

We are also partnering with Glen Taylor and the Taylor Foundation. The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is one of three community foundations that will support the distribution of revenue produced from $172 million worth of farmland that Glen donated to support southern Minnesota.

The Foundation Welcomes New Staff Members

The Foundation is excited to welcome four new staff members: Alfonso Wenker, Tsega Tamene, Jennifer Vickerman and Kari Onyancha.

Alfonso and Tsega join us as members of the Community Impact team — Alfonso as the new vice president of Community Impact and Tsega Tamene as the senior director. In their roles at the Foundation, they will work to ensure that we are listening to our community partners and making sure our grantmaking is responsive to their needs.

Jennifer joins our Philanthropic Services team as one of our gift planners, partnering with individuals, families and organizations to grow their charitable giving options. Lastly, we are happy to welcome Kari as the new senior director of Partnerships. In her newly established role, she will support work with the Bush Foundation.

Facing Race Award Nominations Are Now Open

The 2024 Facing Race Award nominations are now open. Each year we recognize people doing extraordinary things in their community to fight anti-racism in Minnesota. Nominations are open March 11-29.

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