Author Archives: Lilja Communications

  1. Aretha Green-Rupert named one of the Twin Cities Black Leaders You Should Know

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    Aretha Green-Rupert

    We’re delighted to share that Carlson Family Foundation Program Director Aretha Green-Rupert was recently named one of the Twin Cities Black Leaders You Should Know by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Green-Rupert has devoted her career and personal time to making our community a place where everyone can thrive.

    “My motivation is all about community and how I can give back to the community,” she shares. “I know how people poured into me and invested in me, and I want to make sure the next generation of young people in our community have those opportunities, too.”

    Both her professional and personal efforts are rooted in investing in young people, and making sure marginalized voices are heard and uplifted. Green-Rupert was instrumental in shaping the Foundation’s Constellation grantmaking strategy, which has a heavy emphasis on putting youth voices front and center.

    Outside of the Foundation, she has leadership roles on a number of boards that uplift youth and ensure they have access to opportunities, including the Community Impact Committee of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, the Opus Foundation and Genesys Works – Twin Cities, just to name a few. She chaired Minnesota Council on Foundations’ (MCF) Board of Directors and helped shape MCF’s new strategic plan and the Principles for Philanthropy, which guide how philanthropic organizations work with each other and the community.

    In 2022, she was selected as one of 21 senior leaders in philanthropy to be a part of GEO’s Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship. This 10-month peer cohort program brings together senior leaders from around the world to guide key change efforts in their organizations.

    “Aretha is so passionate about her work, and her passion helps us think about things in new or different ways, and ensures youth stay central to our values,” says David Nelson, executive director, Carlson Family Foundation. “It is a benefit to both us and the community to have her here, helping to shape the work and change who we are into who we want to become.”

    Leaders from Carlson Family Foundation grantee partners were also honored, including:

    • Lulete Mola, president and co-founder of Black Collective Foundation
    • Paul Williams, president and CEO, Project for Pride in Living Inc.
    • Angela Myles, vice president, racial justice and public policy, YWCA Minneapolis
    • Marcus Pope, president, Youthprise
    • Alan Page, retired Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice and co-founder, Page Education Foundation
    • Markus Flynn, executive director, Black Men Teach
    • Sondra Samuels, president and CEO, Northside Achievement Zone
    • Atum Azzahir, executive director, The Cultural Wellness Center
    • Duchesne Drew, president, Minnesota Public Radio
    • Laverne McCartney Knighton, area development director, United Negro College Fund Twin Cities
    • Angela Spranger, senior diversity officer and director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, Carlson School of Management
    • Chris Harrington, president and CEO, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

    Congratulations to everyone who was featured! You can review the full list on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal website.

  2. Carlson Family Foundation welcomes Elly Kjeldbjerg

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    Elly Kjeldbjerg

    We’re pleased to announce that Elly Kjeldbjerg has joined the Carlson Family Foundation as our new program associate.

    In this role, Kjeldbjerg will collaborate with the program and grants management staff to support program administration, grants management, evaluation and learning, and relationship management. She will work across all of the Foundation’s funding priorities, including Constellation, Sex Trafficking Prevention and Vibrant Communities.

    Kjeldbjerg most recently served as community impact operations specialist for Greater Twin Cities United Way. Her career journey has included roles supporting youth with disabilities, grantmaking for programs that create meaningful career pathways for young people, and serving as an associate board member for a youth health and education organization.

    “We’re excited to have Elly join our team and support our relationships with our community partners,” said Aretha Green-Rupert, program director, Carlson Family Foundation. “Her experience with youth- and community-centered operations will be an asset as we work to learn and grow with our partners.”

    We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Elly!

  3. New grant funding to expand learning opportunities for Northside youth

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    The Northside Youth Enrichment Fund, offered by the Northside Funders Group (NFG), is currently accepting applications from organizations working to enrich the lives of North Minneapolis youth.

    This new grant opportunity — partially funded by contributions from the Carlson Family Foundation — will provide up to $10,000 to support expanded learning opportunities by connecting Northside youth between ages 10 and 24 to exceptional enrichment opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. Examples include school trips, mentorships, procuring specialized equipment (i.e., cameras, uniforms, instruments) and more.

    NFG is a funder collaborative that partners to bring resources and investments to learn, leverage, influence and invest in opportunities to advance social, educational and economic opportunities in North Minneapolis. In November 2022, NFG hosted listening sessions with Northside youth, parents, teachers, principals and nonprofit leaders to determine the initial focus of the Northside Youth Enrichment Fund. 

    “The Carlson Family Foundation is pleased to work closely with Northside Funders Group to support and grow enrichment opportunities for young people in North Minneapolis,” said Aretha Green-Rupert, program director at Carlson Family Foundation. “This fund was created by listening and responding to the community, including youth, which is critical to ensuring these grants will have a positive impact.”

    The Foundation’s Constellation grantmaking is rooted in the understanding that positive and caring relationships are crucial to supporting young people as they develop agency, identity and the ability to pursue their goals. Listening to youth, parents and community voices is central to our strategy.

    Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2023.

    A committee of Northside youth and NFG members will review applications. Award decisions will be made on Feb. 10, 2023 and March 10, 2023.

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