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Nonprofit Organizational Development


The Initiative Foundation understands that effective nonprofit organizations are critical to thriving communities.

Successful nonprofit organizations work to remove barriers to employment, enhance local economic development, provide critical safety net services and increase civic participation. They respond to emerging needs and opportunities of children and their families--including returning veterans, seniors, new Americans, youth at risk and people with disabilities. They provide services and spaces that enhance the quality of life in Central Minnesota.

The Foundation's nonprofit organizational development programs and services strive to ...

  • Improve the fiscal health and management of nonprofit organizations that provide critical safety-net services.
  • Increase the quantity and improve the quality of nonprofit services, particularly those that reduce barriers to employment.
  • Strengthen board members’ abilities to govern the organizations they serve.

We achieve results through social enterprise training, Leaders Circles and other nonprofit support services.

Financial Resiliency Through Social Enterprise 
(Program currently underway--not accepting applications at this time) 

Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise (FRSE) 1.0 is a social enterprise training program designed for well-established nonprofit organizations.

The Initiative Foundation typically offers one program round per year through which participating organizations receive a combination of training, technical assistance, professional consultation and first-year planning grants of up to $10,000. Developed in partnership with the Nonprofits Assistance Fund and other professional partners, the Foundation's FRSE program supports Central Minnesota nonprofits in exploring how social enterprise opportunities might help them better meet mission outcomes and diversify revenue sources.

For more information, read our FRSE Fact Sheet.

Application guidelines
Apply Today! 

For graduates of FRSE 1.0 and nonprofits with well-established social enterprise ventures, the Foundation in October 2016 began offering FRSE 2.0. This advanced social enterprise training is designed to help nonprofits take their social enterprise ventures to a higher level by offering advanced training, more sophisticated business planning, modest grant funding and the support of expert business consultants. This training is intended for FRSE 1.0 graduates and does not have an open application process. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Chris Fastner, senior program manager for Organizational Development.

The Leaders Circles® Program

The Leaders Circles® program offered by the Initiative Foundation, created by MAP for Nonprofits, is a proven way to develop leadership strengths. Each group includes five to six nonprofit professionals who are committed to meeting real-life work challenges while learning and practicing new leadership skills. Groups are confidential, supportive and focused on learning and action. A trained facilitator helps members leverage the group to effectively problem solve and take action on the challenges and opportunities they face as nonprofit professionals.

Interested? Register for a Leaders Circle today or read our Leaders Circle information sheet to learn more.

Nonprofit Lunch-and-Learns
To help local nonprofit professionals learn and connect, the Initiative Foundation, along with other area partners, offers quarterly training and information sessions over lunch.

St. Cloud Lunch-and Learns take place at the Kelly Inn from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  

BrainerdLunch-and Learns take place at the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Next session: Unpacking Minnesota Council of Nonprofit's (MCN) Principles and Practices - 3/9/17Brainerd, MN

The principles and practices for nonprofit excellence are meant to educate nonprofit leaders, board members, managers, volunteers and staff about the fundamental roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organizations. As their adoption spreads, MCN believes they will strengthen both individual nonprofits and the sector as a whole. Join Emily Steinmetz, MCN Central MN Regional Coordinator, for a look into the Principles and Practices publication and the ways it can support the good work you do.

Future sessions:

3/9/17 – Presenter: Emily, MCN. Nonprofit Principles & Practices. Location: Northland Arb

6/15/17 – Presenter: Jason, CLA. Tips for Completing 990s. Location: BLA Chamber CTC Rm

9/14/17 – Presenter: Julie Vreeland, MAVA. Issues, Trends & Strategies for Working with Today’s & Tomorrow’s Volunteers. Location: BLA Chamber CTC Rm

12/7/17 – Presenter: Karl Samp, Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation. Fund Development/Year-end Fundraising.  Location: BLA Chamber CTC Rm

 Future St. Cloud sessions:

3/24/17 - Creating a comprehensive fund development plan

Have you heard about the need for a fund development plan, but are unsure what it is? Do you feel like you have more questions than clarity when faced with developing one? Why is it useful? And how would you even implement it?

At the end of this session, you will learn:

  • The basic elements of a fund development plan 
  • Reasons why a plan is beneficial 
  • Ways to implement a plan 
  • How the plan provides value to your whole organization 

Speaker: Jo Miller, GPC, SMS is Managing Director and Founder of SmartEGrants 

11:30 – 11:45 a.m. — Registration
11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. — Session

Please register by March 15, 2017 

6/8/17 - Fundraising, marketing and branding

9/21/17 - Developing a strong donor base

11/30/17 - Using the foundation center for better-targeted grantwriting

Every Session will happen from 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. at the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud. Lunch is available for purchase ($15) when you register in advance. Registration links and detailed descriptions will soon be announced. 


Complimentary Legal Advice for Nonprofits

Partnering with LegalCORPS, the Initiative Foundation hosts and supports volunteer lawyers who provide quarterly Open Office Hours in our Little Falls office or the United Way of Central Minnesota office in Sauk Rapids. Interested staff or board members can schedule a 45-minute session by contacting Laura at llarson@ifound.org to discuss your nonprofit legal questions and concerns.

The Initaitive Foundation's Organizational Development programs are available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving the 14 counties of Central Minnesota.

Future sessions:
- May 23 (St. Cloud)
- August 22 (Little Falls)
- November 28 (St. Cloud) 

Financial Resiliency Through Social Enterprise

The grant application window for the Initiative Foundation's Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program (FRSE) is now closed. To view your account, select the "Account Login" button. For more detail, see the FRSE Request for Application documentation.

Account Login

Click Account Login to return to an existing application, access application history or submit a grant report.

Capacity-Building Grant

The grant application window is now closed. To return to your grant application, select the "Account Login" button. For more detail, see the Capacity-Building Grant Guidlines.

Account Login

Click Account Login to return to an existing application, access application history or submit a grant report.


Chris Fastner

Chris Fastner
Senior Program Manager for Organizational Development
(320) 631-2019