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Posts tagged ‘The Minneapolis Foundation’

The (Ethnic) Medium is the Message

Working on a project yesterday about diversity in the environment, I ran across a new (to me) national ethnic media resource: New America Media.

This nonprofit describes itself as “the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations,” and it’s funded by some top national foundations, including ones familiar to us in Minnesota: the Knight Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Ethnic Media in Minnesota
Part of New America Media’s network is Minnesota’s own Twin Cities Daily Planet, a project of the Twin Cities Media Alliance (which also receives support from local philanthropies, including the Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and The Minneapolis Foundation).

The Twin Cities Media Alliance publishes a Minnesota Ethnic Media Directory and offers citizen journalism classes and media skills workshops.  Here’s a snapshot of its work:

Why Diverse Media, Anyway?
If you’ve read this far, you might still be wondering, why are these diverse media outlets important?  You might be thinking: “If our nonprofit gets mentioned in the Strib or on MPR (or if we’re on Facebook), won’t we automatically achieve our outreach goals?”

I could write an entire post about defining and segmenting target audiences, but for now, I’ll just refer us to Marshall McLuhan’s now famous concept: “The medium is the message.”   Quite simply, we should never underestimate the vast social implications and overriding influence of the media vehicles that we choose to deliver our nonprofit news.

So who are your constituents and which communities do they represent?  And which ethnic media outlets do they prefer?  Think about this as you develop your outreach strategies . . . and explore diverse media options in Minnesota and beyond.

Teenage Girls are Blooming Flowers

GIA_2012When supporters at a Girls in Action fundraising luncheon last week heard this line — “Teenage girls are blooming flowers.” — they broke into broad smiles and enthusiastic applause.

Was it just spring fever?   Maybe, but that phrase does seem to capture the essence of this group’s work . . . to make sure every young woman — from North Minneapolis to Guatemala City — receives the nurturing she needs to blossom and achieve.

For a quick introduction to this dynamic mentoring program, take a look at this KARE 11 clip that features founder Dr. Verna Cornelia Price and girls in the program:

In the years since this aired, Girls in Action expanded across the metro, across the country to Detroit, and even to Guatemala.  Now reaching well over 2300 girls, the program focuses on motivating, mentoring, empowering, engaging and educating girls to succeed in school and life.

At the luncheon, program director Natalie Johnson Lee shared an impressive list of outcomes, such as a 95-percent graduation rate.  Lee and others thanked many partners and supporters, including such philanthropy leaders as Catherine Jordan (previously with AchieveMpls), Sandy Vargas of The Minneapolis Foundation, and Wokie Weah of Youthprise, among others.

Attending this event was my first chance to learn about Girls in Action.  It seems the group’s close collaboration with the schools is a real plus — because it breaks down barriers to access and boosts academic achievement.

Enthusiastic, emotional testimonials from program alumni also provided ample evidence that mentoring programs such as Girls in Action really do make a difference.  When they give and receive respect, girls can definitely bloom and thrive.

(For more about the benefits of mentoring, see my post on the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s Philanthropy Potluck Blog, “Young or Old, Mentoring Matters.”)