Minneapolis, MN [May 5, 2023]—The Mortenson Family Foundation is excited to introduce the community relationship officers who have joined its grantmaking team in the last 10 months. Their expertise supports the Foundation’s mission of building community-driven partnerships to advance equity, opportunity, and sustainable systems.
Margretta Getaweh started at the Foundation on April 12, 2023, as the community relationship officer (CRO) for the Strengthening Developing Communities – International program. Her passion for education and community have informed her career in stakeholder engagement, outreach, and reproductive justice. She has spent 15+ years working to dismantle systemic barriers for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other communities of color, and immigrant communities. Margretta has worked in Thailand, Senegal, and Italy and she is active in the Twin Cities as a social justice instructor, a DEI consultant, and the co-founder of the African Immigrant Professional Development Conference. When she’s not engaging with Foundation partners, Margretta enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and watching soccer.
“I am honored to join the Foundation and its unwavering commitment to equity and social justice,” Margretta says. “As a community relationship officer, I am excited to engage with partners and support community-led initiatives that foster sustainable and inclusive development.”
Rabya Hassen joined the Foundation as the CRO for the Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families program on October 31, 2022. She has dedicated her career to ensuring that young adults experiencing homelessness are involved in the policy decisions that impact their lives. Before joining the Mortenson Family Foundation, Rabya oversaw homeless program grants, developed policies for youth experiencing homelessness, and provided technical assistance state-wide at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She has also overseen programs spanning the continuum of care as a program manager at Face to Face Health and Counseling. Outside of the office, Rabya enjoys cooking with friends and family and drinking Ethiopian coffee.
“I feel very inspired to be a part of the Foundation’s participatory grantmaking process with the community on committee,” Rabya says. “Working with committee members with such rich lived and professional experiences has been incredible and transformational.”
Maryan Abdinur joined the Foundation as the CRO for the Sustaining Environmental Systems program on July 25, 2022. She brings a strong background in grassroots community organizing, most recently from her role leading the Food, Land, and Community Program at Hope Community Inc. As a program manager, Maryan was also a member of Minneapolis’s Green Zones Policy Recommendations Design Team and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group. She is the co-founder of Caafimaat Collective–a Somali women’s wellness organization in Minneapolis–and a board member for an energy research organization based in Kenya and Somalia. Maryan and her family live in St. Paul, where they enjoy growing food, hiking, cooking, and telling stories together.
The Foundation’s community relationship officers join Camille Gonzalez and Ambar Hanson. Camille has been the grants and program coordinator since 2021. Ambar, the executive director, joined the Foundation more than four years ago before starting her current role in July 2022.
“I’m energized by our new team and the leadership of our board and our committees,” Ambar says. “At the Foundation, we keep asking ourselves why things are the way they are and how we can best support the communities we serve. Our hope is to continue dismantling inequities that have been perpetuated by traditional philanthropy.”
The Mortenson Family Foundation is the only foundation in Minnesota staffed exclusively by women of the global majority. Representing cultures and traditions from North America, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe, the staff collectively speaks 12 languages: French, Wolof, Mandarin, Spanish, English, Guragigna (ጉራጌ), Amharic-Amarigna-(አማርኛ), Af Mai Mai, Af Maax (pronounced “Af Maa-H”), Swahili/Kiswahili, Classical Arabic, and Barwi.
The Foundation is committed to engaging with communities locally and internationally. As part of its revised equity commitments in 2020, it updated its grant program guidelines to reflect feedback from listening sessions with over 250 community leaders. The Environment and Expanding Opportunities programs welcomed community members to their grantmaking committees in 2021. In 2023, the Foundation will focus on how to define proximity to communities in the international development grant program.
For more information about the Foundation’s staff and community, visit https://www.mortensonfamily.org/.