Welcoming Community to the Sustaining Environment Systems Committee


Over the past year, the Foundation concentrated intently on learning about, reaching out and listening to, and working with community members through focus groups and a workshop, as well as multiple one-on-one conversations. That process resulted in a wealth of thoughtful feedback and suggestions for bringing the Foundation’s grant guidelines into alignment with its racial equity commitments.

“This process introduced us to so many excellent people, some of whom we invited to serve on our grantmaking committee. We are still on our learning journey, but one thing is clear – the deeper we go, the more we understand the importance of working toward having community at the center of the Foundation’s work. Our expanded committee will help us move toward this goal,” explained Danyelle O’Hara, Mortenson Family Foundation Community Relationship Officer.

“I’m thrilled that we are moving this work forward. While we started without knowing where we would end, we all became committed to the process and excited about it. The committee was there for the workshop and the most important thing for us was to be honest and encourage all questions, which established a culture of challenge and skepticism. I learned that the first part is about listening, the second is about honesty, and the third is about stepping back,” replied Chris Mortenson, Chair, Mortenson Family Foundation Sustaining Environmental Systems Committee.

Mortenson Family Foundation welcomes sharing information about inviting community members to join our grantmaking committee. For questions and further discussion, please contact:

Donna Dalton
Executive Director
Mortenson Family Foundation

Danyelle O’Hara
Community Relationship Officer
Mortenson Family Foundation