2017 Annual Report

Table of Contents

2017 Leadership        3

Message from the MINN 2018 President        4

About MINN        5

Making a Difference        6

Connect        6

Share        6

Learn        7

Standout Accomplishments from 2017        8

Overall        8

MINN Programming Committee        9

MINN Summit Committee        9

How MINN can serve you        10

MINN Membership        10

Volunteer with MINN        10

Join MINN’s board        11

MINN Partners        12

Financials        13

Revenue and Support        13

Acknowledgements        14

2017 Leadership

Board Leadership

President                        JB Scherpelz, University of Minnesota 

Vice President                Jeannie Fox, Hamline University

Treasurer                        Sara Meyer, The Nature Conservancy

Secretary                        Melinda Czaia, Melinda Czaia Consulting


Communications Manager        Bette Benson, Sarah Vast

Membership Manager        Joe Eggers

Volunteer Leadership

Summit Co-Chairs                Jeff Seltz and Kaying Vang

Program Co-Chairs                Emily Beltmann-Swenson and Lacey Kraft

MINN Summit Team Photo

Message from the MINN 2018 President 

“The thing about being the executive director is that my board assumes I know what I am doing and my staff assumes I know what I am doing. The truth is, I don’t always have the answers and it can be lonely at the top.”

This sentiment spoken during a small-group MINN facilitated session has likely been shared in one iteration or another countless times. The individuals who make up MINN all have their own story, with some just beginning their careers in international development, eager to start applying their education and rolling up their sleeves. Others are mid-career and bring extensive knowledge and real world experience, offering insights and support for those looking to enter the field. And others involved with MINN are in leadership positions, helping to connect the aspirational words of a nonprofit's mission with the daily tasks of running an organization.

What unites those who engage with MINN is a desire for continual learning and growth. MINN exists to allow reflections like these to occur, in a safe and positive space. We seek to provide a network and a forum for individuals to connect, engage, and learn.

This Annual Report reflects a year’s worth of both external facing programs and internal focused building. Publically, MINN offered more than 30 events with a diverse range of stakeholders and partners, working with nonprofits, universities, private companies, and local government. The 5th Annual MINN Summit brought together nearly 200 individuals to connect and engage on the topic of international development.

Internally, MINN hired a Communication Manager to further develop and systemize our external messaging, including how we communicate across a number of social media platforms and via our ever-growing e-newsletter distribution list. Additional efforts sought to professionalize MINN’s financials and member-database, utilizing both consultants and volunteers. The Board also laid the foundation for Organizational Membership, scheduled to launch in 2019, by holding its first Executive Director Roundtable.

As you read the following report, thank you for your continued support and advocacy for MINN’s mission. From the intern to the Executive Director, you are what makes MINN work.


Kaying Vang

2018 MINN Board President

About MINN


The Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN) is a forum for international practitioners, organizations and supporters to learn, network and exchange professional expertise.


To be the leader in providing a collaborative environment for Minnesota international NGOs to learn and exchange ideas. Our efforts result in innovative and effective solutions that enrich the lives of the global community. 

“Inspiring for cross-collaborative work

 amongst international NGOs.”

Who we serve

MINN serves to connect all international humanitarian, development and philanthropy practitioners and organizations based in Minnesota through education, networking and information resources. 

What we do

MINN is committed to strengthening the sector of local international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) through opportunities to connect, share, and learn from one another. Throughout the year, INGO professionals come together to connect with one another through a series of coffee meetups, happy hours, workshops, and facilitated networking sessions. The MINN Summit is a one-day conference that brings all of the Minnesota INGO community together to share information and learn from one another’s experiences. Professionals can learn from one another during MINN Talk & Tours, taking place on average once a month.

The MINN structure allows organizations to exist in a collaborative learning environment, where best practices and resources can be shared to continue working towards the greater good.

Why we do it

MINN believes that a thriving and connected INGO sector will enrich the lives of people around the world, enhance our collective impact, and inspire leaders and organizations in our state that are committed to making a positive difference in our global and local communities.


Making a Difference

MINN plays an important and significant role in providing international-focused organizations with a platform to connect, share, and learn. MINN is currently the only organization in the state of Minnesota to specifically serve internationally-focused organizations in the state.


MINN seeks to bring internationally-focused organizations and professionals together to connect with one another. Minnesota-based INGOs provide essential programs and services spanning all global regions and the entire development, humanitarian, and philanthropic spectrum. Programs and services provided by Minnesota’s INGO community include the sectors of education, public health, community and economic development, refugee assistance, volunteerism, and more. There are currently more than 100 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) listed in MINN’s directory, and over 1,800 professionals receive MINN’s bi-weekly e-newsletter.

Of those who participated in the MINN Summit survey, 98% indicated that they gained opportunities for professional connection. When asked about why they valued the MINN Summit, one participant explained “the opportunity to connect and learn with global leaders opened my eyes to new potential.” Throughout the year, the MINN Programming Committee organized 20 events with the specific goal of creating networking opportunities for international professionals to connect with one another. These events included Talk & Tours, happy hours, and documentary screenings, among others.

“It is so nice to feel like you are with

people who get you and your work.

We are a unique crowd, good to

get together!”


A key pillar in advancing the practices of international development is bringing professionals together to exchange ideas and practices. This is a core tenant to why MINN exists, and how it seeks to serve the Minnesota INGO community. Organizations have multiple opportunities to share information about the work that they do through MINN channels. One opportunity is to feature their work in the MINN Summit marketplace. At the 2017 MINN Summit, 19 organizations were featured in the marketplace. Throughout the day of the Summit, attendees were able to meet organization representatives and hear about the work that they do. Some marketplace organizations include the Center for Victims of Torture, Fair Anita, and Mary’s Pence.

MINN Talk & Tours are another avenue for organizations to share their work with the community. During 2017, 11 Talk & Tours were organized for local organizations to meet with other international professionals and share about the work that they do. Those who participated in Talk & Tour surveys indicated that the biggest draw to MINN Talk & Tours is their curiosity to learn more about the featured organizations.


MINN provides organizations opportunities to learn at both the annual MINN Summit as well as smaller events throughout the year organized by the Programming Committee. The 2017 MINN Summit featured 22 breakout sessions facilitated in a TED-talk format. Throughout the course of a day, 35 speakers and facilitators from Minnesota’s INGO community shared their lessons learned and best practices, engaging in thoughtful conversation with attendees. One Summit attendee reflected on their experience in the breakout sessions, stating it “flowed so naturally, it almost felt like I was talking with a bunch of colleagues on development’s most pressing issues.”

The Programming Committee organizes events throughout the year to bring the MINN INGO community together and learn from one another. A volunteering event was hosted at Mano a Mano, there was a screening of Poverty, Inc., and a facilitated conversation with the Minister Counselor of Development at the European Union Mission to the United States, Dr. Renate Hahlen.

MINN aspires to contribute to a thriving community of global-minded leaders and organizations armed with knowledge and lessons learned from their peers as they work on the world’s leading challenges.

MINN volunteers helped package supplies for Mano a Mano’s programs in Bolivia

Standout Accomplishments from 2017


Each year, the MINN board members come together to think strategically about how they can best propel MINN forward, supporting MINN volunteers and organizations. In 2017, MINN leadership supported its volunteers through a series of volunteer appreciation events. These events brought together volunteers, consultants, board members, and other individuals who truly make MINN “tick”. The organization also developed a volunteer manual, providing clarity and better guidance for MINN volunteers who often join the organization to gain professional experience and exposure.

MINN hired its first Communications Manager, Sarah Ashkar. This hiring formalized a previous volunteer role into a consultancy. This is valuable in recognizing the consistent, high-quality work required in a communications role that serves as a liaison between the MINN volunteers and board and the greater community.

MINN additionally created a MINN member Facebook page. MINN continues to grow it’s community and create innovative offerings that allow members to connect, share, and learn from one another.

MINN Programming Committee

The MINN Programming Committee, fully run by volunteers, hosted 33 unique MINN events ranging from volunteer opportunities, to happy hours, to documentary screenings. One flagship event was the Executive Director roundtable, bringing together Minnesota’s INGO leaders to collaborate and learn from one another.

MINN Summit Committee

Each year, the MINN Summit Committee builds on the work of the previous volunteers, adding new and exciting ways to innovate the annual conference. In 2017 the Summit Committee expanded it’s MINN Fellow program by creating more opportunities for fellows to engage with MINN leadership, community, and sponsors. Nine professional MINN Fellows were featured at the annual Summit, with expertise ranging across human rights, refugee and immigrant rights, sustainable rural development, strategic policy, and women’s rights. The Summit team also celebrated it’s 5th annual Summit with 196 INGO professionals and enthusiasts in attendance.

How MINN can serve you

MINN Membership

MINN offers both individual and organization membership options. MINN members are a special part our organization. While we open our events and activities to any who are interested, our MINN members are uniquely engaged in what we do. Through an annual fee, members provide MINN with consistent revenue and receive several benefits in return. Consider joining this group of intentional and motivated practitioners; those who are active in the field and desire a deeper professional network.

If you are part of an organization, consider talking to your organization about the many benefits of Organizational Membership.

The following benefits are provided through an individual membership ($40 annual student cost, $50 annual young professional cost, and $75 annual associate cost)

Organizational members receive the above benefits as well as:

Promotion and Marketing

Networking & Professional Development

Employee Engagement & Recruitment

Organizational memberships are based on an organization’s annual budget. Please reach out to the MINN Membership Manager for more information at membership@minnesotangos.org.

Volunteer with MINN

MINN is made possible by the work of its dedicated, talented volunteers. Volunteers can get involved with MINN by being a member or co-chair of the Programming or Summit committees. The Programming Committee meets monthly and plans ongoing events throughout the year. The Summit Committee meets monthly and orchestrates the annual one-day Summit conference. To learn more and become a volunteer, reach out to volunteering@minnesotangos.org.

Join MINN’s board

MINN is led by a working board that dedicates its time to supporting volunteers and propelling MINN forward so that it can best serve the Minnesota INGO community. Board members work to increase MINNs financial assets and offerings. To learn more about the MINN board and how you could get involved in the future, contact the MINN Board Vice President at VP@minnesotangos.org.

MINN Partners

MINN receives support from organizations through MINN Summit sponsorships. The 2017 sponsors list included the Land O’Lakes Foundation and the McKnight Foundation.

In-kind donations were provided by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Thomson Reuters, and Humble Cup.














Total expenses


Revenue and Support



Event revenue


Membership revenue




Total Revenue



Thank you to all of the volunteers who have spent thousands of hours supporting the MINN organization and community. We recognize that the benefits and services we provide would be impossible without your energy. A special thanks to the volunteer committee chairs for your leadership, commitment, and inspiration! 

Thank you to Karen Baumgaertner and Paul Hanscom for your vision in founding MINN and continued partnership.

Thank you to all of Minnesota’s INGOs for your service and support. Together we will continue to grow and thrive and MINN looks forward to continued partnership in 2018 and beyond.

 MINN 2017 Annual Report