Board Opportunities

First Step Initiative (Grand Central Charities dba First Step Initiative)

First Step Initiative is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit founded in 2006 that provides grants to groups of women in or near Lubumbashi in Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Africa to enable start-up and / or increased investment in their businesses. Grants are made to collectives, known as merry-go-rounds, which normally would not have access to capital. We purposefully serve the poorest of the poor.

The merry-go-round is an excellent basis for grant-making. Each merry-go-round is typically comprised of a group of 5 to 20 women. Amongst the women there will be multiple businesses and/or multiple business ideas. The women bring forward their grant requests, and the President of the merry-go-round puts forward the proposal which is believed to have the greatest potential. In this fashion, we are able to consider only the best opportunity that each merry-go-round has. And when projects succeed, the benefits go to the entire merry-go-round team.

Organizational Goals:

  • Reassess fundraising strategy—small but quite solvent
  • Recruitment for staff in the Congo

Annual budget: $60k


First Step Initiative is seeking candidates with a passion for the mission, networking skills, and international experience with the following skills in order of importance:

  • Financial Planning & Accounting
  • Fundraising/Development
  • Social media Marketing
  • Event Planning


The main responsibility of board members is to participate in governance of the organization, execution of board strategies, and promotion of First Step Initiative within the Twin Cities giving communities and personal networks
Number of members: Currently at seven; not to exceed 15
How many needed: Two
Meeting time and frequency: Third Wednesday of every month
Meeting location: Café Inc. (aka The Reserve) in Edina


Time Expectation: Minimum ten hours per month including one 2-1/2 hour board meeting
Financial Contribution requirement: Encouraged but not mandatory
Committee requirement: In some instances; it depends which board role
Length of Term: Three years
Renewable: Yes (maximum two terms)
Have D & O Insurance

Questions about this board opportunity?

Recruiter: Dan Frankenfeld


4940 West 77th Street, Suite #30, Edina, MN 55435


We seek to provide grants to support small groups of women in Lubumbashi and the surrounding area who will use the money to put their business dreams into action. The funding is intended to enable them to start new businesses or enhance existing ones, and lead to sustainable livelihoods for a broad group of merry-go-round members. We deliberately serve impoverished individuals with drive and dreams who are not served by other lending or grant-making organizations.


Recruiter: Dan Frankenfeld