From time to time Propel Nonprofits has the opportunity to develop and manage capacity building initiatives to provide one or more services for a group of nonprofits. Capacity building initiatives are often developed through our strong connections with community partners. Each initiative is designed to meet a specific need in a community and to help nonprofits build their knowledge, skills, and capacity to thrive.
Capacity building initiatives are generally targeted to a specific type of nonprofit, a community or region, or a pre-selected cohort. These initiatives are valuable for the groups participating in the initiative and as opportunities for learning and research for Propel Nonprofits and our partners.
For short, we often refer to capacity building initiatives as CBI.
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Seeding Cultural Treasures is an initiative to nourish and cultivate the landscape of emerging arts and culture organizations run by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). The first phase of this initiative provided 32 organizations with unrestricted general operating grants between $40,000 and $70,000 along with trainings, convenings, and technical assistance support through 2025. The next phase will be in partnership with The Waterers and First People Fund. They are administering the Seeding Cultural Treasures program in North and South Dakota, as well as on reservations in northern Minnesota, where they hold deep relationships with Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color, in addition to arts organizations led by and run for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.
The Nonprofit Infrastructure Grant Program (NIGP) is aimed at supporting the missions of small, culturally led organizations by strengthening their infrastructure. Increasing the capacity of small organizations that work with historically underserved cultural communities helps position these organizations for greater impact in their community. The NIGP provides grants, as well as ongoing support to grow the organizational capacity of small Minnesota nonprofits.
Capacity Building Initiative for Family Engagement: The 2-year Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) for Family Engagement cohort engaged 12 nonprofit or fiscally sponsored organizations in a participant-driven capacity building model to empower families in K-12 educational systems. The goal of CBI was to help participants deepen their efforts to engage families, and ultimately, create more culturally responsive, welcoming, and hospitable schools for BIPOC families by strengthening their internal capacity.
Capacity Building Initiative: Greater Minnesota: The intent of CBI-GM was to help expand the capacity of organizations located in Greater Minnesota to advance their mission and goals.
Equity Builder Loan Program: This program engaged with 21 arts and culture nonprofits around Minnesota to give them the financial freedom to think bigger, take risks, and thrive as cultural leaders in their communities.
Healthy Nonprofits, Healthy Communities – Itasca County: The Healthy Nonprofits, Healthy Community program supported nonprofits in Itasca County as they strengthened their financial management, developed strong boards of directors, and learned to forge collaborations with other organizations to serve the community more effectively. This initiative provided nonprofits several opportunities to identify and act on their highest priorities for capacity building.
Social Enterprise Accelerator Cohort: Propel Nonprofits, with support from Otto Bremer Trust, developed a social enterprise accelerator program in 2022 for Minnesota nonprofits that were developing an earned revenue stream to support the mission of their nonprofits.