Propel Nonprofits is an intermediary organization and federally certified community development financial institution (CDFI). We provide capacity-building services and access to capital to support nonprofits in achieving their missions including the ability to link strategy, governance, and finance and to support nonprofits throughout their organizational lifecycle. Propel Nonprofits was created from the 2017 merger of Nonprofits Assistance Fund and MAP for Nonprofits.
A diverse network of mission-driven nonprofits building a healthy, vibrant, and more just community
Fueling the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital
Part of our Theory of Change is that when nonprofits are well-led, well-resourced, and well-connected they achieve mission success. As we work toward our mission of fueling the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital, we use these principles as a strategy screen, as accountability markers, and as a handshake, whether you’re new through our door or an old Propel friend.
The downloadable document presents a strategic framework for Propel Nonprofits, weaving together mission, vision, values, strategic priorities, and organizational culture work completed during 2020 by the Board of Directors and Propel staff.
As noted in the document, the framework is designed to be adaptive and responsive. As a staff and board, we chose to develop a truly high-level Strategic Framework as a guiding document for the next several years.
Our capacity-building services include training on nonprofit finance and governance; consulting focused on strategy, finance, and governance; fiscal sponsorship; and resources and guidance for nonprofit staff and board leaders in Minnesota and adjacent communities across all fields of service and at any life-cycle stage.
At the beginning of 2020, before anyone knew what the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) would bring, the organization faced a profound financial crisis. Through a grant from the Phillips Family Foundation, Hopewell’s long-time staff member, teacher, and newly appointed acting executive director Andrea Myers and the rest of the administrative staff contracted with Propel’s Strategic Services team to review their budget, collect and analyze important program data, and find clarity around their finances. Eventually, that work transitioned into the organization’s first conversations around strategic planning and board development through which the organization was able set some long-term goals and recruit new board members to reinvigorate its leadership.
Propel offers a variety of Accounting & Finance services to nonprofits. In FY21, we worked with 17 organizations of which 5 received year-long financial insight services, 8 received QuickBooks Online Setup services.
One of those clients was Northeast Youth & Family Services whose new president and CEO, Tara Jebens-Singh, worked with our consultants to gain clarity around the organization’s accounting operations after staff and software transitions. She presented with our consultants at the 2021 Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference; Tara and the Propel team discussed how to identify partners to assist in creating reports, and use financials to tell her organization’s story.
In fiscal year 2021, Propel sponsored 57 projects, 16 of which were neww. Our fiscal sponsorship program works with dozens of mission-driven organizations, projects, causes, and collaborations annually to build infrastructure, set goals, and develop sustainable business models.
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, on the same day George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, Christian Cooper, a Black man and avid birder, was birding in Central Park when a white woman called the police on him. Cooper filmed the incident, the video went viral, and it drew national attention against the backdrop of a social uprising and calls for racial equity across the United States and the world.
Incidents like this are one of the reasons the Minnesota-based Urban Bird Collective (UBC) exists. Founded in 2018, the Urban Bird Collective supports birdwatchers of all different skill levels in leading walks in their own neighborhoods. They are working to create safe and welcoming spaces for all communities to come out and explore birding and the outdoors. Their main foci are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and the LGBT Community, but all are welcome.
These numbers reflect work completed in Propel’s FY21. For more information about our impact, visit our Reports page to read the most recent Quarterly Investors Reports and our FY21 Impact Report.