Jennifer Ford Reedy

Chief of staff and vice president for strategy and knowledge management, Minnesota Community Foundation and Saint Paul Foundation
Jennifer Ford Reedy

• Developing an online platform that has transformed how Minnesota nonprofits raise funds

Reedy was inspired to develop the original business plan for GiveMN by sites like Kiva, which provides online microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. GiveMN launched in November 2009, with the first Give to the Max Day. More than 38,000 Minnesotans gave $14 million on that one day to 3,434 state nonprofits. Since its start, GiveMN has helped Minnesota organizations raise more than $29 million.

Before GiveMN, Reedy says, many Minnesota nonprofits did not have a Web site or social media presence. “We’ve now trained more than 2,000 organizations in how to create communities on line,” she adds, “to take advantage of new tools to form different relationships with donors.” There were plenty of challenges. The biggest? Getting Minnesota’s broad philanthropy community to buy into a single giving site.

GiveMN “totally changed our world,” says Laura Zabel, executive director of St. Paul–based Springboard for the Arts, which provides business and career help for local artists. “We’ve seen a huge increase in small donors,” she adds. “We’re a small organization, so it’s been a huge benefit.”