Special Initiatives

Healthy Nonprofits, Healthy Communities – Itasca County

Propel Nonprofits helps nonprofits in Itasca County strengthen their financial management, develop strong boards of directors, and learn to forge collaborations with other organizations to serve the community more effectively. This initiative provides nonprofits several opportunities to identify and act on their highest priorities for capacity building. 

Learning Sessions

Each year the Healthy Nonprofits, Healthy Communities participants take part in a learning series. Recent topics have included board roles and responsibilities, and specifically the partnership between the board chair and ED/CEO and the role of the board treasurer. Sessions are free and typically take place from 8:30 am to noon at Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, sessions will be held virtually. Networking and ample time for discussion typically are built into every session. You can attend each session on its own or attend all in a series.


Propel Nonprofits brings our training to you virtually! All are welcome to join Propel Nonprofits for any of our free webinars – see a list of upcoming webinars.

Consulting for Organizational Priorities

Every nonprofit organization has goals and plans to deliver its programs in the community and strengthen its organization. No one knows better than the nonprofit’s leaders what types of projects are most important to move to the next level. Working with a core group of experienced consultants, your nonprofit will focus on a project that will help you move forward. Our consulting services projects focus on strategic planning, such as board development, strategic planning, succession planning, and finance/sustainability.  

Financial Leadership Cohort

We are offering the Financial Leadership cohort in Grand Rapids in 2020-21. Applications were due July 17, 2020, with the first cohort session taking place virtually in September.

Open Office Hours

In many instances nonprofits need a quick response for advice and resources on organizational issues when they arise. These situations often don’t require a full consulting project or scope, but rather easy access to an experienced professional with knowledge, access to resources, and availability. Call us at 612.249.6700 to schedule an Open Office Hours consultation by phone. 

Stay Connected

Because your needs for organizational assistance might arise anytime, Propel Nonprofits maintains regular communications with a Healthy Nonprofits, Healthy Communities e-newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter today.

Capacity Building Initiative for Family Engagement

The 2-year Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) for Family Engagement cohort will engage 12 nonprofit or fiscally sponsored organizations in a participant-driven capacity building model to empower families in K-12 educational systems. The intent of CBI is 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. This program is rooted in the belief that families and communities should be seen and supported as leaders and full partners in the schools, that their partnership and participation in schools is a pathway to systems change, and that they play a critical role in advocating for improved school, district, and state policies and practices. This program is built on a hybrid of self-determined, individualized capacity building activities coupled with cohort learning and relationship building. This multifaceted approach will include 5 areas:

1. Organizational Assessment

Propel Nonprofits’ strategic consultants will conduct an organizational assessment for each participant to better understand organizations’ needs and opportunities. Assessment results will be used to develop a custom capacity building plan, goals, and timeline.

2. Grant Support

Grants totaling more than $1 million will be distributed during the 2-year cohort to the 12 organizations in the following category areas: general operating, professional development, capacity for change, and opportunity funds. All grantees will be required to submit financial and program updates.

3. Convenings

Organizations will participate in 1 to 2 all-group convenings annually, including a program launch, to form connections and share achievements, aspirations, and common capacity goals. At least one convening will focus on collaboration.

4. Learning Labs

Organizations will participate in quarterly nonprofit management/leadership training on topics including fiscal management, evaluation, donor relations, communications, board development, and more, based on organizational assessments and program participant input.

5. Responsive Technical Assistance

Propel staff will provide one-on-one support, acting as a partner, guide, and coach as organizations implement their capacity building plans.

The CBI for Family Engagement is made possible with funding from and partnership with the McKnight Foundation and The Minneapolis Foundation.