Can we talk? A Conversation with Funders about Funding

Can we talk? A Conversation with Funders about Funding


It’s more than just writing a stellar proposal or competing with your peers. Grants are a relationship between funders and recipients.

Join us as we examine this relationship. This December, we’ll be having a conversation with funders and experts about the funding process. What are some of the most significant challenges foundations experience when working with applicants or grant recipients? What are the things organizations and artists should keep in mind as they approach the funding process? And, as we consider both sides of the conversation, what are things we want funders to be mindful of for the organizations and artists they are working with?

We’re assembling a panel of open-minded, awesome representatives from some of the leading foundations and nonprofits and we want you to join us for a healthy discussion. Come with questions, concerns, and your listening hat as you familiarize yourself with the nuances of the foundation-grantee relationship.

Guests are invited to submit questions in advance of the event using the following form:

You can register for the workshop here:


– Kathee Foran, Minnesota State Arts Board
– Sarah Lovan, McKnight Foundation
– Jeff Prauer, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
– Jun-Li Wang, Springboard for the Arts
– Session will be moderated by: Jamie Schumacher, West Bank Business Association

About the panelists:

Kathee Foran has been working with Minneapolis and Saint Paul arts organizations since 1974. She has experience in the areas of program development, project management, fundraising, planning, promotion, and financial management. Her past employers include COMPAS, a Saint Paul community arts agency; the Loft Literary Center; and, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre where she was executive director for fourteen years. She joined the Minnesota State Arts Board as a program officer in June 2011. As a program officer she manages the Artist Initiative and Cultural Community Partnership programs that support nearly 200 individual artists each year. Foran has served on numerous community and arts related non-profit boards including multiple terms on UNIMA-USA, an international association of puppeteers, and the Jim Henson Foundation.

Sarah Lovan is arts program officer for The McKnight Foundation. She joined McKnight in 2005, and has been an officer since 2012. She currently manages the curation of the Cynthia Binger Boynton lobby gallery at the foundation offices. Lovan serves as a steering committee member for both the Arts and Culture Funders Network and Program Officer Network through the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Prior to McKnight, Lovan worked at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in development. While at MCAD, she studied drawing and photography through its continuing education program. A native Minnesotan, Lovan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural studies and comparative literature with an emphasis in music from the University of Minnesota. She believes in the power of the arts and artists and recently facilitated a Paint the Pavement project in her neighborhood. Lovan is a singer, is married to a drummer, and has two children.

Jeff Prauer has been the Executive Director of MRAC since the beginning of 2008. He is also the director of MRAC’s Arts Learning grant program. He is a past president and vice president of the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota, the consortium of the 11 regional arts councils that serve the state. Before coming to MRAC, Jeff worked at COMPAS — Community Programs in the Arts — for 19 years, including the last 14 as Executive Director. Jeff has also worked in the field of symphony orchestra management, and is a professional free-lance musician in the Twin Cities.

Jun-Li Wang is a connector of people, places and ideas. As Artist Community Organizer at Springboard for the Arts, she directs the Community Development Program that organizes and empowers artists, builds reciprocal relationships between communities and their artists, and trains artists to address community challenges and opportunities. Jun-Li has extensive experience in asset-based community development, neighborhood leadership, workshop curriculum design and implementation, and training. She created and led Irrigate, a nationally-recognized creative placemaking program designed to train and support local artists to address community challenges. In 2014 she launched Board Repair, a network organized by and for people of color to create a more effective non-profit sector by increasing participation of people of color on boards in the Twin Cities. More recently, Jun-Li received two Knight Foundation grants for Saint Paul Hello, an initiative to welcome and include newcomers more quickly into cool Minnesota. Jun-Li serves on the Saint Paul Planning Commission and Metropolitan Council Livable Communities Advisory Committee, and is active on the board of Urban Boatbuilders, a metro non-profit serving at-risk youth. Jun-Li holds a BA from Vassar College and MPS in International Development from Cornell University. When time permits, Jun-Li is a craft artist with guerilla art aspirations.

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