Charities Review Council's Fall 2021 Smart Giver Newsletter

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The newsletter from Charities Review Council

FALL 2021

THE SMART GIVER Q&A Column for Smart Giving

Written by Jess Birken, Council Board Member, Birken Law Office

That doesn’t mean they aren’t a great organization, though. As a donor, how do you know if a newer nonprofit is a good one to support? Here are a few indicators that an organization is on the right track to meeting Standards:

They’re governed by a strong board of directors.


I'm interested in supporting a new nonprofit. As a Smart Giver, what should I be looking for?

As a lawyer for nonprofits, I help founders take their big ideas and turn them into real-life nonprofits. If I’m being honest, this is some of my favorite work. Why? Founders are visionaries. They’re passionate and knowledgeable about their mission from day one. My law firm’s mission is "to empower nonprofits to achieve their missions by helping them do things right." But let me tell you – it takes time to set up a strong and thriving nonprofit. While the Council has a policy to support new organizations through the review process, a nonprofit that’s just one or two years old still won’t have the Meets Standards® Seal on their website, as the Council’s Standards require a minimum of three years’ worth of financial data.

Even the smallest nonprofits need a board of directors of 3 or more people. They should also have bylaws and hold regular board meetings. You may see all of this on their website, but at minimum they should list their board of directors. Is the board credible? Diverse? Does it represent the community it serves? Unless it's a family foundation, all the members shouldn't be related. What does the board say to you about this organization?


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IN THIS ISSUE FALL 2021 • Q&A Column for Smart Giving • Status Update with Kris Kewitsch • Giving Guide 2021 Three Easy Ways to Check Out Nonprofits Before Giving

2021 Check out the Giving Guide on page 3 for a list of reviewed nonprofits.

They clearly communicate who they are and what they do. Even if the website isn't fancy, new nonprofits can use it to share information similar to what’s required by the Council’s Public Disclosure Accountability Standards®. Here’s what you should be able to find out on a oneyear-old nonprofit's website: • Mission statement • Descriptions of who they serve or where they work • Clear descriptions of their programs • List of the board of directors and key staff (if they have any) • Balance sheet or other financial documents [continued on page 8]

Call (651) 224-7030



The Smart Giver | | Charities Review Council

STATUS UPDATE WITH KRIS KEWITSCH Council Friends, Happy fall! I’m grateful to be connecting with you through our fall 2021 edition of the Smart Giver Newsletter. In 2021, we've partnered with our technology support partners to make continuous improvements to our website and cloud-based proprietary software products — the Accountability Wizard® and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Toolkit. Thanks to this long-term investment in our products, our donor partners can access readily available, up-to-date giving guidance, and our nonprofit partners can confidently complete our streamlined review process. As we shared in the last newsletter, 2021 marks Charities Review Council’s 75th anniversary. In partnership with our Board of Directors and our event planner, Rosemarie Ndupuechi, we elected to move our anniversary celebration to spring 2022. With a later event date, we can continue to practice caution around COVID-19 safety while preparing an exciting celebration for all of you. In this monumental year for Council history, we’d like to thank all of our supporters from the last 75 years. When engaged donors like you invest in our mission, we know that our nonprofit sector and therefore our communities can thrive. Help us celebrate the past, present and future of the Council with a year-end gift. You can use the enclosed envelope or head to to continue your support of our mission. As we prepare for our celebration, we’d love to hear from you — the folks who make our work possible. What does smart giving mean to you? How has the Council impacted your giving story? You can find our contact information on the back page of this newsletter. In partnership,

Kris Kewitsch Executive Director, Charities Review Council

P.S. Give to the Max Day is on the horizon, with early giving kicking off on November 1st. Join us in celebrating 75 years of Council history with a gift of $75 or more. Head to to give! Cover photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jessica Birken, Birken Law Office Melvin Clark, Allianz Investment Management Carolyn Deters, Treasurer, Indelible | Gifts for Seniors Megan Genest Tarnow, Chair, The Mobius Group Gregg Larson, Past Chair, University of Minnesota School of Public Health (semi-retired) Garnetta Lowman, Program Committee Chair, Neka Creative, Consulting Stacey Nelson-Kumar, Vice Chair, Comcast Molly Raymond, Walden University Stephen Thompson, Secretary, Audit Committee Chair, Securian Asset Management, Inc. (retired) Lisa Zellmer, Governance Committee Chair

STAFF Madeline Folstein, Communications & Administrative Associate Dimitri Kaasan-Stull, Program Manager Kris Kewitsch, Executive Director Abby Wellan, Operations Manager Heather Wilmot LeMay, Interim Operations Coordinator

GIVING GUIDE | Fall 2021

MEETS STANDARDS® NONPROFITS This go-to list features nonprofits that have voluntarily completed our nonprofit review process and have earned Charities Review Council’s Meets Standards® Seal, a visual marker of nonprofit strength. Our review process is good for three years and requires a small administrative payment (.02% of an organization’s operating expenses). The green checkmark indicates that the nonprofit Meets Standards®. For an up-to-date listing, go to

Accountability Standards® Our 25 Accountability Standards® are co-created benchmarks measuring nonprofit performance in four critical areas: governance, finance, fundraising and public disclosure. They represent a balance of nonprofit sector promising practices, public expectations and legal/regulatory requirements. The Standards have evolved over the Council’s 75 years, with broad participation from Minnesota’s nonprofit and philanthropic communities, to reflect reasonable public expectations for nonprofits. Learn more at

Giving Guide Fall 2021 ✔ 180 Degrees

✔ Anu Family Services, Inc.

✔ The Bridge for Youth

✔ 360 Communities

✔ ArtReach St. Croix

✔ Bridges to Learning, Inc.

✔ A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation

✔ Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul

✔ Bridging

✔ A Child's Hope International

✔ Association for Nonsmokers Minnesota

✔ Accessible Space, Inc. (ASI) ✔ AchieveMpls ✔ Age Well Arrowhead Inc. ✔ Alexandra House, Inc. ✔ Alight (formerly American Refugee Committee) ✔ Alliance Housing Inc. ✔ The Alliance ✔ The ALS Association MN/ND/ SD Chapter

✔ Avenues for Youth ✔ Banyan Community

✔ C.A.R.E. Clinic ✔ CAIR California (LA, SV/CC, SD, SFBA) ✔ CAIR-Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh)

✔ Basic Needs, Inc of South Washington County dba Stone Soup Thrift Shop

✔ Camp Fire Minnesota

✔ BATC Foundation dba Housing First Minnesota Foundation

✔ Can Do Canines

✔ Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative

✔ Carris Health Foundation

✔ Beltrami Neighborhood Council

✔ Camp Odayin ✔ Cancer Legal Care ✔ Casa de Esperanza

✔ American Indian Family Center

✔ BestPrep

✔ Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

✔ Amery Hospital & Clinic Foundation

✔ Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities

✔ Ampersand Families

✔ Bloom Early Learning

✔ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud

✔ Angel Foundation

✔ Bolder Options

✔ Animal Folks

✔ Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities

✔ Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation

✔ Breanna's Gift

✔ The Center for Victims of Torture ✔ Center School, Inc. ✔ Charities Review Council (SelfReview)



The Smart Giver | | Charities Review Council

Giving Guide Fall 2021 – continued ✔ Children's Cancer Research Fund ✔ Children's Dental Services ✔ Children's Home Society of Minnesota ✔ Circle of Hope ✔ City of Lakes Community Land Trust ✔ Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

✔ Exodus Lending ✔ Faith's Lodge ✔ The Family Partnership

✔ Haiti Teen Challenge

✔ Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley, Inc.

✔ Hamm Memorial Psychiatric Clinic, Inc.

✔ Family Tree Clinic

✔ Hands of Hope Resource Center

✔ FamilyMeans ✔ FamilyWise Services ✔ Feed My Starving Children

✔ Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties

✔ Feeding Our Communities Partners

✔ Community Thread

✔ The Food Group

✔ Como Friends

✔ Foundation for Essential Needs

✔ Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa ✔ Cornerstone Advocacy Service ✔ Daily Work ✔ DARTS ✔ DinoMights

✔ Firefly Sisterhood

✔ HandsOn Twin Cities ✔ Hastings Family Service ✔ Highpoint Center for Printmaking ✔ Hope Community ✔ HopeKids, Inc. ✔ House of Charity, Inc ✔ HousingLink

✔ Franconia Sculpture Park

✔ Hudson Hospital Foundation

✔ Fraser

✔ Hunger Solutions Minnesota

✔ Fresh Energy

✔ Hutchinson Health Foundation

✔ Freshwater Society

✔ ICA – Intercongregation Communities Association

✔ Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

✔ Diversity Council

✔ Friends of the Hennepin County Library

✔ Dodge Nature Center

✔ Friends of the Mississippi River

✔ East Side Learning Center

✔ Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries

✔ Eastside Meals on Wheels, Inc.

✔ Guild

✔ Family Pathways

✔ CommonBond Communities

✔ Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio

✔ Greater Twin Cities United Way

✔ Edina Community Foundation

✔ Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys

✔ EMERGE Community Development

✔ Give Us Wings

✔ Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota ✔ Initiative Foundation ✔ Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners ✔ International Institute of Minnesota ✔ Iringa Hope ✔ Jewish Family Service of St. Paul

✔ Emma Norton Services

✔ Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota

✔ Environmental Initiative

✔ Great River Greening

✔ Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota

✔ Great River Rescue

✔ Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest

✔ Every Meal

✔ Greater Minneapolis Community Connections

✔ Keystone Community Services

✔ EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services

✔ Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery

✔ Joyce Preschool

✔ La Oportunidad, Inc. ✔ Lakes & Prairies CAP

GIVING GUIDE | Fall 2021

Giving Guide Fall 2021 ✔ Lakes Area Music Festival ✔ Lakes Area United Way

– continued

✔ Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge

Can’t find a charity? Call us at (651) 224-7030. ✔ New Pathways

✔ Minnesota Alliance With Youth

✔ Northeast Youth & Family Services

✔ Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration

✔ Northern Dental Access Center

✔ Minnesota Boychoir

✔ Northside Achievement Zone

✔ Learning Disabilities Association, Inc. (LDA Minnesota)

✔ Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)

✔ Northwoods Partners

✔ Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health & Well-Being

✔ Minnesota Children's Museum

✔ Lakes Center for Youth and Families ✔ Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

✔ LifeSource ✔ Lifeworks Services, Inc.

✔ Minnesota Computers for Schools

✔ Novation Education Opportunities ✔ One Heartland ✔ The Open Door

✔ The Lift Garage

✔ Minnesota Council on Economic Education

✔ Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless

✔ Lighthouse Ministries International of Africa

✔ Minnesota Independence College and Community

✔ Operation HELP

✔ The Link

✔ Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN)

✔ Listening House of St. Paul, Inc ✔ Listening Point Foundation Inc. ✔ Literacy Minnesota (previously Minnesota Literacy Council) ✔ Living Well Disability Services ✔ Loaves and Fishes

✔ Minnesota Land Trust ✔ Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance ✔ Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media

✔ Opportunity Neighborhood ✔ Opportunity Partners ✔ Park Nicollet Foundation ✔ Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (PawPADs) ✔ Pawsitivity Service Dogs ✔ PeaceMaker Minnesota

✔ The Loppet Foundation

✔ Minnesota State Fair Foundation

✔ People Serving People

✔ Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

✔ Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends

✔ The Phoenix Residence Inc.

✔ Lutheran Social Service of MN

✔ Missions Inc. Programs

✔ Pinky Swear Foundation

✔ Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota

✔ Mississippi Park Connection

✔ Plymouth Christian Youth Center

✔ Mano a Mano International Partners

✔ Move Minnesota

✔ MATTER ✔ McLeod Emergency Food Shelf ✔ MDI ✔ Merrick Community Services ✔ Merrick, Inc. ✔ Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance

✔ MORE ✔ MoveFwd (formerly Teens Alone)

✔ Perspectives, Inc.

✔ Prepare + Prosper ✔ PRG, Inc. ✔ ProAct, Inc.


✔ Progress Valley, Inc.

✔ My Very Own Bed

✔ Project FINE

✔ NAMI Minnesota

✔ Project For Pride In Living Inc.

✔ Neighbors, Inc.

✔ Project Success

✔ Neuro Hospitality House

✔ Project Zawadi



The Smart Giver | | Charities Review Council

Giving Guide Fall 2021 – continued ✔ PROP (People Reaching Out to People)

✔ Southside Family Nurturing Center

✔ Rainbow Health (formerly JustUs Health)

✔ Southside Services I, Inc.

✔ Reach for Resources ✔ The Reading Center / Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota ✔ Rebuilding Together Twin Cities

✔ St. Cloud Municipal Band ✔ St. David's Center for Child & Family Development ✔ St. Louis Park Emergency Program ✔ St. Paul Youth Services

✔ Regions Hospital Foundation

✔ St. Stephen's Human Services

✔ Relate Counseling Center

✔ Standpoint

✔ The Reporters, Inc.

✔ Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

✔ Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest (RAGOM)

✔ Susan G. Komen Minnesota

✔ Reve Academy

✔ Tanzania Life Project

✔ Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

✔ Tasks Unlimited

✔ Rise

✔ Three Rivers Park District Foundation

✔ Ruff Start Rescue

✔ Touchstone Mental Health

✔ Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL)

✔ Tree Trust

✔ Saint Anthony Park Area Seniors ✔ SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) ✔ Second Harvest Heartland ✔ Second Harvest North Central Food Bank ✔ Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank ✔ Semcac ✔ Senior Community Services

✔ Tubman ✔ Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Inc. ✔ Twin Cities Public Television ✔ United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties ✔ United Way of Hastings ✔ United Way of Olmsted County, Inc. ✔ United Way of Southwest Minnesota

✔ Vail Place ✔ Valley Outreach ✔ The Village Family Service Center ✔ Vision Loss Resources ✔ VocalEssence ✔ Volunteer Lawyers Network ✔ WACOSA ✔ Washburn Center for Children ✔ Wayside Recovery Center ✔ WellShare International ✔ West Hennepin Affordable Housing Land Trust ✔ Western Communities Action Network, Inc. (WeCAN) ✔ Westfields Hospital & Clinic Foundation ✔ White Bear Area Food Shelf ✔ White Bear Center for the Arts ✔ White Bear Lake Area Historical Society ✔ Wilderness Inquiry ✔ Wings for Widows ✔ Wishes & More ✔ Women's Advocates, Inc. ✔ Women's Foundation of Minnesota ✔ WomenVenture ✔ Woodbury Life Resource Center ✔ Youth Farm

✔ ServeMinnesota

✔ United Way of West Central Minnesota

✔ Simpson Housing Services, Inc.

✔ Upstream Arts, Inc.

✔ YouthLink

✔ Sing Out Loud

✔ Urban Arts Academy

✔ Youthprise

✔ Sojourner Project, Inc.

✔ Urban Boatbuilders

✔ YWCA of Minneapolis

✔ Solid Ground

✔ Urban Roots

✔ Youth Service Bureau, Inc.

GIVING GUIDE | Fall 2021 Can’t find a charity? Call us at (651) 224-7030.

Giving Guide Fall 2021 – continued

Reviews in Progress: On September 1, the nonprofits listed as “Review in Progress” were working with Charities Review Council to attain or renew their Meet Standards® status. View an up-to-date list at Accord

Ed Allies

African Development Center of Minnesota

Exercisabilities, Inc

African Economic Development Solutions American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA) The Arc Minnesota The BeliEve Foundation CAPI USA

Global Minnesota Hammer Residences, Inc. Haven Housing of Ascension Place, Inc. Heart of America Foundation Hennepin Health Foundation/ Hennepin Healthcare Foundation

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc. Oasis for Youth Open Access Connections PACER Center, Inc. Pillsbury United Communities Quiet Oaks Hospice House & Respite Care Red Drop Resource

Karen Organization of Minnesota

Rein in Sarcoma

La Oportunidad, Inc.

St. Croix Valley Foundation

Light the Legacy

Steve Rummler Hope Network

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Summit Academy OIC

Minnesota Humanities Center


Minnesota Justice Foundation

Tri-County Humane Society

The Minnesota Opera

Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities

National Loon Center

Wallin Education Partners

Cookie Cart

National Youth Leadership Council

World Without Genocide


Neighborhood House

The Dwelling Place


Carmen Pampa Fund Cars for Neighbors ChildFund International Children's HeartLink Children's Law Center of Minnesota Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County


Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


Permit #1743 St. Paul, MN

1915 Highway 36 W, Ste. 133 Roseville, MN 55113 651-224-7030

Interested in receiving The Smart Giver electronically? Contact our office at 651-224-7030, or visit our website at to join our E-Newsletter list.

THE SMART GIVER [continued from page 1] • Indicators of credibility (like a membership badge from their local Council of Nonprofits, Mission Guardian, or GuideStar profile)

They have completed their required legal filings. The Council’s Legal Compliance Accountability Standard® asks nonprofits to comply with relevant federal and state laws. Required filings can vary, so when researching a new nonprofit, start by looking for: • A 990 with the IRS (although they can only file their 990 once they receive their tax-exempt status and complete their first year of operations) • An active corporate registration in their state • An active charitable registration in their state (if it's required) Giving to a new nonprofit might feel like a risk. Sometimes it's the best kind of gift you can make – an


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investment in an organization’s future! Speaking of an organization’s future, you can help guide them toward building a strong and accountable nonprofit from the get-go by referring them to Charities Review Council. Together, we can support our favorite nonprofit causes as they grow into long-standing organizations focused on doing community good. Need sample language to help you get started with the referral? Reach out to the Council using the contact info above!

Written by Jess Birken Council Board Member Birken Law Office