Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rewards of long-term mentoring

Today there was an inspiring article in the StarTribune, “Creating the ties that bind”. It was a great reminder of the power of long-term mentoring. To really make a real difference in the life of another, and in turn our own, we need to make a significant investment of ourselves. Hats off to Gayle and Susan who invested themselves for the past 28 years in the lives of Tara and Debra. The fruits of their giving are abundant. And as is often the case through giving they received even more in return!

There are hundreds of young people eagerly awaiting mentors, especially boys, many who have been waiting well over a year to have a special adult friend of their own. A wide array of mentoring opportunities for individuals, couples and families are available. Learn more about a mentoring program that would be right for you through the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Major gifts to charity

A group of billionaires from around ghe world gathered in New York to discuss charitable giving. Investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates challenged the group to give away at least 50% of their wealth. Mr. Buffet has promised to give to charity 99% of his assets either during his life time or at the time of his death. You can read more about this extraordinary challenge at CNBC.

Mr. Buffett has often stated that children shouldn't get billions just for winning the birth lottery. I would suggest that children should also not be destined to a life of poverty by losing the birth lottery. Gifts given to Kinship help children coming from disadvantaged circumstances to have a better chance of realizing their God given potential. Your gift to Kinship will provide hope and encouragement to kids in need of additional adult support and guidance. To make a gift online simply visit

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Twin Cities volunteers rock

Once again the Twin Cities reported the highest rate of volunteerism of all urban areas in the US, as surveyed by the Corporation of National and Community Service. We had a 37% rate of people volunteering, with an average of 44 volunteer hours/year per Capita.

As a nation in 2009, 63.4 million of us volunteered to help their communities.
This is an additional 1.6 million volunteers compared to 2008, making 2009 the largest single-year increase in the number of volunteers since 2003. Volunteers also provided 8.1 billion hours of service in 2009, which has an estimated dollar value of $169 billion.

A pretty impressive rate of volunteerism during this difficult economic downturn.

Let's see if we can get even more of us to volunteer in 2010. One of the great benefits of volunteering is that through giving we in turn are blessed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kinship Builder's Event

Kinship of Greater Minneapolis hosted a spring open house for Builders on Sunday, May 23rd. A tour of the new office space was provided along with an update on program activities. Rev. Ron Sykes, longtime Kinship mentor and ambassador provided a blessing of the new space. Board President, Bruce Ensrud, hosted the event, while Ray Douglas, Builder's Captain, provided an update on the Builder's Club. A brief program update was provided by Margie Edberg, Kinship Co-Director. Builders were also provided a chance to view Kinship's new 7 minute video and updated website, just launched today!

Ray Douglas noted how in his business as an investor he would love to have an investment opportunity like Kinship that could almost guarantee significant annual gains. Thanks to the generosity and dependability of long-term mentors and donors children enrolled in Kinship are able to make significant annual gains year after year in their development.

Staff enjoyed visiting with the Builder's, which included a number of former Board members and program participants. We are especially thankful to donors who make a gift of $300 or more to support the Kinship Builder's program. Being faced with challenging economic times, and having no fees for service Kinship is increasingly dependent upon the generosity of individual donors to support this critical mentoring ministry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Gala great success!

Thanks to all who attended or supported our Spring Gala April 23rd at the Golden Valley Country Club. It was a great evening of fun and fund raising. The gala netted $60,000 to support Kinship mentoring.

The evening included a flavorful Italian buffet, songs by the Metropolitan Boys Choir, bidding on a wide variety of auction items, and presentations from program participants. A seven minute Kinship video was premiered. Sondra Samuels, President of the Peace Foundation reinforced the need for mentoring, especially in areas like North Minneapolis where there are a disproportionate number of children from disadvantaged circumstances.

Steve Peterson, Kinship board member, served as the evening's emcee. Steve reminded all of Kinship's impact on children through mentoring. Being 100% funded though contributions a call to support the ministry was provided. Thanks to generous donors who contributed $20,000 in the form of a challenge match, which was met during the gala!

Event sponsors included the Colonnade Group of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, North West Hennepin Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the Rasmus Law Firm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volunteer Appreciation!

This is national volunteer recognition week, when we take a brief moment to recognize the outstanding activities provided by volunteers that make our world a better place. Our country relies on volunteers for everything from coaching, mentoring, tutoring, visiting shut-ins, cleaning up parks, giving blood to delivering meals on wheels.

Kinship of Greater Minneapolis is privileged to work with hundreds of truly outstanding volunteers who mentor children, serve as ambassadors, help with events, provide guidance and support on the board of directors or committees. Collectively they are making a world of difference in the lives of hundreds of our Kinship kids.

Volunteers are seldom paid; not because they are worthless, but because they are PRICELESS!

Heartfelt thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Volunteers help with Kinship's website overhaul

On March 20th Kinship of Greater Minneapolis will be among 15 other nonprofits receiving a website face lift by a group of volunteers. This will involve a 24 hour all night effort by website experts working with three Kinship staff. The "Nerdery Overnight Website Challenges is being organized by Nerdery Interactive Labs, a division of Sierra Bravo Corp. The makeover is valued at up to $25,000. You can read more about this in an article by Jean Hopfensperger "Geeks offer free all-nighter" in the Star Tribune.

Thanks to Marit, Nancy and Margie on Kinship's staff for pulling an all-nighter with these techies! Word is there will be plenty of free coffee to keep them going. Watch for a new and improved Kinship website coming soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mayor Cory Booker presentation at Westminster Town Hall Forum

Pictured above: Cory Booker, Dan Johnson and Bruce Ensrud, Kinship board president

Kinship was proud to co-sponsor Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey for a public address at the Westminster Town Hall Forum on February 25th. Mayor Booker spoke eloquently of his work to pull together nonprofit, government and corporate groups to reduce violence in Newark. He referenced the value of mentoring youth as one important means of helping young people achieve a better life, especially those with a parent in prison.

One of the radical things Mayor Booker has done is to move into one of the toughest neighborhood in Newark and get to know some of the residents. He's even a mentor! He encouraged all to be active in changing the world. His courageous examples of intervention brought a standing ovation from the forum participants. His talk was broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio on March 2nd and can be heard via their website.

We are thankful for an anonymous donor who helped underwrite the cost of this event. If you would like to help support this effort, please contact Dan Johnson at 612-588-4617.

If you would like to mentor a child in need of an adult friend please contact Kinship today to find out more, 612-588-4655, Without intervention we know that those children of prisoners on Kinship's waiting list are seven times more likely than their peers to enter the correctional system.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Apple does the right thing for kids

I was pleased to read some good news in the business section: Apple scrubs racy programs from iPhone store. A co-president of the company making these applications remarked "It's very hard to go from making a good living to zero".

I dispute his claim that selling applications like “sexy scratch off” qualifies as a "good living", despite earning thousands of dollars a day. On behalf of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles everywhere, way to go Apple! I trust your company will continue to make a good living for your employees by doing the right thing.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kinship on the Move

After 14 wonderful years of being housed at Christ English Lutheran Church, Kinship has moved its main office from the Northside of Minneapolis to the Southside. Our new office is located in the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches’ Center for Urban Service, 1100 E Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407. This is a vibrant, diverse neighborhood, just a block away from the Midtown Global Market.

In addition to the opportunity to work more closely with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, this new office provides a supportive environment and opportunity for all of the staff to have a common work place. Our satellite office staff from Minnehaha Communion Lutheran are also now working in the new location. Kinship of Greater Minneapolis will continue to serve Hennepin and Anoka counties. The office phone numbers will also remain the same.

When you are in the neighborhood, we would love for you to stop in and see our new digs!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Northside Achievement Zone

Did you know that in 1973 there were 300,000 Americans in prison, while today there are 3.4 million? That is just one of many startling statistics Geoffrey Canada shared to a packed house at the Basilica of St. Mary on January 15th. He noted that it costs on average $37-40,000 a year to lock someone up in prison. And then when they come out after 10 years they often haven't gained one thing in order to successfully contribute to society. Yet, if we spend $18,000 on education people are screaming. This doesn't seem to make economic sense does it?

Mr. Canada is founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, which is serving as a model for the Northside Achievement Zone. Kinship of Greater Minneapolis has joined with Bolder Options and Big Brothers/Sisters of the Twin Cities to bring mentors for kids to a high need area of North Minneapolis. Kinship is also working to find mentors for children of prisoners, who without intervention are seven times more likely than their peers to enter the correctional system. Currently we have about 50 kids on our waiting list who have a parent in prison and who would love to have a Kinship friend.

We simply can't afford to the current cradle to prison pipeline that exits. You can learn more about this national crisis from a report provided by the Children's Defense Fund. Thanks to all who are helping to break this tragic cycle of incarceration.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

President Obama proclaims January as National Mentoring Month

Recognizing the value of mentoring, President Obama has proclaimed January as national mentoring month. His proclamation is available at the National Mentoring Center's website. President Obama notes "Mentors are building a brighter future for our Nation by helping our children grow into productive, engaged, and responsible adults."

Kinship is working with numerous churches, media outlets and others to get the word out about the value of mentoring and the opportunity to befriend one of the 150 kids currently awaiting Kinship friends.

Interested in helping promote this recruitment effort? Please contact Kinship's Director of Recruitment and Communications, Nancy Torrison,

Monday, January 4, 2010

The danger of a single story

Chimamanda Adichie, a story teller and author from Nigeria, provides a insightful presentation on the danger of having a single impression/story of people of other nations, economic conditions and cultures. This 19 minute video is available for viewing on the internet from

Ms. Adichie gives us a great reminder of the value of understanding others and avoiding the simplicity of stereotypes. Her story reminds us to reconsider our assumptions of those whom we may pity.

One of the valuable benefits of Kinship is the understanding that comes from meeting and getting to know people of different cultures, ages, and locations. I've often heard from mentors, parents and children on how blessed they have been as a result of getting to know their friends in Kinship and their stories. Isn't it great when through getting to know others our perceptions can change from "those poor children" to "our wonderful, capable children"?

In this New Year let's all work to listen more closely to the stories of others.