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These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

R. T. Rybak, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation
September 30, 2016

Minneapolis Foundation to play stronger role in public policy


According to R.T. Rybak, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, the 101-year-old foundation played a large role in helping develop Minnesota's civic infrastructure-perhaps the largest role as an institution. That civic infrastructure has gotten us a long way, he says, although it has never been driven or led by the state's political community. He contends that the civic infrastructure has been stronger than the political parties and an easier place to convene and solve problems.

But he believes our civic infrastructure is not well situated for the very complex issues of race and equity. He believes the infrastructure and the participants are nowhere near what they need to be. If we want the benefits of living in this community-among them, low unemployment and high educational attainment-to be available to everyone, we must have a dramatic rethinking of how engagement works, he says.

Rybak stresses that the Minneapolis Foundation intends to more dramatically assert its role as a community foundation by creating more convening opportunities and stepping into public policy. He says convening is an end in itself to a certain degree, since it's so important to keep the lines of communication open across wide areas. But convening, he admits, does not often lead to a certain proposal or solution.

To help stimulate quality proposals for change, Rybak says that as a community foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation would be open to helping bring back the type of nonpartisan, non-special-interest study process that, in the past, gave deep study and analysis to an issue and came up with specific, actionable proposals for change. And he finds it an interesting idea for a foundation or a group of foundations to take a more aggressive approach to motivating organizations to use that type of approach in order to develop quality proposals for solving community problems.

For the complete interview summary see: link to interview

Individual Responses:

Mark Ritchie--Another great Civic Caucus interview - thanks again.

Leslie Davis--When Rybak left the Mayor's office the schools were below par and the streets were a holey mess, and assorted groups, religious and otherwise, had contempt for each other.

Now he comes along and makes statements that are not understandable, and you expect to change things. To what? How? When? Where's the timetable? Read this piece of nothing,

"We've gotten a long, long way with the civic infrastructure we have," Rybak declared. "But for us to really, fully have an asset-based way of looking at diverse cultures, we're going to have to pivot these institutions to be more culturally rich."

Rybak is basically a sloganeer who spouts gibberish and accomplishes nothing. If in his current position there is any success it will be in spite of  him, not because of him. Please interpret this piece of gibberish.

"I feel pretty good about the civic infrastructure continuing to evolve in some ways," Rybak said.

Wayne Jennings--Rybak brings much experience and knowledge to his position with an emphasis on collaboration. As he spoke of the education challenge, I couldn’t help thinking that we are mistaken about most approaches to equity issues because we keep trying to shape kids. Unfortunately, that doesn’t call upon the internal motivations and drives captured in a quote by Carol Black:  "…people today do not even know what children are actually like. They only know what children are like in schools."

Ray Ayotte-- Good paper


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The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman




The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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