News & Updates

Bridging to Impact in 2024: GroundBreak’s Inaugural Executive Council and Temporary Operating Infrastructure

by | Mar 11, 2024

Learn how GroundBreak is updating its governance and operations to achieve its ambitious agenda

Last fall, the GroundBreak Coalition shared its plan for building a durable coalition structure that can flow capital at scale, through deep collaboration across philanthropic, private, public, and nonprofit organizations. Today, GroundBreak is pleased to announce its first inaugural Executive Council and an enhanced project team that will support GroundBreak’s ambitious goals and increase opportunities for shared leadership during the remainder of the coalition’s design and development phase.

Our Work in 2024

This year, GroundBreak is focused on four key areas of work:

Building the Financial System: We are developing and implementing GroundBreak’s grant, guarantee, and low-cost, patient capital pools as well as GroundBreak-aligned bank loans.

Governance & operations: We are implementing the governance infrastructure developed in 2023 to support the ongoing success of GroundBreak. This includes establishing the Executive Council and GroundBreak’s Implementation Teams.

Coalition engagement: We are committed to keeping stakeholders from across the coalition informed and involved, which includes providing ongoing, audience-specific content and opportunities for input.

Communications & public affairs: We will dedicate additional capacity to sharing the GroundBreak story, building public sector partnerships, and communicating information about financial tools, products, and impact.

Executing these priorities will contribute to our most important outcomes: removing barriers to capital so more homeowners, entrepreneurs, and commercial developers can achieve their aspirations in MSP, regardless of their race or background. To accelerate our progress, we are building GroundBreak’s governance infrastructure and enhancing our project team.

Our Process and Emerging Governance Structure

In September 2023, a working group of coalition leaders developed a governance structure for GroundBreak that provides the breadth of leadership, expertise, organization, and collaboration it will take to aggregate and flow over $5 billion in capital to local wealth-builders. Key elements of the governance structure include:

  • Executive Council
    • Who they are: Private, public, philanthropic, nonprofit, and community leaders.
    • What they do: The executive committee is responsible for fiduciary, strategic, and generative leadership of the coalition and coalition outcomes. They will serve in a role similar to a board of directors.
    • Key things to know: The inaugural Executive Council was established through a governance working group process that began last year and included nearly 60 nominations. The Executive Council will work closely with Implementation Teams and eventually will be supported by a staffed backbone function, ensuring strong coalition operations. Until the council determines the coalition’s permanent structure, the GroundBreak project team performs the backbone function.
  • Implementation Teams
    • Who they are: Community-based and technical experts working in proximity to GroundBreak’s focus areas (homeownership, entrepreneurship, commercial development, and rental housing).
    • What they do: Implementation Teams will be responsible for strategy refinement, execution, and results management to ensure Financial Tools & Products are working and capital is flowing smoothly in each focus area. Implementation Teams will set annual strategies, align efforts across sectors and institutions, and monitor outcomes in their respective goal areas.
    • Key things to know: Implementation Teams will select the approved partners (nonprofits, CDFIs, and financial institutions) who can access and deploy capital through GroundBreak’s financial products and tools, because we believe that those closest to the issues are best to make decisions. Implementation Teams will be built out the first half of 2024.
  • Leadership Council
    • Who they are: A larger body of civic, corporate, and community leaders.
    • What they do:  Provide insights and advice to GroundBreak, remove systemic barriers, effect change within their institutions, and serve as ambassadors and partnership builders for GroundBreak.
    • Key thing to know: This is a body similar to GroundBreak’s Steering Committee that helped the coalition launch in 2022.

These elements of governance intersect with two additional components of GroundBreak’s anticipated structure: (1) managers charged with administering the grant, guarantee, and low-cost patient capital pools and (2) a staffed backbone function that will support coalition members in operationalizing GroundBreak’s strategies.

In 2024, the Executive Council will be engaging with these and other important questions about how to structure and staff GroundBreak for long-term impact. Until then, we have put in place expanded, temporary infrastructure to shepherd the coalition through the remainder of its design and development phase (approximately 18-24 months). This will allow us to get right to work building products and deploying resources directly to aspiring homeowners, commercial developers, entrepreneurs, and wealth builders. Below, we share more about GroundBreak’s inaugural infrastructure and expanded project team.

 

GroundBreak’s Governance and Operations Structure

The Inaugural Executive Council

Tonya Allen

Tonya Allen

President, McKnight Foundation
Susan Bass Roberts

Susan Bass Roberts

President, Pohlad Family Foundation
Tawanna Black

Tawanna Black

Founder & CEO, Center for Economic Inclusion
Jen Ford Reedy

Jen Ford Reedy

President, Bush Foundation
Peter Frosch

Peter Frosch

CEO, GreaterMSP
Darrel German

Darrel German

Senior Vice President & Minnesota Regional President, Huntington Bank
Suzette Huovinen

Suzette Huovinen

Senior Vice President, Securian Financial AND President & CEO, Securian Asset Management
Trista Martinson

Trista Martinson

Board Chair, Ramsey County
Adair Mosley

Adair Mosley

CEO, African American Leadership Forum
Tim Welsh

Tim Welsh

Vice Chair, Consumer and Business Banking, U.S. Bank
Jim Zappa

Jim Zappa

Executive Vice President and General Counsel (retired), CHS

The Executive Council anticipates adding end-users and possibly ex officio state officials to its ranks as critical and important voices after it navigates any perceived or real conflict of interests related to accessing GroundBreak-facilitated capital. Any additions to the Executive Council will be shared publicly and transparently.

The Executive Council will be responsible for ensuring GroundBreak’s plans, developed through an intensive, 6-month community design process with over 170 community members in 2022, are implemented and successful. The Executive Council will be supported by a broader Leadership Council, project team, and Implementation Teams focused on building out systems to flow capital. Resources will be deployed to individuals through approved partners including nonprofits, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and financial institutions. Read Executive Council member bios to learn more about them.

 

Bridging to Impact with GroundBreak’s New Project Director and Expanded Project Team

To hit the ground faster, GroundBreak is expanding our project team to lead the remainder of the design, development, and early implementation efforts while the Executive Council makes decisions about GroundBreak’s long-term structure and staffing.

Dondi Edwards

Dondi Edwards

A critical part of this expansion is the addition of Dondi Edwards, a founding coalition member, stepping into a new role as GroundBreak Project Director. In this capacity, Dondi will help GroundBreak fully establish the infrastructure it needs to operate as an independent and durable coalition. With previous experience serving on GroundBreak’s Steering Committee (now Leadership Council) and as co-chair of GroundBreak’s Homeownership Work Group, Dondi brings deep knowledge and is ready to get straight to work. He boasts a strong track record in strategy and leadership roles with corporate and financial institutions, with a focus on closing the racial wealth gap. In his most recent position with Wells Fargo, Dondi served as the Senior Vice President for Economic Growth and Development within the Diverse Segments function of the bank’s Home Lending division. In that role, he implemented a strategic plan that drove alignment between the bank’s broad, operational capabilities and external public, private, and non-profit initiatives. Read Dondi’s bio to learn more. Dondi can be reached at dedwards@groundbreakcoalition.org.

Other new members of the project team also include Marcus Owens, a veteran community, corporate, and nonprofit leader who is helping establish Implementation Teams and Ryan Petersen, who is leading fundraising and investor relations. In the coming weeks, GroundBreak anticipates adding additional capacity to partner with Marcus on implementation teams, integrate climate finance into GroundBreak, and enhance communications. New project staff will work closely with GroundBreak’s existing project team which includes senior advisor Ben Hecht, consultants Ellen Ward, Colleen Ebinger, and Kenza Hadj-Moussa and the team at Imagine Deliver. Read project team bios to learn more about them. Erin Imon Gavin, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the McKnight Foundation, will continue to partner closely with the project team.

 

The Project Team

Munira Ahmed

Munira Ahmed

Imagine Deliver, Coalition Engagement
Heidi Dodd

Heidi Dodd

Petersen ConsultANTS, Fundraising & INVESTOR RELATIONS
Kate Downing Khaled

Kate Downing Khaled

Imagine Deliver, Coalition Engagement & Strategic Advising
Colleen Ebinger

Colleen Ebinger

Impact Strategies, Financial Systems, Tools & Products
Kenza Hadj-Moussa

Kenza Hadj-Moussa

O’Connell Consulting, Public Affairs
Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht

McKnight Foundation, Senior Advisor
Amina Mohamed

Amina Mohamed

Imagine Deliver, Coalition Engagement
Taqee Khaled

Taqee Khaled

Imagine Deliver, Coalition Engagement & Strategic Advising
Marcus Owens

Marcus Owens

Nawe Partners, Implementation Teams
Ryan Petersen

Ryan Petersen

Petersen Consultants, Fundraising & INVESTOR RELATIONS
Ellen Ward

Ellen Ward

Independent Consultant, Financial Systems, Tools & Products
Johnna White

Johnna White

Imagine Deliver, Coalition Engagement

Looking Ahead

Taken together, the different parts of this governance and interim operations structure add up to a powerful whole. As we launch the executive council, begin building the Implementation Teams, and invest in local leadership to shepherd GroundBreak to its permanent structure, we are committed to leveraging our enhanced governance and operations infrastructure to create more opportunities for partners to plug in and share their skills, expertise, and lived experiences. As always, we welcome your questions, insights, and feedback. Please do not hesitate to reach out: info@groundbreakcoalition.org.

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