News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Trista Harris: Setting a Bigger Table

Trista Harris, 38
Minnesota Council on Foundations

The skills required to lead a membership association call to mind the story of Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Trista Harris gets it just right.

Trista leads the Minnesota Council of Foundations with skill and artistry. She brings a futurist lens to the work, honoring legacy while always inviting, encouraging, and equipping our community of grant makers to reimagine and reposition ourselves for relevance and impact in the years to come. She respectfully and persistently asks, "Who isn’t at the table?" And she helps expand, reshape, or create more diverse and inclusive tables.

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One of the council’s most inventive programs is the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship, which places high-potential individuals from underrepresented communities with host foundations for three-year assignments. The program is building a leadership pipeline that will benefit our sector and our state for many years to come.

Under Trista’s leadership, the council has expanded its public-policy efforts, both in support of individual member capacity and in strengthening our collective voice on issues that foster a more prosperous, inclusive, and equitable state. Co-author of the book How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, she is a rock star working across generations and across diverse communities to shape the future of philanthropy.

Ms. Wolford is president of the McKnight Foundation, a family foundation in Minneapolis.