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The New Philanthropists – Kim Nelson

By Kim Nelson
December 6, 2016
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I became a YWCA Minneapolis donor because I believe in the mission of empowering girls and women and eliminating racism. I became convinced that sharing of my time, talent and training was ultimately not enough, I needed to put financial skin in the game to help YWCA Minneapolis pursue its mission.

As a woman of color raising two teenage girls, I want them to grow up understanding that we need to stand for social justice and create the change we want to see in this world. YWCA Minneapolis provides concrete programming, such as the It’s Time To Talk: Forums on RaceTM luncheon and the Girls Inc. program that advance this cause.

Kim’s Q&A with YWCA Minneapolis

How long, and in what ways, have you been involved with YWCA Minneapolis?

I first became affiliated with YWCA Minneapolis in 1997 when I incorporated my book club linking black professional women with black middle school girls into the YWCA Discovery Leadership program. I was later asked to serve on the planning committee for YWCA Minneapolis’ first racial dialogue, It’s Time to Talk luncheon, and ended up bringing General Mills in as the underwriting sponsor. I then served two consecutive terms on the YWCA board, including two years as Board President. Most recently, I was a member of the Power to SoarTM campaign committee.

As a yearly attendee of It’s Time to Talk, how do you engage your colleagues and friends to join your table?

I always want to find new people to participate in the dialogue so that it’s not the same old voices engaging each year.

Who have been the leaders and mentors in your life’s journey? Why and how have they affected you?

My father has been my most powerful role model and mentor. He became an officer in the Air Force at a time when Truman was integrating the military and became a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. He then went on to become a high school teacher in public schools. He is the most positive, optimistic person I know. His deep, abiding faith and his commitment to helping others has always inspired me to try to make a difference in the world.

What do you want your gifts to accomplish? Why is that important to you?

I want my contribution to allow YWCA Minneapolis to continue to provide high- quality services to underserved populations. For many people, YWCA Minneapolis is the only lifeline in their lives, and I want it to be a strong one.

What would you like to pass on to the next generation, e.g., your children, your nieces and nephews, other children?

I want the next generation to understand that many sacrificed for the opportunities they now enjoy, and that they have a responsibility to continue to advance racial justice for future generations.

Would you like to share anything else with our readers?

YWCA Minneapolis is an extraordinary institution focused on what I believe is the defining issue in America, ensuring that the pledge of freedom and justice for all is fulfilled.