The Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF) exists to support financially the spiritual, educational, and social needs of our Catholic community. CCF’s grants team provides vital support for this mission.
“As our grantmaking has grown over the years, we’ve prioritized expanding our grants team to meet demand,” says CCF President Anne Cullen Miller. “Building on our rich history, today we have a team of smart, compassionate professionals whose Catholic identity drives decision making and donor engagement.”
Meg Payne Nelson
Vice President of Impact
Meg came to CCF from a firm that provides technology consulting to community foundations. She has an academic background in theology and has held a variety of volunteer and leadership positions at her family’s parish and Catholic school. Meg leverages her diverse experiences to oversee CCF’s grants team.
Over her last seven years at CCF, Meg has worked to professionalize and elevate grant programs over which CCF has discretion — about 10 percent of total grant dollars. These grants come from funds that donors have established to serve designated needs or causes in the community rather than naming specific organizations as beneficiaries. Meg has sought to incorporate community-informed decision-making practices for these CCF-directed grants. This approach uses the insight of stakeholders and advisory committees to guide implementation strategies for greatest impact while honoring donor intent.
Jon Kleist, M.A.
Grants Program Associate
Jon Kleist is the newest member of the grants team, having joined in 2021. With an academic background in ethics and professional experience in Catholic schools and philanthropy, Jon has made significant contributions to improve the process by which CCF solicits grant inquiries and applications from our Catholic community, further enhancing CCF-directed grantmaking. He also provides broad support to the grants team. He screens new charity recommendations, collects and presents grant inquiries and applications, conducts site visits, issues grant notifications, and manages the process of outcome reporting to determine the impact of individual grants and overall programs. Jon also manages CCF’s efforts to inspire donor advisors, highlighting key needs in the community on CCF’s website and donor portal.
Jules is the engine behind the distribution of CCF’s $17+ million in annual grants. As the number of donor advised funds has grown over Jules’ 16 years with CCF, so has the number of grants made from those funds. Jules now oversees the distribution of more than 3,000 individual grants each year — 75 percent of which are from donor advised funds. For each grant recommendation from a donor advised fund, Jules must verify with the donor the organization, grant amount, and purpose; record it in CCF’s database; print the check and cover letter; and get them into envelopes and out the door. Many grants also require customized handling, and others need to be flagged for subsequent outcome reporting. Jules diligently manages the process all the way through. On behalf of CCF, Jules also manages the annual distribution of millions of dollars of grants from the individual and institutional endowments that are fully donor-directed. Most importantly, Jules offers compassionate service to the many donors she serves.