Who We Are
Families are the heart of Minnesota communities and are the key indicator of wellbeing in our state.
Sustainable access to food is not only a right but also imperative for health and well-being.
Every young person carries the capacity for “genius,” however differently abled.
Communities do not need to be “saved,” but rather require sustainable and equitable access to resources and opportunities to flourish.
Every community member is an asset and plays a critical role in the development and collaborative process of realizing the collective vision.
Racial, economic and geographic disparities in Minnesota demand meaningful action with measurable outcomes.
Youth deserve safe, nurturing spaces to grow, cultivate skills for self-actualization, and develop into 21st-century global citizens.
Our role is to operationalize equity and justice in collaboration with Minnesota communities.
GMCC must be responsive, not prescriptive and able to adapt to the ever changing landscape of circumstance, opportunity and need.
Systemic inequities should not determine a community or person’s quality of life.
Our Origin Story
GMCC (Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches) was founded in 1905 as a faith-based initiative to serve the community. For 115 years, we have fulfilled our mission of “uniting people of faith, serving people in need,” through a range of initiatives that have included advocacy and education around equity and poverty; volunteerism and service learning; mentoring and youth development; support services for seniors; hunger-relief; and bringing people together to strengthen families and communities.
Today, GMCC embraces our origin story through an intercultural, interfaith approach that intentionally welcomes all belief communities in our work.
GMCC is an entrepreneurial organization that partners with communities most impacted by current challenges, providing an opportunity to co-design and craft responses with local stakeholders. We bring forth an equitable structure for collaboration and power-sharing. We work with communities and in spaces where we can add value, in particular in the areas of food, youth, and well-being.
Our work is guided by the following principles:
1. Focusing on the social determinants of health and well-being
2. Supporting co-design and power-sharing within communities
3. Maintaining an asset-orientation approach
4. Centering action and impact
Community Voice and Expertise
GMCC’s future work will be meticulously guided by communities with the intent of cultivating long-term and sustainable homegrown solutions. Instead of focusing on addressing specific, isolated issues, we will work on empowering local stakeholders and creating shared power structures. As an organization, we recognize that we do not have all the answers. We will, therefore, center lived experiences in our projects to better understand the urgency of challenges people face.
Although a lot of great work is being done in Minnesota, it continues to be siloed. An emerging priority at GMCC is to engage communities as experts to disrupt structural disparities that impede their ability to thrive, and compensate them as such. GMCC will continue to act as an infrastructure and capacity-building incubator, weaving networks and connecting local stakeholders already on the frontlines. The trust and relationships that we have built over the past 115 years will enable us to deepen our impact and expand our reach.
“We are small, but large in heart.” – Gloria J. Lewis, retired CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters MN, and former GMCC Board Member
Our Collaborative Team
Director of Operations
Initiative Design and Implementation
Logistics and Data Coordinator
Human-Centered Design Expert
Board of Directors
Bruce A. Ensrud, Board Chair
Wealth Advisor and Founding Partner
Parable Wealth Partners
John M. Ratelle, Treasurer
Marsh & McLennan Companies
E. Selemon Asfaw
Chief Financial Officer
OptumHealth Care Solutions and Health Services
Henriette Ngo Bissoy
L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion School
Area Vice President Segment Sales Leader
Vice President of Information Technology
Norwest Equity Partners (NEP)
Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
R.J. Howard & Associates, LLC
Dr. Nerita Hughes
Dean of Business, Technology, Career and Workforce Development
North Hennepin Community College
Rev. William B. MacLean
Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Vice President of Advancement