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Conference Speaker Biography

President and CEO
The Minneapolis Foundation

Emmett D. Carson is president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, one of the largest, oldest and most complex community foundations in the country. He oversees the Foundation's grantmaking, loan making, communications, fund development and investment management activities. As spokesperson, he is responsible for developing collaborative relationships with all sectors and segments of the community, as well as with other organizations nationwide. Since his arrival in 1994, the Minneapolis Foundation has embarked on a 10-year, $20 million initiative to improve the lives of children and families in poverty, raised record annual gifts ($46 million in fiscal year 1999) and increased total assets under management from $186 million to over $400 million.

Dr. Carson came to the Minneapolis Foundation from the Ford Foundation in New York where he was a program officer, first in the area of social justice and then in governance and public policy. He managed a $10 million grantmaking budget as part of his responsibilities for domestic and international support of community foundations and the nonprofit sector.

Prior to his work with the Ford Foundation, he served as project director of the Study on Black Philanthropy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., where he designed and directed the first national study of the charitable giving and volunteer behavior of black and white Americans. Dr. Carson has received numerous awards and fellowships, and was named one of the top 50 most powerful and influential people in the nonprofit sector by The Nonprofit Times in 1998.

Among his many board memberships, he is a member of the board of the Council on Foundations, an overseer of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a member of the advisory committee of The Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. In Minnesota, he serves as a director of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, a governor of Eleven Who Care and a trustee of Minnesota Meeting.

A native of Chicago, Emmett Carson received a Phi Beta Kappa B.A. in economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and MPA and PhD degrees in public and international affairs from Princeton University. He is author of several books and dozens of articles on American philanthropy.

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