Month: September 2015

Now Hiring: Donor Development Associate

Posted September 24, 2015

Urban Roots is seeking a full-time Donor Development Associate to coordinate and lead individual donor development and fundraising strategies and activities that increase our donor engagement, recognition and stewardship. A key aim is to increase the number of new donors and deepen the relationships with current donors and constituents. The DDA will work closely with the Executive Director, Program Director, and program staff and with the Fundraising Committee and Event Committee of the Board of Directors and plays an integral role in implementing the Strategic Fundraising Plan. An additional goal of the position is to raise the profile and public awareness of Urban Roots through regular, effective communications, updated collateral materials and relationships with media and other outlets. The DDA is expected to develop and maintain a thorough knowledge of Urban Roots mission, values, programs, impact and stories.

Position Duties and Responsibilities:

Fundraising and Donor Development:

• Develop annual goals and creative and innovative strategies in individual donor development that integrate the overall strategies and goals of the organization.
• Develop and maintain thorough knowledge of current donors and donor base and develop plans to retain current donors, and increase those donations where possible.
• Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward new donors by effectively moving donor prospects through this giving cycle.
• Develop and implement strategies that will excite, incentivize and engage donors in Urban Roots activities and events.
• Enter and maintain confidential donor information into the database, keep records up to date, and prepare and distribute regular reports.
• Lead and implement fundraising campaigns including Annual Fundraising Dinner, other events, direct appeals, crowd sourcing, etc.
• Engage the board in fundraising activities.
• Assist with other fundraising activities as requested.

Communications and Community outreach:

• Represent Urban Roots at community events and activities as needed.
• Communicate with media and build media relationships; write and distribute press releases or articles as needed.
• Work with staff to develop and update marketing materials, brochures, cards, newsletters, participant stories, ‘case for support’ and others as needed.
• Manage website, facebook page, twitter account and write content as needed (with program, staff, board and organizational information & photos).
• Oversee & write social media content & function (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other tools as identified).
• Create and/or disseminate mass emails as needed.


• Develop annual fundraising budget.
• Active participation in the Fundraising Committee of the Board.
• Active participation in staff meetings and board meetings as requested.
• Identify and participate in professional development activities.
• Maintain up-to-date knowledge in relevant professional fields of nonprofit fundraising, youth development, and food, urban agriculture and conservation.
• Coordinate with interns and volunteers as needed.
• Assist Executive Director as needed and requested.


• Bachelors degree in a relevant field, or 5 years relevant experience.
• At least 3 years of relevant fundraising experience.
• Excellent inter-personal and relationship-building skills.
• Knowledge and experience in non-profit fundraising work, and specifically individual giving strategies and campaigns, tools and resources, and ambition to learn more.
• Computer proficiency in WORD, Excel and PowerPoint.
• Ability to use database software and donor management or fundraising software.
• Experience and proficiency with social media and web software.
• Excellent written and verbal communications skills, and ability to represent Urban Roots to a variety of audiences.
• Experience with leading fundraising events, campaigns, direct appeals and individual donor development.
• Project Management experience, with a proven ability to communicate and complete work effectively and efficiently, goal oriented and self-motivated.
• Experience and ability to work both independently and collaboratively with other staff and in teams or committees.
• Positive attitude & strong work ethic, with enthusiasm for the mission of Urban Roots
• Occasional evening or weekend work is expected.

Additional Information: Salary is commensurate with experience. This position qualifies for full benefits under the personnel policy of Urban Roots.

Any offer of employment is contingent on successful completion and passing of a background check.

Urban Roots recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in supporting and advancing the organization mission, and in enriching the experiences of its employees, board members, volunteers, supporters, partners and program participants and beneficiaries, and in supporting and advancing the organization mission. Urban Roots is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds. Urban Roots is an equal opportunity employer. Urban Roots provides equal access to and opportunity in its employment, programs, and facilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identification or expression.

How to Apply: Interested candidates should send their resume and a cover letter explaining why they are qualified for this specific position to: Development Associate Position at We will request contact information for 3 references from the short-listed candidates.

Deadline for Applications: By 3:00 pm on Friday, October 9, 2015


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Newest Addition has Our Youth Interns Buzzing

This summer our staff increased by the thousands! Thousands of bees, that is.

Through a partnership with Pollinate MN and an Innovation Grant from Sprockets, we were able to introduce two honey bee hives to our garden space around the Urban Roots office and demonstration site. Each hive houses around 50,000 bees! Our bees have been busy all summer pollinating our crops and other flowers in the area, all while making close to 100 pounds of honey, which they’ll need to make it through our cold winter months.

Throughout the summer, our youth interns learned a lot about honey bees. They each had the chance to put on a bee suit and open up the hives to see what goes on inside those buzzing boxes.

St. Paul Parks and Recreation’s EcoRanger Academy and YouthCare’s Youth LEAD program also got a chance to come visit our site and learn about the bees.

The hives have been a great addition to Urban Roots, providing another hands on opportunity for education and building connections to the natural world, as well as providing benefits to all the gardens in the neighborhood!



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Water, Trees & Bees: Citizen Science

Urban Roots Conservation youth interns have been busy bees this summer collecting data for a variety of citizen science projects. Using a range of data collecting techniques, the youth were able to contribute to studies examining water quality, trees and bees!

The University of Minnesota Extension’s Wasp Watchers Program, which collects data for scientists monitoring the spread of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, was one of the great learning experiences for youth interns. The project involved observation of a ground nesting solitary wasp called the Smokey Winged Beatle Bandit (Cerceris fumipennis). This wasp hunts the wood-boring beetles, captures and paralyzes them, and returns to its ant-like nest to feed the beetle to its larva. If Emerald Ash Borer is within a one-mile radius of the nest, there is a good chance the wasp will catch it, informing observers of the beetle’s proximity. Youth observed the wasp’s nests found in unused ball fields, waited for them to return with a captured beetle, then netted the wasp and collected the beetle for lab identification!

Making good use of the insect nets, we also surveyed for bumblebees at our worksites and found three different species; the two spotted, black and gold, and common eastern bumblebee.

Throughout the summer, interns also participated in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Stream Monitoring Program. Youth evaluated water quality by making qualitative observations on how the stream looked, measuring water temperature, and then measuring water clarity using a tool called a secchi tube.

The interns learned so much while contributing to scientific research and enjoyed the break from pulling invasive plant material!

Gao Sheng using net

Isaiah with Beetle

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Success at the State Fair's Eco Experience

Though the great Minnesota get-together has concluded another season, our youth are still talking about their time spent with Urban Roots at the Eco Experience. The Eco Experience is a huge exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, filled with hands-on activities, demonstrations and resources.

Youth interns and staff set up the Urban Roots booth just outside of the Eco Experience building with a model of how rain gardens work. While we were there, our youth interns engaged with over a hundred fair visitors informing them of how rain gardens work and why it is important in an urban water cycle!

Our interns did an awesome job of demonstrating the skills and knowledge they had developed over the summer session at Urban Roots. It wasn’t all work for the youth though! They also got a chance to explore the fair, getting cookies and cotton candy, and check out the oddity that is seed art as well as the different species of fish Minnesota has to offer.


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We're Back! Mill City Farmers Market Dates

No one is more excited than us to be back at the Mill City Farmers Market! Our market crew this season will be run by Market Garden program staff: Julie, Summer and Jessica. The market youth crew will be led by our Market Crew Lead, Imogene, and youth interns: Krystal, Nuichi, Tony and Haset. Stop by our stand to pick up some fresh, youth grown produce, chat with our amazing interns and staff and browse around a vibrant market in a wonderful setting. Our booth’s return was already featured in the Mill City Times!

Our booth, located on the Chicago Mall in booth 103, will feature different items each week, but will include delicious, youth-grown produce such as: kale, swiss chard, beets, carrots, shallots, summer squash, shishito peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, radishes, potatoes, leeks, turnips, asian greens, salad mix, arugula, celeriac, fennel, a variety of herbs such as cilantro, parsley, lemongrass, thyme, mint and more.

We hope to see you there!

Market Garden Produce Mark Your Calendars
Market hours: 8am-1pm

September 12
September 19
September 26
October 3
October 10
October 17

Mill City Farmers Market, 704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401Urban Roots Produce

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Conservation GrowCrew Management Plan

Urban Roots Conservation GrowCrew (returning interns) had a busy summer doing high-level natural resource work, creating a management plan for a small patch of land at the Willowbrook Park near the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Central Region Headquarters.

managment plan

Our youth interns were tasked with developing a 5-year plan to convert a weedy patch into a more welcoming and natural/native environment. The youth inventoried the site, identified existing plant material and researched the best methods for removal of the invasive species. They then researched what ecosystem and what plant material would best fit the existing environment. Along the way, youth interns debated the best course of action, reached a consensus and created a plan that they presented at a regional managers meeting.

Our partner at the DNR writes:

You can tell your crew that they completely wowed the Regional Managers today. Congratulations. Everyone was so impressed with the work and the presentation skills of the group. By far, your presentation was a highlight of a year’s worth of restoration management meetings.”

We look forward to helping roll out phase one of the plan!managment map
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