letterhead-electronic-header 11.17.14

Hello Friends,

Who can believe it has been a whole year since our last update?! Certainly not us MCFGers--we are all still trying to wrap our minds around how much work our stomachs are about to do.

2017 has been a whirlwind for so many of us, and it has been a bit of a sea-saw--there have been a lot of rough waters to navigate, and a lot of bright lights to guide us in our long journey to support social change and support healthy communities. As we start preparing for time with family and friends to close out the year and celebrate the things we are thankful for, we also want to take a moment to let you know what we've been up to and what is on the horizon for MCFG.


Starting 2017 Off with a March

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Hayley, Kearney, Laura, and Mac at the Women's March in Washington, D.C. Jan. 21st, 2017

We started off the year by getting out of town! The MCFG team spent our staff retreat traveling to New York City for a few days of winter fun in the Big Apple, before joining a busload of NYC friends to head down to the Women's March in Washington, D.C. It was truly incredible to be on Capitol Hill with hundreds of thousands of other people showing up to demonstrate for the rights of women, people of color, people who are trans, LGBTQ, Native Americans and indigenous peoples, and Mother Earth herself. It was crowded, it was nearly impossible to hear and see speakers or updates, and it was fun. On the bus ride back to New York, we started to get word about the sister marches that took place all over the world, learning that over five million people took to the streets in what is now the largest coordinated protest in U.S. history--and are so grateful to have been part of it! We came home from the march so inspired, fired up, and ready to go that Laura began working to address racism in her old neighborhood of Mt. Greenwood, and Mac stepped up to become a Co-Chair of her local Indivisible chapter.


From On the Streets to On the Table

Laura CCHR On the Table Conversation 051717

Laura discusses her parents', and now her own, work in response to Dr. Martin Luther King's call to address racial inequities at the "On the Table" event hosted by Chicago Commission on Human Relations and the Metropolitan Planning Council. May 17, 2017


Keepin' On Keepin' On

While we're thankful for the many moments of inspiration we have encountered this year, we know that 2017 has still been tough, particularly for individuals and communities most directly affected by policies like the Muslim ban, the uncertainty surrounding DACA recipients, and the racism built into the systems our country runs on. As we have, with other advocates and activists, fought these policies, as well as things like the repeated attempts to repeal the ACA, MCFG has found amity and encouragement through our clients, who continue to work towards justice on all levels within the communities they serve.

Lisa Schergen

We had the great pleasure to work with Chicago Women's Health Center this year on a strategic visioning and executive search process. After five years as Director, Jess Kane stepped down in March, and Mac and Laura worked with an awesome search committee to find Lisa Schergen, new Executive Director of CWHC! As a long-time client of CWHC, Mac enjoyed getting to know this incredible organization from a new perspective, and learning from their approaches to facilitating the empowerment of women and trans* people by providing access to health care and health education in a respectful environment where people pay what they can afford.

Meanwhile, Laura got to come back to the CWHC collective where she got her start as a community health worker, doula, and Executive Director. The 12 years she spent in collective meetings in the 80s and 90s made her wonder how she would fit with the organization in 2017: would she spend too much time rehashing the past? Would time spent parsing the meaning of "empowerment" gobble up her consulting hours? How many old, tall tales of the former era would she tell? Fortunately, she found you can go home again--the collective is still one of Laura's happy places and was happy and grateful to have her back.


Mac has spent the year working with Snow City Arts (SCA), an organization which provides arts educations to children and youth in hospitals. Mac has been working with SCA's Teaching Artist Advisors to provide mid-level manager training and leadership coaching for the group and at the individual level. During one of the group coaching session, she even got to experience a code pink (missing child) drill at the hospital! There's no plans to add that to the list of consulting services at MCFG, but working with SCA was so much fun, mid-level manager coaching will definitely be a consulting focus in 2018.


Over the last few years, we have become increasingly involved with projects that support improved behavioral health and primary care integration - another sweet spot for Laura, whose other happy place is all things mind-body wellness. This year MCFG supported the launch of the Behavioral Health-Primary Care Integration Learning Collaborative that is made up of 30+ behavioral health centers and primary care centers contracted with CountyCare, a Medicaid managed care provider in the Chicago area. Community Counseling Centers of Chicago is the lead on this initiative, and keep Laura and Hayley busy organizing learning events - lots of Play-doh, pipe cleaners and slinkies getting carted around - and another reason to facilitate meetings at one of our favorite large group spaces - the Skyline Conference Center at the Lawndale Christian Health Center.


Running Away to Join the Farm

Laura Barn eaves with Hay AOLC Sept 2017

Laura atop her perch in the old barn

Mac Kearney Goats 2 AOLC Sept 2017

Mac and Kearney hang out with their new friend Bernie

Laura, Mac, and Kearney also got to reconnect with past MCFG client Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) to check out their new Angelic Organics Lodge in Caledonia, IL. This new addition allows AOLC to host groups for retreats and classes, and is located across the road from the Angelic Organics farm. The Lodge overlooks Kinnikinnick Creek and can host up to 35 people at a time in dormitory-style lodging. It has a commercially certified kitchen so visitors can prepare fresh farm-to-table meals sourced from the farm, and goats, chickens, and Scottish Highland cows graze on the grounds, so there is plenty of opportunity to make new friends--Mac and Kearney certainly did. We're looking forward to going back--and maybe taking some of you with us!


Food and Drinks: the Foundation of Salon Series 2018

The MCFG Salon Series launched in 2015, bringing together peer cohorts of nonprofit CEOs, Deputy Directors, and Mid-level Managers in a unique, collaborative, and innovative space to learn from each other. Now, as we look to the future, we want to extend this same opportunity to the philanthropic community, offering one 5-session Salon Series for CEO/EDs of foundations, and one 5-session series for Program Officers.

We have been thrilled to host four position-specific cohorts at our space – offering a comfortable setting for cultivating leadership and exploring work/life balance, complete with eating, drinking, talking, and trying out new health and wellness activities. We create an uplifting atmosphere of support among peers where they can share their experiences and skills, discuss the issues and challenges that most greatly affect them in their work, air fears and frustrations, and share strategies for finding and maintaining the work life balance that supports their personal and professional mission.

CEO Salon Series Graduates May 2015

CEO/ED Salon Series Graduates May 2015

We believe that each participant leaves with improved skills as a non-profit professional, new ideas and fresh inspiration, renewed confidence in their life path, and an expanded community of support and shared passion. So, it’s time to let the philanthropic community into our living room, give you a spot on the couch, hand you a drink, and share innovative thinking, safe space for brave conversations, humor to keep things in perspective, and room to stretch—physically and mentally.

If you are interested, have questions, and/or want to refer a friend, reach out to laura@lmcalpine.com. The first 5-session series will run in the spring/summer, and the second 5-session series will run fall/winter. Keep an eye out for more specifics in early 2018!


As tough as this year has been, we continue to find camaraderie, hope, and support from and with our clients and friends, and continue to be inspired by the critical work being done by passionate people and organizations in our communities. We are truly thankful to be able to support groups working so hard to make the world a more just place. We will continue to stand with, kneel with, and speak out with the advocates, activists, and community organizations who shine light in the darkness, provide music where there is silence, and envision a world free of oppression, grounded in compassion, and led by love.

Wishing you joy and liberation in 2018,
Laura, Mac, Kearney, Hayley, Gus, and Walter

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