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A New Leader for the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Anne Hoyt Taff, Vice President of Partnerships at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, to join the Parks Foundation as Executive Director 

After a nationwide search, the board of directors of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is pleased to announce Anne Hoyt Taff’s appointment as executive director of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s nonprofit partner effective July 1. A longtime leader in Minnesota’s nonprofit community, Hoyt Taff most recently served as Vice President of Partnerships at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, where she spent more than eight years working on collective impact initiatives centered on community-based grantmaking, racial healing, digital equity, economic development and more. Prior to that, she served as Senior Gift Officer at Planned Parenthood Central States.

“Anne is a champion of community-led work, with a style of leadership that’s beautifully suited to our mission at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation,” says Jasmine Russell, Vice Chair of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Her approach to management, community engagement and donor relations is cemented in the belief that inclusive problem-solving leads to the most impactful and equitable outcomes. We’re thrilled to welcome her as we begin our third decade of building a stronger and better-connected Minneapolis through the parks.”

“I’m excited to see how Anne will continue to positively impact our community in this new role,” says Eric Jolly, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. “During her tenure, Anne has shown herself to be an inclusive leader, who listens to community within and beyond our organization.”

Anne Hoyt Taff is a graduate of Macalester College and the University of Minnesota Law School. She lives in the Kenny neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis and loves to go on adventures with her husband and two young children. 

A Conversation with Anne Hoyt Taff 

You’ve been a leader in philanthropy, most recently as vice president of partnerships for the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. What inspires your work?

Community connection brings me joy and energy. Relationship-building is useful in any sector, but through my work in philanthropy I’ve been privileged to be in positions where I can lean into that strength. While I’m someone who’s always got an idea for solving the problem, I also have a deep recognition that my way isn’t the only way or the best way. I really consider myself a facilitator, someone who will listen and adapt to input from voices both within our organizations and around our community, which I believe is one of the important functions of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation as well. 

What part of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s mission speaks to you most? 

Parks are so many things to so many people, and what really excites me is that intersectionality. Parks are where youth come to have great experiences, and where adults connect with nature. We want our parks to be a shared experience, but we also know that Minneapolis is one of the most highly segregated communities in our country, and that the parks have contributed to those disparate experiences. Addressing these realities through the Park Foundation’s expansive vision for the future is a hopeful and powerful approach. I look forward to facilitating new opportunities and partnerships across our communities, with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation board and staff, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and many other public and private partners.

How do you approach fundraising and resource development?

My experience at a community foundation over the last 8 years exposed me to a new frame of thinking about resource development. From my position, I could see there is an extensive network of resources across public and private sources that can be leveraged to meet community need. I hope to apply this expansive thinking in my work at the Parks Foundation as we increase and widen the base of support. 

My energy and excitement for fundraising comes from my belief that there are many ways to participate in supporting your community and that no one contribution is more valuable than another. We must acknowledge not only how traditional funding sources have historically under or dis-invested in certain communities, but also how our traditional philanthropic systems have ignored the power of community resources that did not fit mainstream fundraising models. There is a vast network of people and resources we can bring together to ensure that our Minneapolis parks continue to thrive, with resilient natural spaces and nurturing experiences for all residents. 

How have parks been a part of your life, and why are they important to you? 

I grew up in Falcon Heights, the daughter of two urban and regional planners, so I have a deep appreciation for civic spaces and their essential role in our communities and public life. I got my start playing mini-soccer when I was three at a community park, and I worked for Roseville Parks and Recreation throughout high school. For me, parks are also a connection to nature. Growing up, we visited nature centers, hiked and camped regularly and after college I worked year-round at an environmental education center in northern Minnesota. I met my partner while working in the Boundary Waters. So now, I love the chance to reconnect with nature in our parks, to step inside a stand of beautiful trees and feel a small bit of wilderness in the city. 

But I’m also loving this resurgence we’re seeing, especially in the lakeside pavilions, to have a place to grab a lemonade or a beer and a bite to eat, to sit and enjoy live music, or meet friends, or just have a place to kind of expand outside your living room. The parks offer places to connect in so many ways. 

Which park are we most likely to find you visiting this summer?

With two young children and Kenny Park just down the block, that’s likely where you will find me most – especially now that the wading pool renovation is complete. And, in a phase of life, where driving five minutes is a lot more doable than planning trips to far off wildernesses, we love to take out our canoe to explore the amazing chain of lakes and local waterways.

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