JB Scherpelz reflects on the History and Meaning of MINN


As JB Scherpelz completes his five-year MINN board commitment, we asked him to share some reflections about the history and meaning of MINN.

I don’t know much about current efforts to combat water-borne illnesses in Southeast Asia, nor am I an expert on the most effective ways to support refugees in North Africa. I am not sure who is doing the most innovative work on solar-ovens or water filtration in South America or the most impactful undertakings to combat gender violence around the world. I don’t know by name the most connected individuals in the local Somali community. I don’t have elected officials on speed dial or a direct line to policy makers.

I don’t…but MINN does.

The Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN) is a network that can be tapped into to find the answers to the questions above, and many inquiries more related to international and global efforts to make the world a better place. Fueled by a passion for connecting with others, a committed army of volunteers, and a lot of conversations over coffee, MINN is the hub on the wheel that connects Minnesota’s spokes on which local international practitioners depend.

In the 13 years since MINN’s founding, it would be impossible to accurately count the number of discussions held after a Summit breakout session, or how many business cards have exchanged hands during a Getting Hired event, or the number of times somebody said “I just got back from being abroad and this is my first MINN event.” What can said with confidence is that MINN is a significant thread that holds the fabric of international practitioners with a connection to Minnesota together.

Like any network, MINN is only as strong as the sum of its parts. For an organization driven by volunteers, this means relying on individuals to give of their time, talent, and treasure to make possible the work that we do. In order for MINN to provide a benefit for our community, we need a community that is engaged, connected, and committed to global issues. If you are reading this, you are a part of this community whether or you know  it or not. The work done by MINN, for Minnesota and by Minnesotans, is possible because of our community.

I don’t know the exact impact MINN has made on the community...but I know MINN does.

JB Scherpelz has been involved with MINN since 2013 as a volunteer and member. During that period, he has taken on leadership positions like Summit co-chair as well as Treasurer, Vice President, and President roles on the MINN Board. He has led key MINN initiatives such as hiring the first paid full-time employee and introducing organizational membership. JB currently works as a Program Director at the Carlson Global Institute at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. We are thankful for JB's passionate service to MINN over the years and wish him a well-deserved respite to focus on his young family.
We hope that you will join JB this Thursday in ensuring that MINN can continue to sustain and build this network, whose impact on the global community in Minnesota over the past 13 years is immeasurable. Donate to MINN on Give to the Max Day.