Minnesota summer, Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan, Minnesota                                                                                          (For images from prior weeks, visit Pinterest.)

Minnesota summer, Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan, Minnesota                                                                                          (For images from prior weeks, visit Pinterest.)

Lutman & Associates works with nonprofit clients and independent producers in cultural, media, and philanthropic sectors, and in the intersections among these. We are known for creative, future-facing projects that help organizations explore new initiatives and break new ground. As consultants we are hired to develop strategy; conduct program assessments; collaborate on planning and launching new initiatives; and support and lead planning and evaluation. 

Our distinctive capability comes from having done the work: we’ve been there.

As entrepreneurs we are actively engaged in developing and testing our own ideas. For example, our highly-successful What’s Up Pop Up events are public projects we create to build community capacity for dialogue, debate, and discovery. Pop ups feature the ideas and people that are influencing us, and turn our work inside out to share with you. In 2014, we created Hothouse at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a pop up coworking space involving 35 solo-preneurs, independent producers, small nonprofits, and businesses who worked at the MIA while drawing on the museum's collection for inspiration. (Read about it here.) Stay tuned to learn more about what we have up our sleeves. 

Sarah Lutman is also a widely published author for local, regional, and national publishing platforms.


CURRENT consulting


Current projects include:

+ Continuing evolution of our work with the Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation to amplify the ideas and findings in our Like, Link, Share report. We're researching and writing about cultural institutions are embracing digital media, and seeking ways to learn more about this subject. We're developing workshops for the Broward County Cultural Commission and for this year's League of American Orchestras' conference, and creating a tool kit for resource-constrained organizations to help them get started or strengthen their digital strategy and practice.

+ Working with the Detroit Program of the Kresge Foundation to conduct a formative evaluation of its extensive support for individual artists in Detroit

+Supporting program development at the Minneapolis-based George Family Foundation.

+Providing background information and analysis for entities within Minnesota Philanthropy Partners as they consider whether and how to provide operating grants.

And more! 

Please be in touch! We’re happy to provide work samples and references.


What's Up?

A Series of Live Events About Ideas and Trends

We produce What’s Up Pop Up events that bring you interesting people and ideas from our work in informal settings. We are building community capacity for dialogue, debate and discovery, and creating forums where people can connect in person.

Follow us on Twitter to hear about the next event. We'll post it here as well.


Latest Writing

Funders work together to change the story and trajectory of a low-income neighborhood that's emphasizing its assets.

Originally published in the June issue of Twin Cities Business Magazine. Click on title for full article.

Which Minneapolis neighborhood has wonderful views of the downtown skyscape, a ready workforce and plentiful residential housing? North Minneapolis, home to more than 63,000 residents. The majority of residents are people of color, and poverty rates are high, which has influenced many in Minnesota’s white majority to view this neighborhood as one deserving of charity and access to social services. The Northside Funders Group, a coalition of foundations, has learned that the neighborhood actually wants business investment, coordinated action by policymakers to encourage these investments, and more urgent responses to strengthen the neighborhood’s underperforming schools.

The north side’s new narrative is that neighborhood change and development can be driven from the inside out. Neighborhood leaders are working toward transformational change, built on the foundation of their neighborhood’s assets, not its deficits. What are the north side’s assets? Talent (a large workforce; 56 percent has some college or a four-year or higher degree), leadership (civic leaders working with common purpose and energy) and geography (including proximity to downtown).

One organization whose work is nearly always mentioned in this new narrative is the Northside Funders Group and its dynamic leader, Tawanna Black. Founded in 2008 when a small group of foundations gathered to share ideas and plans, NFG now has 20 members who have come together to learn about the neighborhood, align their grantmaking for maximum impact, and advocate for policy changes that will benefit the neighborhood’s vitality. Collectively these funders provide $12 million to $17 million annually to about 200 nonprofits serving the area. Black was hired to lead the group in 2013. Since then she’s accelerated NFG’s progress and brought energy and visibility to the role.

Sarah Hernandez, program officer at the McKnight Foundation, co-chairs NFG. She says, “We talk about our levers: the opportunity to learn together, to leverage our giving together, to influence together and to invest together. As a collective of funders, we can realize we can influence not only our own giving but also policy, opinion and investments beyond our own.” Jo-Anne Stately, director of impact strategy at the Minneapolis Foundation, is NFG’s other co-chair. “Through NFG we are getting much better at talking to one another to deal with the larger systems issues. Things are changing, and changing faster,” Stately says.

More ....