Join consultant, filmmaker and activist Mary F. Morten as she delves into what it’s like to operate within and outside of the nonprofit industrial landscape. Along with her special guests, Mary answers questions from listeners and covers topics including racial and gender equity, and the experiences of people of color in leadership development and the nonprofit workforce.

Season One guests included Darlene Nipper, Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, Yolanda Caldera-Durant, Sol Flores, and Edgar Villanueva. Season Two launches September 2019! All episodes appear below.


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This time on Gathering Ground, Mary and Teresa have some "real talk" about women's funds and philanthropy; Ms. Foundation's new strategic plan (which centers women and girls of color); and current foundation trends and the state of philanthropy for women and girls in the United States. Then, they give listeners some advice, including what to do if you and your supervisor are both burnt out.

If you live in Chicago, be sure to catch Teresa the evening of October 17th at Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy's event Connecting Communities and Philanthropy.

For more information or to register for the event, click here.



Also find Gathering Ground on Radio Public.

About Mary Morten & Morten Group, LLC

Mary Morten is the president of Morten Group (MG), a national consulting firm established in November 2001 to focus on clients in the nonprofit, for-profit and foundation fields. Morten Group provides a customized approach to solve organizational and resource development challenges and to explore new opportunities. Mary is a past director of the Office of Violence Prevention for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior to that, she was an appointee for Mayor Richard M. Daley and served as a director in the Commission on Human Relations. She holds a B.A. in communications with an emphasis in radio and television from Loyola University Chicago and is a member of Forefront, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits. Mary serves on the faculty for Executive Director Boot Camp at the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University. She is a co-founder and current board chair for the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

Based in Chicago, Morten Group works with clients from coast to coast, focusing on organizational and resource development, including workshops on diversity and building communities of inclusion and access, racial equity integration and strategic planning, executive coaching and succession planning, and board recruitment and retention.


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Mary and Vu trade stories about struggling along with nonprofit professionals who suck at vacationing; they discuss working with people who are new to the workforce; and Vu talks about the birth of Nonprofit AF . After a robust conversation about equity and inclusion in nonprofits (and particularly in philanthropy), Mary and Vu answer listener questions about the nonprofit experience, including how to measure progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.


This time on Gathering Ground, Mary talks to Rockwood Leadership Institute's Darlene Nipper about how to connect to the work of the Institute and Darlene's journey from trainer to CEO. They end the episode by answering a few of your questions!

In Gathering Ground’s fifth episode, Mary talks to Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation's (CAASE) Executive Director Kaethe Morris Hoffer. The two discuss Kaethe's Quaker-rooted road to feminism, her experience in legislative advocacy, the #MeToo Movement, the vital work of CAASE, and of course, they answer a few of your questions!

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This time on Gathering Ground, Mary talks to Building Movement Project's Co-Director Sean Thomas-Breitfeld. Mary and Sean discuss the different iterations of the Race to Lead report and dive into the nuances of collecting and presenting community data within and on behalf of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. And as always, Mary and her guest answer questions from Gathering Ground's listening audience.


In this episode of Gathering Ground, Mary and Fund the People Vice President Yolanda Caldera-Durant discuss how Yolanda got her start in philanthropy and the important work of her organization. They talk about burn-out culture, talent investment, how we can support our nonprofit employees, and the amazing tools available from Fund the People, including their FREE toolkit, available at

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In episode two of Gathering Ground, Mary sits down with Sol Flores, former executive director of La Casa Norte and newly appointed deputy governor for the state of Illinois. Mary and Sol discuss La Casa Norte's new $20 million building and what it was like to fund-raise for it. They end by answering a few of your questions.


In the inaugural episode of Gathering Ground, Mary sits down with Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Mary and Edgar discuss the nonprofit industrial complex, the Native Way, and how we can use our philanthropy for healing and true community building.


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