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Press Release

LaCora Bradford Kesti to lead Community Impact; Lulete Mola Named Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) announced today that LaCora Bradford Kesti will join WFMN as Director of Community Impact on February 22. Lulete Mola has been named to a new position as Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer. Previously, Lulete was the Vice President of Community Impact at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

A black woman wearing a black shirt that says “Black Excellence” stands smiling with her hands on her hips. As Director of Community Impact, LaCora Bradford Kesti will lead the implementation and management of the Foundation’s grantmaking, evaluation, and field building programs to enable large-scale systems change for gender and racial equity. LaCora will provide political and strategic thought-partnership and lead program implementation with a racial equity lens, infusing Black- and human-centered design models into the work. LaCora’s life’s work focuses on community vitality, community change, and finding and promoting holistic social justice solutions. In this role, she will advance the Foundation’s mission of intersectional gender and racial equity while continuously evaluating and evolving the Foundation to meet the needs of community.

A member of the Northside Minneapolis community, LaCora has more than two decades of experience living, volunteering, and working in the Twin Cities Metro. Most recently, she worked for the African American Leadership Forum as the Program Director for Collective Impact, where she created a Black Centered Design process to maximize community-led innovation and impact. The process resulted in increased investment for Black-centered community projects, partnerships, the development of online resources, and an education forum. LaCora previously worked for the Corporation for National and Community Service as a Program Officer. She is a certified professional project manager from the University of St. Thomas, an alumna of the Roy Wilkins Community Fellowship at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and a member of the Tri-Alpha Honor Society at the College of St. Scholastica, where she received her degree.

Lulete Mola is committed to social change that is intersectional, asset-based, and led by communities most impacted. As the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Lulete is the lead strategist and co-visionary of community investments, field-building programming, strategic communications, and bold fundraising that enables large-scale systems change. In this role, Lulete also leads the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, a multi-million-dollar public-private partnership to achieve equity in opportunities and improve the lives of Black, Indigenous, and young women of color. Lulete was previously the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern and the Dr. Reatha Clark King Fellow at WFMN, programs dedicated to building a pipeline of women of color leaders in philanthropy and nonprofit organizationsA Black woman with dark curly hair wearing a grey blazer smiles and looks away from the camera with arms crossed in front..

Lulete is devoted to engaging in and supporting community organizing, movement building, and work to advance women’s political leadership. Lulete is founder and co-chair of the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice, a coalition of foundations and philanthropic organizations transforming the field of philanthropy and establishing a historic, Black-Led Movement Fund. She is on the Minnesota Council of Foundations Board of Directors, the VoteRunLead National Advisory Board, and the state’s Advisory Task Force on Expanding the Economic Security of Women. Lulete leads engagement and professional development initiatives in Minnesota’s East African community and is active in the movement for Black lives. Lulete is the recipient of the 2020 SOAR fellowship with the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls, Humanity in Action Fellowship, Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project Fellowship, and the Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity Award.

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