We’re excited to welcome Dimitri Kaasan-Stull to the Charities Review Council team!
Dimitri is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, and from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a Masters of Public Policy. Prior to joining the Council, Dimitri practiced as an evaluation and communications consultant to foundations and nonprofits.
As a Charities Review Council Program Manager, Dimitri will be putting those evaluation and communication skills to work as our in-house expert on all things Accountability Standards®, including supporting nonprofits through the Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review process and the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Toolkit. He’ll also help us think big picture when it comes to meeting sector needs. Dimitri will be starting as a part-time staff member, transitioning to full-time status on June 1st.
To learn more about Dimitri, check out our Q&A below!
What excites you about joining the Council team?
Minnesota’s nonprofit community is an amazing mosaic of organizations, and the Council has the privilege of getting up close to the “tiles” one at a time, of appreciating each one’s unique shape and color and placement. I’m thrilled to share in the work of ensuring each piece is well-secured, making its best contribution to the big, beautiful whole.
How have you seen nonprofits play a role/show up in community?
The overlay of the pandemic and calls for racial justice have pushed nonprofit folks’ envelope of patience, courage, and creativity. From leadership to front-line staffers, they’ve shown an incredible selflessness and optimism against-all-odds. I can only hope this serves as a model for our public servants.
What are you most looking forward to in this new role?
Being part of this team, hands down. I look forward to sharing small wins and major milestones, to bouncing ideas and co-creating. I’ll really appreciate having the north star of a single organizational mission. That’s something I really missed as an independent consultant.
What is your favorite nonprofit cause or focus area?
I’ve gotten increasingly involved with mental health initiatives, especially trauma-responsive efforts. There’s this convergence of neuroscience and societal awareness, and also just my evolution as a person. It feels especially relevant to nonprofits; even if it’s not a program area, emotional wellbeing impacts the sector in terms of staff care.
Pillsbury United Communities is doing such important work with youth in Minneapolis. On the South Side you have my go-to bike shop, Full Cycle, which has shown amazing focus and agility in continuing their work with homeless youth through the killing of George Floyd, which happened three blocks away from the shop, and the distancing requirements of Coronavirus. PUC’s Freight Farm/North Market partnership (including a super–productive vertical farm in a shipping container) is also taking off. The yields on that range from thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to STEM training for the tech-heavy hydroponic management.
When you’re not connecting with donors and nonprofits, what do you like to do for fun?
Getting silly with my family. Cranking the jams while I cook. Anything outdoors. I love plants and getting my hands in the dirt. When it’s warm I putter around my front yard water feature. In winter go sledding with my kiddo pretending it’s for his benefit.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I put olive oil on everything. My eggs, my veggies. I put it on my chapped lips. I grew up in an olive farming community in central Italy, so it’s both nostalgic and an everyday staple for me. If I ever try lutefisk, that particular fish will be swimming in a puddle of the cold-pressed good stuff.
We’re so excited to have Dimitri onboard! Join us in welcoming Dimitri to the Council by sending him an email.