Meet Our Team:
Amy Pfarr Walker
Amy Pfarr Walker joined our team in August 2022. She came to the Minneapolis Foundation from Washburn Center for Children, where she served as Chief Advancement Officer, and has also worked at Aeon and Catholic Charities. As a Philanthropic Advisor, Amy partners with the Foundation’s donors to bring their values to life through charitable giving.
What drew you to the field of philanthropy?
Amy: I’ve spent nearly 25 years working in nonprofit communications and fundraising for missions in Minneapolis and Boston. I’ve been humbled to have so many experiences where I’ve seen, felt, and heard how generosity can change lives. It’s a powerful thing to be a part of!
What unique perspective or experiences do you bring to the team? How does your background inform your work?
Amy: I grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota where I gained a strong sense of family and responsibility. I lost a parent at a young age and learned how things out of our control can impact the stability of our lives. I moved to the East Coast as a teenager, where I was exposed to new cultures and traditions.
All these experiences broadened my understanding of community – and are why I love the Foundation’s belief that proximity is necessary! The more I immerse myself in cultures, beliefs and traditions different than mine, the more I come to realize how critical it is to include multiple voices at the table.
Say more about the value of proximity. What does that mean to you, and how do you help donors bring this value to their work?
Amy: The greatest joy of my work as a Philanthropic Advisor is helping our fundholders get closer to the issues facing our community. When we tour a nonprofit or have a conversation with the folks most impacted by an issue, we broaden our own perspectives and understanding. And, we empathize in a way that we likely didn’t before. Philanthropy can transform our community – and getting more proximate with our neighbors transforms ALL of us.
That’s a great example of how we try to connect all our work to the six values of our Strategic Framework. Can you talk about one more?
Amy: Sure. Another of those values is that civic participation is powerful. I recently attended an event honoring one of our fundholders for their impact in the community. In their remarks, they quoted a saying from Rabbi Tarfon: “It is not up to you to finish the task, but you are not free to avoid it.”
Our civic participation is indeed powerful: We may not completely solve the community’s problems today, but our engagement can help create a better future for generations to come.
What’s one tool or resource at the Minneapolis Foundation that you want all donors to know about?
Amy: I believe the power of the Minneapolis Foundation is our collaborative partnerships and collective impact. I hope fundholders lean into their Philanthropic Advisor, who’s eager to help you learn more about the issues you’re passionate about – and into the expertise of the Community Impact team, which is actively partnering within community to create solutions. Together, we can help bring your values to life – and have collective impact.
What’s something you love to do outside of work?
Amy: There’s nothing better than an invigorating hike in the mountains, where I’m reminded of how my perspective is just one small slice of a large, large landscape.