MCN welcomes six additions to its 2023 board of directors

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is pleased to announce the addition of six talented nonprofit leaders to the organization’s 2023 board of directors: Sam Amundson (Detroit Lakes), Amy Gray (Brainerd), Feather LaRoche (Minneapolis), Sara Sommarstrom (St. Paul), May yer Thao (St. Paul), and Xavier Vazquez (Minneapolis).

Representing both Twin Cities metro and Greater Minnesota nonprofits, the new board members were elected by MCN nonprofit member organizations during a member election in October 2022. Each will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2023.

“We are proud that MCN demonstrates the importance of stakeholders being represented on boards,” said Nonoko Sato, executive director of MCN. “Our board members provide valuable insights about the needs and opportunities of our vibrant and diverse nonprofit sector. We are so excited to have these six exceptional nonprofit leaders join the board to partner with our team members and help set the strategic direction for one of the largest statewide associations of nonprofits in the country.”

The new MCN board members include:

Sam Amundson - BW - 150x150Sam Amundson is the Controller at MAHUBE-OTWA which is located in greater Northwest Minnesota primarily covering the five counties of Mahnomen, Hubbard, Becker, Ottertail, and Wadena. As the Controller she uses a generative approach to lead a fiscal team and oversees financials, budgets, reporting, audits, and policies and procedures. She is part of a leadership team that works toward moving the needle on poverty and assisting community members to achieve their highest level of self-sufficiency. She has her Master’s of Accountancy from North Dakota State University. Has completed the CALI Leadership Cohort and holds her CCAP, Certified Community Action Professional. She also serves on other MN nonprofit boards and assists them fiscally.

AmyGray - BW - 150x150Amy Gray serves as the executive director of Kinship Partners in Brainerd. Throughout her career, Amy has found excitement in collaboration and values the inclusion of all voices, especially those who are impacted by programs and policies. A graduate of the Art of Hosting group facilitation training, Amy is a skilled facilitator who brings out the best in individuals and groups. Passionate about equality and equity, Amy recently led her organization through an LGBTQ+ ally certification process and is working to make DEI part of the organizational culture. Amy holds a master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership and has worked in the nonprofit and community development sectors for nearly 15 years.

Feather LaRoche - BW - 150x150Feather LaRoche is the founder and executive director of Relentless Feather – an organization aimed at revolutionizing Native American communities through the power of coding. Feather holds a B.S. in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a Masters of Tribal Administration and Governance from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Feather also works as the Native American Outreach & Communications Associate for the UMN School of Public Health and The Center for Public Health Systems. His work reaches Indian Country by creating program awareness and support services for the Public Health Administration & Policy MPH. Feather is an enrolled tribal member of the Kul Wicasa Oyate, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe located in South Dakota.

Sara Sommarstrom - BW - 150x150Sara Sommarstrom serves as the Vetlaw director for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, working with attorneys and non-lawyers across the state of Minnesota to remove and reduce legal barriers to stability for veterans experiencing homelessness and other life crises. Sara is a 2005 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where she received the Excellence in Public Service Award. After graduation, she served two years as an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps Fellow with the Minnesota Justice Foundation before joining the staff as a staff attorney and ultimately program director. She is currently a liaison to the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and an active member of several state and local bar association committees. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors for the Veterans Defense Project.

May yer Thao - BW - 150x150May yer (“mine-za”) Thao is the president and CEO of the Hmong American Partnership (HAP) in St. Paul and its subsidiary, the Hmong National Development, Inc. May yer is recognized as a dynamic visionary and performance-driven servant leader with high integrity, a strong work ethic, a commitment to community first, and an exemplary leader that transcends boundaries. Her work to support Asian immigrant and refugee families has resulted in many awards, including the 2019 Governor’s Community and Economic Development Leadership Award by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, 2020 Inaugural Wisconsin’s Most Influential Asian Americans by Madison365, and, most recently, the 2021 Woman of Influence – Public Policy by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Xavier+Vazquez+BWXavier Vazquez serves as the director of Twin Cities Program Management at Bolder Options in Minneapolis. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on pre-medicine. He studied mechanical engineering for four years at the University of Puerto Rico. Still, he decided to pursue another career and moved to Minnesota on June 17 of 2017, after he obtained his biology degree at the Universidad del Turabo of Puerto Rico. He is passionate about breaking the intergenerational cycle of disadvantages to create an organizational culture where every employee has a voice, feels genuinely welcomed, appreciated, and free to be themselves, and is empowered and enabled to do their best work. He is part of the MENTOR MN board and is completing his MS in Management and Leadership

To learn more about the MCN board or individual board members, please visit