Net Impact Minneapolis’ Fundraiser: The Future of Food – Get Your Ticket Now!


Our 3rd Annual Fundraiser is coming up on March 9th, and and we could not be more excited! Get your tickets now!

We have an absolute rockstar group of speakers line up for you, consisting of leading social entrepreneurs finding innovative solutions on the future of food.

Come hear from Steve Spruth, Senior Lecturer, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management at Carlson School of Management as he shares his perspective on sustainable farming in Cuba. Meet May Seng Cha, Operations Director at Urban Oasis, as she explains the community food center’s impact on society and its motto of “Healthy Food. Whole Community.” Listen to Matt Halley, Executive Director of Cookie Cart, as he tells us about his work to empower teenagers through leadership skills (through freshly baked cookies)! Learn from Melissa Kjolsing,Director of MN Cup, as she describes her role leading the premier resource for early stage entrepreneurs, supporting and accelerating the development of breakthrough business ideas across Minnesota. Find out more about Eric Larsen, founder of Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, and his work to grow fresh, healthy produce in the Twin Cities while creating a sustainable, just livelihood for its farmers. Full speaker bios are below.

We are offering door prizes, including gift certificates to the Wedge Community Co-Op, Aveda, Chinook Books, and a surprise Grab Bag! You will be automatically entered to win these prizes when you arrive. A special thank you goes out to our sponsors for supporting our fundraising efforts!

Join us to win prizes, enjoy beers and appetizers, and learn more about the intersection of social entrepreneurship and food.

You won’t want to miss this event! Get your tickets HERE!

Pre-registration is required as space is limited. The first 20 people to sign up will receive a limited edition Net Impact pint glass.

Free Pint Cup to first 75

We look forward to seeing you on March 9th!


Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Town Hall Brewery, 1430 S Washington Avenue, Minneapolis

Parking is available on street meters, or across the street from Town Hall Brewery at outdoor lots behind Bullwinkles and Corner Bar.

Speakers confirmed to date (bios below):

May Seng Cha, Operations Director, Urban Oasis
Matt Halley, Executive Director, Cookie Cart
Eric Larsen, Owner/Operator, Stone’s Throw Urban Farm
Melissa Kjolsing, Director, MN Cup
Steve Spruth, Senior Lecturer, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management


Speaker Bios: 

Matt Halley, Executive Director, Cookie Cart  

cookie cart

Matt Halley is an Executive Director at Cookie Cart. He has rich experience in implementing successful strategic plans, fundraising, and developing innovative programs for youth. He came to Cookie Cart from Youthlink, where he held an Executive Director’s position. Matt is a graduate from Augsburg College.

Melissa Kjolsing, Director, MN Cup    

MN Cup

Melissa Kjolsing (coal-sing) is the director of the MN Cup, the premier resource for MN entrepreneurs. During her time as director of the program, the MN Cup has expanded its support of entrepreneurs by offering events and educational programming throughout the year including a Women’s Initiative, the development of a food innovation community and Social Entrepreneurship Series. Melissa is responsible for all aspects of the program including its relationships with 60+ sponsors and over 350 volunteers. Melissa brings a background in business development and marketing to the program, having worked for Fredrikson & Byron and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Minnesota State University, Mankato and is currently pursuing an MBA at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

Eric Larsen, Owner/Operator, Stone’s Throw Urban Farm


Eric Larsen has spent the last couple years of his life deeply engrossed in the local foods movement as a producer, consumer, and advocate.  In the spring of 2011, he helped start Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, a entrepreneurial venture that aims to grow fresh, healthy produce in the Twin Cities while working towards creating a sustainable, just livelihood for its farmers. Eric has also supported the innovative work of Shared Ground Farmers Cooperative, a farmer-owned producers coop, and the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust, a nonprofit organization advocating for long-term access to urban farmland, through service on their Boards.

May Seng Cha, Operations Director, Urban Oasis

urban oasis

Before joining Urban Oasis, May Seng Cha was a product specialist for UCare, a nonprofit health plan serving more than 300,000 individuals and families enrolled in Minnesota Health Care Programs, such as MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance. She’s led strategic efforts in diversity marketing and health outreach that foster strong relationships in various communities in UCare’s Medicaid service areas, including Hmong, Karen, Latino, and Native American communities. Additionally, Cha chaired the Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition and led health-care initiatives to improve the lives of Hmong Minnesotans.

May Seng has been an advocate and activist for healthy food on the East Side for years. She was an organizer in efforts to establish the Gateway Food Cooperative, which led to the opening of the Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op’s East 7th Street store. She has been an avid volunteer and supporter of Urban Oasis since its inception.

Steve Spruth, Senior Lecturer, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management

Steve Spruth is a Senior Lecturer at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, with a BA in Biology from Brown University and a Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management. His academic interests include entrepreneurship, innovation, globalization, social entrepreneurship and sustainability.  He currently brings University of Minnesota undergraduates to Cuba each March to study entrepreneurship, and to Brazil each January to study innovation and sustainability. His international experience includes study and teaching in Brazil, China, Spain and Venezuela.  His consulting clients include Medtronic, UnitedHealth Group, Select Comfort and Behavioral Health Services. He is on the Advisory Board of The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University St Louis. His industry experience includes executive positions at UnitedHealth Group, Long Term Care Group, and Peak Health Care.

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