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Shannon Prather

Reporter | Philanthropy and the nonprofit community
Phone: 612-673-4804
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Shannon Prather has covered philanthropy and nonprofits for the past two years. She has two decades of experience reporting for newspapers in Minnesota, California, Idaho, Wisconsin and North Dakota. She has covered a variety of topics including the legal system, law enforcement, education, municipal government and slice-of-life community news.


"Prather attended high school in Fargo, N.D. and went on to earn a bachelor's of journalism from the University of Missouri. She has received additional training from Investigative Reporters & Editors and The Poynter Institute. She has covered everything from death penalty trials to growing pains in Twin Cities suburbs. She has been recognized for her work by the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and the California News Publishers Association.
Recent content from Shannon Prather
SPCO guest musician Matthew McClung tuned his drums before a rehearsal. The orchestra didn’t see any changes in its donation level this year.

Twin Cities nonprofits report no drop in donations after first year of tax changes

In first year of new rules for giving, the negative effect that some had feared has not materialized.

Five people charged in Catholic Charities fraud case

One defendant pleaded guilty this week and could face 8 to 14 months in prison.
Vern Cafarella

Vern Cafarella, marketing guru for General Mills, dies at 97

Cafarella's behind-the-scenes work influenced prominent brands such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Eddie Bauer and Big G cereals
Optometrist Dr. Meredith Walburg examines Denae Whitfield’s eyes at Harding High School. Whitfield is one of 2,500 St. Paul Public Schools students

Thousands of Twin Cities kids getting free vision screenings thanks to caring collaboration

ChildSight Minnesota and Phillips Eye Institute join forces to make sure that Twin Cities kids succeed.
Allison O’Toole, formerly the leader of MNsure, has been named CEO of Second Harvest Heartland.

Former MNsure leader Allison O'Toole named Second Harvest Heartland CEO

The food bank, among the nation's largest, is in the midst of major expansion.
Newlyweds Chara Juneau and Adam Claude walked under a canopy of scoops and measuring cups held by their guests after the couple’s wedding at the foo

Couple hold New Year's Eve charity wedding at Feed My Starving Children

After the ceremony, guests celebrated by packing meals. "We'd rather raise money for kids and use this as an opportunity to serve," said the groom.
The Sheridan Story volunteers John and Sharon Eian slipped take-home meals into students’ backpacks before the holiday break.

Twin Cities nonprofits give out 7,500 meal bags to families over winter break

"The holidays are a wonderful time to get together and celebrate each other," said Bruce Mooty. "I can't imagine how difficult it would be for families who don't have the opportunity to gather around a meal at this time."
People gathered for a Loaves and Fishes meal in August.

Loaves & Fishes serves record 1 million meals to the needy

The Minnesota nonprofit helped feed nearly a third more clients than in 2017.
A woman peruses through the selections at a thrift shop.

Thrift shops are surging despite healthy economy

Thrift stores, viewed a generation ago as places where poor people shop, are now attracting more middle class, environmentally conscious consumers in search of vintage and one-of-a-kind items.
People and Pets Together founder Kimberly Carrier began her nonprofit after facing a serious illness that threatened her ability to care for her dogs,

People and Pets Together feeds four-legged family members in need

The nonprofit food bank and veterinary assistance program provides food and care to prevent heartbreaking human-animal separations.
Sherri Taggart helps her son Jack, 14, hang some Christmas lights. Jack is recovering from leukemia and the family has received help from the Pinky Sw

Pinky Swear Foundation helps families of children with cancer pay the bills

The Minnesota foundation gives away $1 million a year to families facing childhood cancer.
Rendering of the Smithsonian's National Native American Veterans Memorial being built in Washington D.C. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community dona

As giving to tribes declines nationally, Minnesota a bright spot for American Indian causes

Minnesota is home to six of the 30 foundations most generous to Indian causes, giving $118.5 million between 2006 and 2014.
A portion of the new YMCA Camp Northern Lights on the shores of Bear Island Lake in Babbit, Minn.

YMCA opens second family camp in northern Minnesota

Camp Northern Lights is 115 acres on Bear Island Lake in Babbitt, Minn.
Many Minnesota-based char­i­ties, es­pe­cial­ly those with in­ter­na­tion­al reach like Feed My Starv­ing Children, pic­tured dur­ing a vo

Giving Tuesday offers Minnesotans another day to donate

The international event followed record-breaking Give to the Max Day.
Constellation Fund CEO Andrew Dayton handed out information on Monday during a site visit to the YMCA to discuss the organization’s youth interventi

With Constellation Fund, Andrew Dayton launches new data-driven philanthropy

The Constellation Fund will give to poverty-fighting organizations.
Earl Lovelace got help from volunteer Ruth Bowyer as he picked out furniture and household items at Bridging’s warehouse in Roseville.

Furniture bank Bridging connects needy Minnesota families with furnishings

Twin Cities nonprofit Bridging seeks donations, volunteers as it expands into larger space.
The exhibit looks at high rates of incarceration of American Indians, beginning with confinement and forced removals.

Exhibit explores incarceration in America, confinement of American Indians in Minnesota

"States of Incarceration" is a national traveling exhibit created by students and featuring historic photos, original artwork and videos. It will be in the Twin Cities until Feb. 18.
Keren Gudeman lead a group of students during an improv class at United Community School.

Improv Parenting takes center stage with upbeat, resilent message

It's a bit of a pushback to many of the driven, competitive, anxiety-ridden parenting styles batted around in pop culture today.
Several groups gathered at the workstation tables inside Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids on Give to the Max Day. FMSC received an additional

On record Give to the Max Day, Minnesota charities reap millions in donations

Organizers of the 24-hour online giving marathon aim to beat last year's total of $20.6 million.
Volunteers from left, Maria Kreidermacher, Sara Grasmon, Muffie Foreman and Erika Finne joined the Current staff to help pack rice at Second Harvest H

Give to the Max Day celebrates 10 years, looks to help nonprofits year-round

Donors gave a record $20.6 million last year.
David Reiling is CEO of St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks, which has $1 billion in assets.

Nonprofits find key partner in St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks

The company has built its reputation on serving working-class customers.
Volunteers from Reading Partners helped pack FoodRx boxes. Boxes may vary to accommodate Somali and Hispanic preferences. “People are looking forwar

Giving Back: FoodRx program embraces Food as Medicine

Packing nutritious food for people in need, Second Harvest Heartland's FoodRx embraces the concept of "food as medicine."

Enthusiasm, worry drive brisk midterm turnout in Minnesota

The mood was muted, with many voters lamenting the country's deepening political divide.
Mary Menne, with her children Peter, from left, 4, Josephine, five months, and Isaac, 2, fills out her ballot at St. Joseph's Catholic Church Parish C

Minnesotans casting ballots with enthusiasm, anxiety and disgust

Minnesotans cast a huge number of early votes in the run-up to Election Day, but turnout at polling locations has been strong all day, with people lining up in a steady drizzle to cast ballots before heading to work.
Princess Titus, and her nonprofit Appetite for Change, won a reality-style grant-making event at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Charities pitch donors for share of Greater Twin Cities United Way money

Other Twin Cities foundations have also been exploring ways to involve more people in awarding grants.
Margaret Anne Combs, longtime adoption counselor, died at age 94.

Margaret Anne Combs, adoption counselor for Catholic Charities, dies at 94

Margaret Anne Combs served as a Catholic Charities adoption social worker for three decades, helping hundreds of eager couples become parents.At the same time, Combs…
Volunteer Megan Yoshida organizes school supplies for the The Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 6th Annual Action Day earlier this year. Photo by Sha

Greater Twin Cities United Way narrows focus of its grantmaking

United Way will concentrate its grants on programs that address education success, household stability, and employment and income gaps. It will eliminate grantmaking categories for legal services and independent living.
Melvin Broom raised his hands in praise during worship time as Herris Heidenreich, center, led the song “Power in the Blood” at the weekly fellows

Ex-prisoners program expands, faces wary neighbors in Mpls.

FreedomWorks is expanding from a 15-bed building it recently sold in north Minneapolis to a remodeled nursing home campus that could one day serve as many as 180 men and women.
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Paul, the only African-American Episcopal church in Minnesota, is celebrating its 130th anniversary.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church celebrates 130 years of fighting for racial equity and healing

The church has long been a social and spiritual center for its congregation.
Above, Aboubacar Bangoura, 2, played the drums during a demonstration by Duniya Drum and Dance. Cat toys made from plastic Easter eggs, pasta shells a

Festival of Giving helps grow Twin Cities children's hearts and minds

The inaugural Festival of Giving encouraged parents and children to volunteer together in fun, creative and, most important, lasting ways.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson has sued the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens Inc.

Florida charity accused of deceiving donors supporting police families

American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens raised $425,000 from Minnesotans from 2011 to 2017, according to the lawsuit by the Minnesota attorney general.
Minneapolis Foundation president and CEO R.T. Rybak read Good Night, Little Sea Otter to a group of kids at the Book It to the Parks event.

Minnesota philanthropy turns to data to identify and solve problems

More nonprofits sell their stories through analysis.
Psychologist Meaghan Johansen was hired by the mission.

Union Gospel Mission adds mental health clinic at St. Paul homeless shelter

More than six in 10 homeless people in Minnesota report struggling with significant mental illness, experts say.
Cathy Blaeser of Lakeville and Cailin Bjorlin of New Prague spoke in support of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination on Wednesday in Lakeville.

Kavanaugh supporters in Minn. say they're holding firm

Many say they're eager for another justice with more conservative ideals on the U.S. Supreme Court, and they view the allegations against him as a partisan attack.
Karin Olofsdotter, left, Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S., was in Minnesota to meet with Jewish community leaders to discuss anti-Semitism, including

Swedish ambassador, Minnesota Jewish leaders met to discuss surge in hate crimes

Karin Olofsdotter is gathering information about the surge in anti-Semitism in the U.S. — a grimly similar issue in Europe.
Nurse Bonnie Morcomb felt overwhelmed after her breast cancer diagnosis. Firefly Sisterhood paired her with a caring, and knowing, survivor.

Firefly Sisterhood offers support to women facing breast cancer

The St. Louis Park nonprofit started in 2014 and has since matched 740 breast cancers patients with mentors who have survived breast cancer.
A student from Sand Creek Elementary in Coon Rapids took a turn on the rock-climbing wall at the Northern Star Scouts Base Camp at Fort Snelling. It c

Urban adventures open to all at Scouting Base Camp

$26M facility at Fort Snelling spreads the group's mission.
Red Cross volunteer Warren Buerkley, who goes door-to-door, installed a smoke detector in a home in Inver Grove Heights.

Red Cross sounding the alarm about dangers of house fires

Last year in Minnesota, 68 people died in home fires, the highest number of fatalities in 20 years, according to the State Fire Marshal's office. The Red Cross Home Fire campaign aims to reduce that number by 25 percent.
Molyka Sour, right, and Jennie Heinze sorted potatoes at Second Harvest’s warehouse in Brooklyn Park as part of a Wells Fargo volunteer outing.

Second Harvest Heartland to move to expand food rescue

A shift to more nutritious ingredients is a big part of what prompted Second Harvest Heartland to move into a new warehouse.
Roy Wilkins (center) with Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall, c.1959.

University of Minnesota hosts conference on civil rights-era Kerner Commission

Fifty years ago, a presidential commission reached this searing conclusion: "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal." This week, scholars, politicians and the public gather to reflect on the document.
Kia Cheng, right, a Humane Society vet assistant, intubated a cat. The high cost of pet care can leave some owners unable to pay the bills.

Animal Humane Society to open low-cost vet clinic in St. Paul

Humane Society hopes new clinic will help households that can't pay high vet bills.
Melissa Evers, an AmeriCorps member who is part of Minnesota’s first-ever Recovery Corps, at the nonprofit Avivo, where she provides peer-to-peer su

Thousands of volunteers make Minnesota an AmeriCorps hot spot

Minnesota ranks third in the number of volunteers per capita.
Families celebrated at Project Arise’s annual Twin Cities Pride parade-watching party and fundraiser in June. Project Arise, focused on helping home

Greater Twin Cities United Way 'giving communities' meld personal passions with philanthropy

The groups bring people together for socializing and philanthropy.
As part of their exposure to the great outdoors, kids used binoculars during a nature hike at Hidden Falls Regional Park.

Twin Cities Y says 'Get Outdoors' to help cure modern-day maladies

The year-round nature initiative is aimed at all demographics: kids, adults, seniors, city dwellers and suburbanites.
Eric Jolly is the CEO and president of the St. Paul foundation.

Two quiet giants of local philanthropy rebrand to raise profiles of giving

Twin foundations respond to donors who want impact.
Medina Mayor Robert “Bob” Mitchell Jr. Courtesy: City of Medina

Robert Mitchell, mayor of Medina and community booster, dies at 74

Medina Mayor Robert “Bob” Mitchell Jr. used his position at the podium to infuse civility and courtesy in public discourse. “He listened rather than judged.…
The nonprofit NeighborWorks Home Partners helped Naima Mohamed, right, and Jacob Croonenberghs buy a house in St. Paul for their growing family.

Alliance pushes to close racial gap in Minnesota homeownership

Families of color are much less likely to own a home in Minnesota, research shows
The dinner hour is busy at Loaves & Fishes in Minneapolis, which is on track to serve a record 1 million meals this year. On the menu, Philly steak on

Charities report record demand despite rising prosperity

Stagnant wages, growing population of struggling seniors, paired with a housing shortage and rising rents has pushed the Twin Cities' poorest even lower.
Soul food: Culinary historian and chef Michael Twitty prepared traditional 19th-century African-American foods recently at Fort Snelling, in a kitchen

Fort Snelling story widens with stories of slavery

Historian Joseph McGill will lecture and then sleep at the fort Saturday.
Volunteers filled 12,000 backpacks for Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Action Day in August 2017 at CHS Field in St. Paul. At this year’s Action

United Way doubles its double goal for back-to-school backpacks for needy kids

Greater Twin Cities United Way is doubling down on Action Day, its annual celebration and volunteer event that helps needy families during back-to-school time.Nearly 4,000…
This screenshot shows what United Way’s new Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud looks like.

United Way launches new online workplace giving tool

Donors can research charities, give via payroll deduction and sign up for volunteer opportunities.
Starting in 2019, Wells Fargo is aiming to donate 2 percent of its earnings after taxes. More than 14,000 organizations across the country will share

Wells Fargo pledges to give away $400 million this year

The annual total is a big jump, comes amid tough PR times for the bank.
Patti Sampers places a rose on the steps of the altar in honor of her late husband, Chief Petty Officer James W. Sampers.

Gold Star Wives remember loved ones at national meeting in Twin Cities

The women gathered for a memorial service Friday at Fort Snelling.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced that he is leaving effective July 2019 at the McNamara Alumni Center, Friday, July 13, 2018 in

Eric Kaler to step down as University of Minnesota president in 2019

"The University will benefit from a fresh perspective," he said in a statement.
Pillsbury United Communities, which operates a radio station KRSM, is one of the nonprofits receiving grant money from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Comm

Twin Cities nonprofits receive grants to address racial bias in media coverage

The $250,000 in grants will be used to design training programs and tools to help journalists.
With the passenger seat and much of the back taken up by their new northern catalpa tree, partners Anders Erickson, driver's seat, and Signa Weise, re

Tree Trust adds half million trees to Twin Cities canopy with training program

Since its founding in 1976, the nonprofit has added nearly 500,000 trees and shrubs to the Twin Cities and mobilized nearly 60,000 paid interns and volunteers.
KRSM radio host Briana Santoscoy, left, interviewed Elia Dimayuga-Bruggeman of the Minnesota Department of Education on her Spanish-language show.

Pillsbury United uses nonprofit business ventures to help communities

Business ventures aim to avoid "nonprofit industrial complex."
Kids in the Summer Fun program broke into groups to see who could make the tallest structure with only paper and tape. Kids discussed possible strateg

Pohlad Family Foundation focuses its giving on housing issues

The shift comes as new generations of the family get involved with the foundation.
Ian Anderson helped mix the pancake batter with his mom, Mali, while they made breakfast for dinner.

Adoption numbers plummet in Minnesota and nationwide

Acceptance of single motherhood, changes in international law contribute to falling numbers
The Minnesota History Center will open the exhibit “Somalis + Minnesota” on Saturday, the first long-term exhibit about the east African nation’

'Somalis + Minnesota' exhibit opens Saturday at Minnesota History Center

Luqman Mohamed grew up hearing his grandfather's stories of the nomadic life in Somalia, of family members loading their possessions onto the backs of camels…
The Minnesota Historical Society and the American Institute of Architects Minnesota will launch public tours and lectures about the state’s architec

Minnesota Historical Society to offer architecture lectures, tours

Historical society, architects plan tours of iconic structures.
Anne Webb, historian and college professor

Anne Webb, professor who researched women on the frontier, dies at 87

One of the original faculty members of Metro State, Webb was a pioneer in her own right.
An artist's creation of a chuppah, which is what the bride and groom stand under during a Hasidic Jewish wedding ceremony.

Couple plans traditional Jewish Hasidic wedding, a rarity in Minnesota

The bride and groom have been separated for the week leading up to the wedding. They will come together minutes before the ceremony so the…
Teens play basketball at a branch of the Greater Twin Cities YMCA. The YMCA is offering free summer memberships to high school students. Signup starts

YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities expands its free summer program for teens

The nonprofit is giving away 6,250 teen memberships valid from June 4 to Aug. 31.
Essence Bell-Williams, left, 10, kept the ball from Helena Wheeler, 10, during after-school gym time at Plymouth Christian Youth Center in Minneapolis

After-school program cuts leave thousands of Minnesota kids without somewhere to go

As funding continues to decline, thousands have nowhere to go.
Kera LaSure played with her daughter Thalia Mims, 2, in their Maplewood split-level, which LaSure was able to buy through Habitat for Humanity’s ope

Habitat for Humanity's new Open Market buying program gives families more choice

Habitat for Humanity finds success in helping families buy homes.
Susan Haigh

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity CEO Sue Haigh retires after 13 years

Her tenure included helping 681 families buy homes, opening two Habitat Restores, and repairing and painting nearly 1,500 homes through its national trailblazing Brush With Kindness program.
Scott Fischbach, left, of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and Jennifer Aulwes of Planned Parenthood.

Minn. reacts to Trump's move to block federal funds for clinics with abortion services

Minnesota opponents of abortion celebrated the move, while Planned Parenthood warned of upheaval for patients.
A cyclist on the West River Parkway bike path rode beneath the Short Line bridge.

Thousands expected to pedal to the office for Twin Cities Bike to Work Day

The Friday event includes pit stops and downtown celebrations for cyclists.
Heather Rome shopped for her fifth-grade classroom. She teaches at Learning for Leadership charter school in Columbia Heights. Twenty five teachers we

Roseville foundation gives away $1 billion in school supplies for kids in need

The Kids In Need Foundation provides school supplies and a sense of normalcy for kids.
Greater Twin Cities United Way CEO Sarah Caruso will retire in July.

Twin Cities United Way CEO to retire as fundraising lags

Sarah Caruso has been president and CEO for nine years, leading the agency to record revenues in 2014. But fundraising has fallen sharply in recent years.
At 360 Communities Food Shelf in Burnsville, Sophia Bond stocks the produce bins with yams. Minnesotans visited food shelves 3.4 million times in 2017

Minnesota food shelves are serving more people than ever

Even as people have returned to work after the recession, food shelf use by adults has risen 11 percent since 2012.
The Minnesota Historical Society announced that its governing board has appointed Kent Whitworth as director and CEO, effective July 1.

Minnesota Historical Society names new CEO from Kentucky

Kent Whitworth has helped the Kentucky Historical Society broaden the stories it tells.
William Carlson waited outside Catholic Charities on Wednesday for the shelter to open. Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis is dropping its

Catholic Charities cuts refugee resettlement, adoption work

The charity will instead focus on fighting homelessness and helping at-risk kids.
Ayub Mohamed, center, 14, gets his hands dirty mixing together ground beef with blueberries, oatmeal and spices to make healthy burgers during class a

Twin Cities YMCA focuses on food along with fitness

Fresh food is helping teach fresh habits about nutrition.
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