Front Door


The Graves Foundation believes youth development happens all day, every day--at school, at home, and in our communities. We work to support conditions for thriving in all of these areas.


In 2014, John and Denise Graves sold Convey Compliance Systems, the company they had spent 28 years building. From a small business run primarily out of the family home, Convey had become the industry leader in tax information reporting with the help of a strong management team, visionary technologists, and a customer-centric corporate culture with strong employee buy-in.

John and Denise used the proceeds from the sale of Convey to endow The Graves Foundation and asked their son, Bill Graves, to launch and manage it. In early 2017, the foundation moved into its permanent home in the Midtown Exchange building, across the hall from the Midtown Global Market.

The positive impact achieved through The Graves Foundation would not be possible without the Convey team’s professional dedication and proven success throughout the company’s many years in business. The Graves family remains deeply committed to seeing The Graves Foundation realize its full potential as a force for positive change in our community.  

DeSeandra Sheppheard

Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

DeSeandra is a wife and mother with over fifteen years of experience in organizational development, leadership, and human resources management. A Minnesota native, DeSeandra grew up in St. Paul's Frogtown community, graduated from Metropolitan State University with a B.S. in HR Management, and has spent her career working in various leadership roles within the Twin Cities’ non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Kyrra Rankine

Vice President, Policy and Organizing

Kyrra has over twenty years of experience in the fields of education, social work, coaching, and organizing. After graduating from Minneapolis Public Schools, she went on to earn a B.A. in sociology and fiction at Northwestern University and an M.S.W. at Hunter College in New York City. Kyrra spent six years coaching, developing, and organizing educators and community members on issues related to educational equity and social change. Kyrra loves gardening, running, DIYing things, writing short stories, and hunting for good finds on eBay when she isn’t hanging out with her husband and two kids.

Courtney Cushing Kiernat

Executive Director, Peris Foundation

Courtney joins the Peris Foundation as its first Executive Director with experience in family philanthropy, resource development, public education, community engagement and partnerships. Courtney considers herself a generalist who knows enough to be dangerous but whose value is getting the right people at the table to get important work done. Courtney grew-up in Minneapolis and Karachi, Pakistan and now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their three and a quarter dogs, who keep her busy now that her two children are in college. She enjoys serving on nonprofit boards, volunteering as a therapy team with one of her dogs, gardening and photography.

Bill Graves


Bill is the founding president of The John and Denise Graves Family Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Bill worked in the technology and creative consulting sectors as a business analyst, writer, producer, and resource manager. He lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his wife, Mary, and two daughters.

As President of the Foundation, Bill represents the Graves family’s vision for impact. He works to ensure time and resources are stewarded toward broad impact and invests in the learning and growth of Graves team to effectively execute that vision.

Carla Godwin

Director of Operations

Carla developed experience in operations, logistics, and communications in the non-profit sector where she worked as an organizer of progressive churches and founded and directed a non-profit committed to promoting gender equity in churches. In that work, she has connected people through events, podcasts, writing, and speaking. Carla earned an M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska. She lives in Minneapolis with her kids. 

Jillian Stockmo Chapman

Director of Learning and Impact

Jillian began her career in the classroom, teaching 1st and 2nd grade – since then she has had experience in the non-profit sector in teacher preparation and school and community partnerships. After graduating from Minneapolis Public Schools, Jillian went on to pursue a B.A in Religion and Anthropology from Amherst College, a M.A in Teaching from Hamline University and is currently pursuing her Doctorate as a part of Hamline’s Ed.D program. Jillian lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband Tyler; together they love hiking, playing tennis, working on projects, and visiting National Parks. 


Role: Operations Coordinator
Part-time (20 Hours/wk)
Benefit Eligible

The Graves Foundation focuses on closing equity gaps and improving the lives of youth by supporting education, community-building, housing, and youth development in and around Minneapolis. The Foundation is a spend-down, family foundation created and funded from the sale of the Graves’ family business. The Foundation will fully invest its funds into the community by 2044 to effect change in youth development, community-building, education, and housing.

The Graves Foundation partners with organizers, researchers, policy makers, institutional and grassroots community leaders to create systemic change from the inside and outside. We build long-term, trusting relationships in community with its grantees and partners. In addition to funding great organizations, the Graves Foundation convenes partners, incubates non-profits, advocates for policy change, and participates with community toward a Minneapolis where all youth thrive.

As our network of grantees and partners brings us more and more opportunity for new programs, projects, and partnerships, we seek a collaborative, detail-oriented person who can keep us moving forward from behind-the-scenes as our Operations Coordinator. Whether it is making sure that everything is ready for us to host a large event in our space, assisting in the management of our accounting and administrative systems, or pulling together meeting materials and agenda for a board meeting, the Operations Coordinator is the glue that holds our small team together.

Role & Responsibilities

The Operations Coordinator role will report to the Vice President/Chief Operations Officer and hold key responsibilities in three essential areas (finance and administration, payroll and benefits, and, administrative support and coordination). Responsibilities core to the role are listed below.

I. Finance & Administration; ensuring the upkeep of bills, internal accounting, office supplies, mail, filing and grants systems, and, office scheduling.

II. Payroll & Benefits Administration; ensuring effective and timely administration of all payroll and benefit related tasks up to, but not including payroll approval.

III. Administrative Support & Coordination; ensuring the coordination of organizational tasks and supports necessary for our office and staff to maximize our effectiveness in carrying out our mission.


· Coordinate and maintain all administrative functions including office supply orders, phone, internet and floral vendors and other accounts necessary for the upkeep and maintenance of the office space.

· Serve as the primary point of contact for all vendor relationships, ensuring payments are made in a timely manner.

· Coordinate travel logistics, internal calendars and set yearly, quarterly and monthly team meetings (as directed).

· Coordinate all special events, including assisting in planning, preparation, invite selection, vendor management, space usage, set up and tear down of related materials, as needed.

· Serve as the main point of contact for employee benefits, payroll & accounting vendors

· Create, cut, and document payment to all grantees.

· Manage all information systems, mailboxes and databases (Zengine).

· Assist in the execution of all external facing programs and initiatives, as needed.

· Other duties, as assigned.


· At least one (1) year experience working in an administrative or operations supports role.

· Ability to communicate across a wide range of audiences.

· Demonstrated attention to details and deadlines.

· Ability to successfully multitask

· Ability to resolve conflicts in a positive, productive manner.

· Ability to work in a self-directed, autonomous, yet high-achieving environment.

· Shares and demonstrates commitment to Graves Foundation core values, mission and vision and communities the foundation serves.

· Thrives in a small, fun, familiar team setting


Benefits & Compensation

Hourly: $25 - $30 DOE

Benefits: Partial Employer Paid Health Care Plan, Short- and Long-Term Disability, and Life Insurance, and two weeks of Paid Time Off per year.

To Apply: Please send a cover letter and resume to by no later than 5pm, Friday, August 13, 2021 to be considered. All applicants will receive a response within five business days. Please no phone calls, mailed or hand delivered applications. Thank you.

We're hiring image