The Coco Canary Newsletter – September 2020


The Coco Canary Monthly Newsletter

September 2020


Welcome to the Coco Canary Newsletter!

Hello from Molly O’Connor, the CEO and founder of Coco Canary Consulting, LLC (CCC), an evaluation & communications firm based in St. Paul, MN.

Our Mission is to use our expertise to inspire inclusion, support social justice, and promote anti-racism culture.

You may ask, how do social justice and racial equity relate to evaluation or communication? Well, from our experience, we have seen evaluation be designed, and communications reported in ways that harm, undervalue, and take advantage of the communities being served. This is our current status quo, and it is not okay. It has to change. This is why we do our work this way because we want to be apart of the solution, not the problem.

Please visit Community Centric Fundraising for more information. It is a new movement that has inspired thousands (including Coco Canary) to do better.


Lo and behold, the new Coco Canary logo!

Business Updates

1. Fresh New Logo and Front Page

As many of you know, last month, I asked my community to help me choose Coco Canary’s new logo. Well, thanks to the nearly 60 people who cast their votes, a decision was made (as seen above)! And I couldn’t be happier. Thank you to those who helped throughout the process, especially my mother and partner, my original thought partners, and cheerleaders. 

And, of course, thank you, Henry DeGrand Design, for designing my logo. If you need a designer for a logo or other marketing material, Henry is talented and hardworking. Not only that, he is an excellent strategist and researcher. 

Learn more about him from his website (hyperlinked above) or, even better, from his Linkedin.

Danette McCarthy, the past program director, and self-described “Vision Keeper,” performing in Riding the Waves (Photo was taken by me. I was the on-site photographer, as well as film assistant).

2. The Remember Project Website and Video are Live! 

Some of you may recall that I assisted in the filming and production of a theatrical film for The Remember Project in late July. Since 2013, The Remember Project has used the arts, theater specifically, to reduce the stigma of memory loss. The Remember Project team coordinates the production and performances of three plays that share different stories and experiences of dementia and memory loss. 

As a result of COVID-19, the team pivoted and filmed the plays so that program participants can still experience The Remember Project but virtually! After three successful preview performances, we are ready for our 2020-2021 virtual tour! If you are interested in being apart of this program, you can contact me at moconnor@rememberproject.org, and I will forward you to the director and project manager! 

And, of course, after weeks of post-production and some stakeholder feedback, the film is finally available for public viewing. Watch it here! Please send it to your friends, family, and communities. We want to spread the word about this amazing program!

SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp participants and mentors

3. Other Updates

I am a new member of the James Ford Bell Library Board of Directors

Starting August 2020, I’m officially apart of the James Ford Bell Library’s Board of Directors (also known as the Associates). I’m looking forward to using my expertise to support the Bell Library’s mission and find ways to incorporate equity and racial justice within its programming and strategic planning.

Girls Are Powerful

I have the fortune of assisting the nonprofit Girls Are Powerful (GRP) in their evaluation work. Shawntan Howell, the founder, started the organization because she was frustrated with the lack of cultural appropriateness options available in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area. Their mission is to enhance the self-esteem of all girls by inspiring them to recognize and embrace their natural qualities of being beautiful, unique, smart, confident, determined, and powerful. Visit their website to learn more about their programming and consider donating to their cause (the work they do is exceptional).

Girls Are Powerful

The African American Interpretive Center of Minnesota (AAICM)

If you haven’t heard of AAICM, then start following them on their Insta. They curate galleries and events that highlight black Minnesota history. Their work inspires me.


Mike and I jumping and high-fiving because we bought a house!

Personal Updates

My Partner and I Bought a House!

Funny story, my partner, Mike, and I bought a house in St. Paul, MN. Juggling work, supporting (and emotionally processing) racial justice efforts, house searching, and then house buying made for a busy and stressful August! Fortunately, I had a fantastic realtor (Robin Voreis, I highly recommend her!), which made all the difference. 

If any of my followers are thinking of buying a house, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions OR just want to talk it through.


Let’s Stay Connected!

To keep up to date with Coco Canary, consider joining my email list (see the form below) or connecting with me on Linkedin. If you’re a WordPress user, don’t forget to follow my blog!

Talk soon!

Molly O’Connor (she/her/hers)

CEO – Evaluation & Communications Specialist
direct: (612) 868-0364
email: cococanaryconsulting@gmail.com
website: https://cococanaryconsulting.com/


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The Coco Canary Newsletter – August 2020


The Coco Canary Monthly Newsletter

August 2020


Welcome to the Coco Canary Newsletter!

Our Mission: To use our expertise to inspire inclusion, build equity, support racial justice, and promote anti-racist culture.

Hello from Molly O’Connor, the CEO and founder of Coco Canary Consulting, LLC (CCC). CCC is an evaluation & communications firm based in St. Paul, MN.  I have been BUSY these last few months getting CCC off the ground. And I am excited to tell you about some exciting updates!

As many of you know, CCC was created as a result of COVID-19. I had been consulting since 2018, but it became a full-time endeavor starting in March 2020. And, to be honest, it has been a blessing. I had wanted to be a consultant for a long time, but my internal critic kept saying, “Molly, you need more experience,” or “Molly, wait until you’re older.” COVID-19 was the perfect excuse to jumpstart my consulting career, and it was the best decision I could have ever made.


Me being lead photographer for the making of The Remember Project mini-documentary

Business Updates

1. The Remember Project: Dementia Awareness Tour (RPDAT)

Led and founded by Danette McCarthy from McCarthy & Associates, RPDAT uses the arts to build community and start a conversation to end the stigma of memory loss. In Fall 2020, The Remember Project will produce as many as three short plays about Alzheimer’s with a professional cast. Though, as a result of COVID-19, these plays will now be viewed virtually rather than in-person. The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) is working in partnership with RPDAT.

Since March, I have been helping with this project via development work (grant prospecting, grant writing, etc.), marketing (website content development and film production), and virtual integration (filming live performance for virtual viewing). And, gosh, it has been so fun! I was initially hired to be the lead evaluator. But, when Danette found out I was also a filmmaker by trade, she quickly pivoted and made me the film manager for the production of The Remember Project mini-documentary. I managed a University of Wisconsin – River Falls student intern, Hannah, who is majoring in Stage and Screen Arts. I barely managed at all because Hannah was an excellent teammate and a superb film director and editor. And, within a few months, we made a film. You can view it here!

If you want to get updates about our project, follow us on our Facebook page. Oh, and of course, please share it with friends, family, and colleagues!

On the right is Hannah Robb doing her filming magic. On the left, is the talented Danette McCarthy.

Our next step is to produce the three short plays for a virtual launch conference in late August. We filmed in late July and are now in the post-production phase. I helped film and was also the lead photographer. And after three months of intensive filming and development work, I am finally an evaluator again. I will be leading the evaluation efforts for The Remember Project through MAAA. Hooray!

SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp participants and mentors

2. Meta-Evaluations for Organizations: A Soon-To-Be Service!

If you haven’t read my most recent blog post (read here!), let me get you up to speed. I have been sitting on an idea for a few months, and I finally made it into a tangible service with the help of a 2-day Launch Camp hosted by SEED SPOT. It is called Meta-Evaluations for Organizations.

An organizational meta-evaluation is when an external evaluator assesses the extent to which an entity (foundation, nonprofit, corporation, etc.) is meeting its goals and fulfilling its mission. For example, if a foundation’s mission cares about promoting equity and inclusion, the evaluator would collect data from past and current grantees to assess if those grant dollars truly made that impact in those communities. In reality, grant dollars sometimes don’t make as deep of an impact, and the only way to assess if a foundation is making such a change is by a meta-evaluation.

I am currently finishing up the final touches of the service and will be starting a pilot program in January 2021. If you or anyone you know would be interested in piloting this service, have them contact me! I currently have one non-profit that wants to join the pilot program. I am looking for a foundation and a for-profit corporation to join as well. 

I am also seeking a teammate to assist in the development and implementation of this project. I am specifically looking for someone who has experience leading, evaluating, or assisting in racial equity or racial justice efforts. BIPOC community members are encouraged to reach out! If you know of anyone who may be interested, please send them my contact information.


Conducting interviews for The Remember Project mini-documentary

Let’s Stay Connected!

To keep up to date with Coco Canary, consider joining my email list (see the form below) or connecting with me on Linkedin. If you’re a WordPress user, don’t forget to follow my blog!

Talk soon!

Molly O’Connor (she/her/hers)

CEO – Evaluation & Communications Specialist
direct: (612) 868-0364
email: cococanaryconsulting@gmail.com
website: https://cococanaryconsulting.com/


Join My Mailing List!

To receive this newsletter via your email, join my mailing list!

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