The mission of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute is to nurture the creativity and vitality of proven leaders of philanthropic, civic, and other community-serving organizations. The Institute provides a structured, challenging, and supportive opportunity for these experienced community leaders to clarify the purpose of their work and the core values they want that work to exemplify, to enhance their focus and effectiveness, and to increase their sense of fulfillment. The result the Institute achieves is purposeful and effective leadership with a renewed commitment to community service.


Jim Shannon and Ronnie Brooks began their work of renewing the leadership of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in 1992 under the sponsorship of the Minnesota Council on Foundations. The first group of Institute participants began the program in 1993.
The program became a part of Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in 2002 and was renamed The James P. Shannon Leadership Institute to honor Jim’s life, values, principled career, and commitment to community service. Ronnie Brooks managed the program from its inception through 2008. That year Paul Robinson began directing the day-to-day activities of the Institute; in 2014 Damon Shoholm took over as the Director of the Shannon Institute.
Above l to r: Shannon co-founder Ronnie Brooks; Senior Leadership Manager and former Director Paul Robinson; current Shannon Director Damon Shoholm.
In 1997, a second monthly group was added. In 2003 the Institute piloted a new quarterly format, meeting the growing interest and demand from nonprofit leaders serving communities distant from Minnesota. There are currently three cohort groups in the Institute’s yearlong program; two operate on a quarterly retreat schedule and one on a bi-monthly schedule.
The Institute has more than 20 years' experience serving accomplished nonprofit and community leaders. During that time, no program with the same mission and approach has been found.

About James P. Shannon

During his life, Jim Shannon served as a religious leader, college president, and president of both the Minneapolis and General Mills Foundations. Together with other leaders in the Twin Cities, he recognized the need for an institute that was dedicated to the personal and professional renewal of leaders in community-serving organizations.

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​451 Lexington Parkway North
Saint Paul, MN 55104 (map)

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