Elizabeth Borer appreciates having a position that enables her to make a global impact, as general counsel for one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, Eden Prairie-based Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP).
“I love helping support a mission-driven organization. We work with a lot of diverse people and communities to make an impact, and we collaborate with a lot of different colleagues to help find creative solutions to problems,” she noted.
Before joining the MACP staff, Borer served the nonprofit as an associate at Minneapolis-based Best & Flanagan.
In 2021, MACP made grants totaling $275 million to a variety of non-governmental organizations working to better communities around the world. “There’s a lot of variety in this position and always more to learn,” Borer said.
Working for a grant-making nonprofit, one of the unique skills the general counsel position demands is one Borer had to learn: “how to communicate legal concepts to wide range of audiences who may not have the same technical background.”
Of course, doing international grant making often brings challenging legal complexities, due to jurisdictional differences. “There have been a lot of changes in both U.S. sanctions and laws, and also the laws of local jurisdictions,” she noted.
While not a formal part of her job description, mentoring younger professionals is near and dear to Borer.
“Having received great mentoring from a number of attorneys throughout my career, it’s been really important to me to pass that along and being a supportive coach. That involves really trying to understand what is challenging for folks, and where I can be supportive and lead by example.”
Borer has been a volunteer participant in the Minnesota Women Lawyers’ Leadership Institute, mentoring less-experienced attorneys.
Borer has also volunteered her time and talents to the Legal Services Corp. She enjoys being part of a rural justice task force. In the process, it’s become clear to her “how interconnected all of these social justice issues are, and seeing how many smart, incredible people are working to improve the quality of life for people, every day.”