John Sullivan

"Corporate leader bolstering nonprofits with his skills, experiences, and resources"

For over 35 years, John has dedicated his time and talents to help build a just and equitable world in which he sees a need to build a better balance between providing for immediate communities’ needs and addressing the underlying root causes creating them. There’s one catch – he’s never been paid to do so. As a practicing lawyer in 1985, his experience serving on the Children’s Theatre Company board with numerous community leaders inspired him to become involved with nonprofits throughout his career.

Since then, John has given his time to serve 11 other local and national organizations in various board and leadership capacities. Most recently he completed his term as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minneapolis Foundation on which he has served since 2013 and will serve one more year as immediate past chair. John currently serves on the Board of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, as well as one of the co-chairs of the Power to Build Capital Campaign for Family Tree Clinic – a campaign to construct a new health and education facility in Minneapolis, where the organization will be able to serve 32,000 people in which they anticipate half or more will be from BIPOC communities. 

His attempt at an early retirement was interrupted by his current employer, Carlson, Inc. (formerly known as Carlson Companies) because of their commitment to the community and their willingness and support for him to continue serving on nonprofit boards and in the community. John is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel providing support to the company’s Board of Directors as well as serving on an executive team.

His body of work in the nonprofit sector is also reflected in the other recognitions and awards he has received including the Lavender Magazine Pride Award, the Quorum (Twin Cities LGBTA Chamber of Commerce) Lifetime Achievement Award, the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) National Leadership Award, the Because We Care “Tony” Award for service to the HIV/AIDS Community, Matthew Shepard Foundation “Essential Piece” Award, the National Lavender Bar Association’s “Out & Proud Corporate Counsel” Award, The Minnesota Lavender Bar Association “Equality and Justice” Award, Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s “Distinguished Alumni” Award.

When he isn’t volunteering, you can find him honing his hidden talent of playing his guitar and singing folk songs from the 70’s or with a pair of good walking shoes, sunglasses, and his kindle. To give back because of what he has been given has been John’s personal mission and commitment and he looks forward to mentoring the next generation of community leaders, especially LGBTQIA+ young professionals.

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