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Liz Kuoppala wins Wipfli innovation excellence award

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Wipfli LLP, a top 20 national consulting and accounting firm, is pleased to announce Liz Kuoppala, executive director of the MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership in western Minnesota, is the winner of the Evelyn Wright Moore Award for Innovation Excellence.

Kuoppala was presented with the award earlier this month during Wipfli’s 2022 Stronger to Serve nonprofit training conference for nonprofit leaders in Las Vegas.

“Liz transformed the agency’s service delivery model using a whole-family approach focusing on equity to create multi-generational, upward mobility for low-income and elderly residents in five Minnesota counties,” said Kathleen DuBois, nonprofit, government and education industry leader for Wipfli. “What a tremendous feat. Her clients are lucky to have her leading the organization.”

The Evelyn Wright Moore Award provides $5,000 to support the life-changing efforts of the winning recipient’s agency. The award’s namesake was a Head Start leader from Angleton, Texas, who attended the conference for 17 years until her passing in 2017.

Kuoppala, who assumed her leadership role in 2017, said her team’s vision at the time pivoted from focusing on funders to putting families at the center of the agency’s work.

“The agency used to look at regulations as the ceiling of what could be done. But we shifted our view. If the regulations we must follow are the floor, we began to look at where we could launch from that,” Kuoppala said. “If we see what families need, but government funding doesn’t support it, we go to private sources.”

The agency, with a $19 million budget, serves 7,000 households, including 16,000 individuals over a sprawling 5,000 square-mile area.

Kuoppala said her agency intends to use the award money to start a college scholarship fund for former Head Start participants.

Learn more about services Wipfli provides for nonprofits and government-funded agencies.