Lew Linde’s passion for women’s issues over his 91 years began with his parents. His mother was a suffragist and active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She was also the first woman elected to the school board in his hometown of Cyrus, Minnesota. His father was a country doctor and passionate about the health of women.
“I’ve always had the firm belief, from way back when, that children and women have been shortchanged,” Lew said. “They’re still shortchanged.”
With both a master’s degree in social work and a law degree, Lew’s work experiences furthered his commitment to women’s issues. He served on the local parole board for 11 years and saw men who had gone to prison for performing abortions illegally. His wife, Marcella, who passed away in 1998, influenced his perspective through her work as a nurse. Marcella told him about the damage back-alley abortions caused to women’s bodies.
“Abortion should be safe and legal,” Lew said. “If a woman chooses to have an abortion, that’s her own business.”
Lew’s support of reproductive rights and his advocacy for marriage equality led him to make generous annual contributions to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for the last 31 years. He is the foundation’s longest-running consecutive donor.
A gift through his donor advised fund at The Saint Paul Foundation will also fund the Women’s Foundation in perpetuity. This type of fund allows him to recommend how much and how often money is granted to charitable organizations.
“There’s still a lot of unfinished business in women’s and girls’ rights,” Lew said.
“Lew’s passion for girls’ and women’s equity is fierce and backed up with generous investments in the Women’s Foundation,” said former WFMN vice president Saanii Hernandez. “We’re deeply grateful and honored by his long-term commitment.”
Like Lew, you can help create a Minnesota in which women and girls have access to the opportunities and resources they need to thrive. To learn more about giving opportunities — including donor advised funds — that meet your needs and benefit the Women’s Foundation, contact Stacy Papier-Meister, associate director of advancement, at email@example.com or 612.236.1827.