Since 2013, a little-known donor advised fund of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota—the Midwest Legacy Fund— has been quietly providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to fund abortions for low-income women in the Upper Midwest. Thanks to the Midwest Legacy Fund thousands of women who could not afford an abortion received desperately needed funding assistance.
The Midwest Legacy Fund (MLF) was created with proceeds from the sale of Midwest Health Center for Women to Whole Woman’s Health. Midwest Health Center for Women was founded in the late 1970s. It was located in downtown Minneapolis. When it closed in 2013, it was one of a handful of independent abortion clinics remaining in the U.S.
MLF’s primary mission is to provide abortion access through grants to clinics and abortion access funds; grants which are used to provide direct financial aid to low-income persons who seek abortion care. “We stand on the shoulders of trailblazing Minnesota pro-choice icons like Betty Benjamin, Dr. Jane Hodges, and many others who laid the groundwork for reproductive justice in Minnesota,” said Patricia Bloodgood, chair of the MLF committee. “Their legacy has helped prepare us to meet this moment.”
MLF Grant recipients are grantee-partners and regional health providers, including: Our Justice (formerly Pro-Choice Resources), Annex Teen Clinic (North Minneapolis and Northwest Hennepin County), Freedom Fund (Marshfield, WI), North Dakota Women in Need Access Fund, Options Fund (Eau Claire, WI), WE Health Clinic (Duluth), Women’s Medical Fund (Madison, WI), and Just the Pill (MN).
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending almost 50 years of constitutional protection of a women’s right to safe, legal abortion. Since then, 66 clinics across 15 states have been forced to stop offering abortions. About half the states in the U.S. have already restricted or are poised to heavily restrict access to abortion, further deepening inequities in access to abortion care. Minnesota—where the right to abortion is protected by the state constitution—is now a safe haven for abortion access, surrounded by states that ban abortion or are likely to do so in the future: Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa.
As Minnesota has become a beacon of reproductive freedom in the Upper Midwest, the need to support patients seeking access to abortion is greater than ever. MLF is fundraising to build back its endowment to ensure they can continue to provide critical financial assistance to those in need of abortion care, including women who must now travel to Minnesota for health care.
Midwest Legacy Fund is committed to removing the financial and logistical barriers to abortion through grants to clinics and abortion access funds. Redistributing wealth so that all people have what they need to thrive is our shared goal and key to ensuring safety and pathways to prosperity.
If you’re interested in learning more about opening a donor advised fund at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, contact Lizzie King at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-236-1832. You can support the Midwest Legacy Fund when you make a gift online. In the Give To section of our Donate page, choose Midwest Legacy Fund from the dropdown menu.