Skip to main content Skip to accessibility controls

New Response Fund Invests in Women & Girls Impacted by COVID-19

WFMN invites Minnesota organizations and initiatives serving women and girls experiencing gender-based violence, older women, women and girls who need short-term financial support for everyday needs due to the effects of COVID-19 (childcare, eldercare, food, housing, transportation, health, and wellness) to apply for emergency grants of up to $10,000. Applications will be accepted by April 10 and May 8. The third round of grantmaking will be invitation-only.

At the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN), a statewide community foundation, our mission is to invest in innovation to drive gender and racial equity. Women and girls are distinctly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, WFMN created the Community Response Fund to meet the urgent needs of communities across Minnesota who are working at the frontlines of gender and racial equity. In response to the pandemic, WFMN is leveraging our responsive grantmaking infrastructure to launch the COVID-19 Women and Girls Response Fund, which will award a half-million dollars in emergency grants on a rolling basis, from April 2020 through 2021.

In addition, we created the WFMN Resource List for Women & Girls Impacted by COVID-19 for nonprofits directly working with women and girls and communities deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota. The list includes links to websites that are updated regularly with relevant information for the individuals and communities you serve.

How are Minnesota’s women and girls distinctly impacted by the pandemic?

Our 2019 Status of Older Women in Minnesota and 2020 Status of Women and Girls in Minnesota research, completed in partnership with the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, illustrate why women and girls are uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • As service-based jobs are impacted by social distancing regulations, we know that 1 in 3 Latina, Black, and Native women work in service fields earning minimum wage, without paid sick time and other employee benefits, and depend on tips or hourly wages to survive.
  • As schools temporarily close, we know it adds additional caretaking responsibilities for women and girls who are primary caretakers of both children and elders. Nearly a quarter of full-time working mothers in Minnesota report providing eldercare during the past 3 months.
  • As elders are an at-risk population in this pandemic, we know inequities compound over time resulting in nearly two times as many Minnesota women above the age of 64 living in poverty than men, with fewer resources to face COVID-19. Additionally, older women in Minnesota are more likely to be living alone as they age, particularly older LGBTQ+ women who are more likely to be aging alone.
  • As Minnesotans are socially distancing, women and girls experiencing domestic violence and abuse are forced to stay indoors with their abusers with less access to others for help and support. One in two Minnesota women report sexual violence, and one in four report physical violence from an intimate partner at some point during her lifetime. We know Target Field can be filled almost 18 times with the number of Minnesota women who have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking, and that’s before a pandemic.

In this letter from WFMN President & CEO Gloria Perez, learn more about our responsive strategies to connect with communities most impacted as we amplify the experiences of  women and girls in Minnesota and deploy resources where they’re needed most.


We apply an Intersectional Equity Framework™ inclusive of Gender, Race, Place, and Additional Identities (ethnicity, sovereignty, socioeconomic class, age, disability, LGBTQ+, immigration status) to our grantmaking. Intersectional equity considers how the intersecting identities of people and communities impact their systemic access to opportunity and well -being, or to equity. This analysis is required to create the conditions in which all people have what they need to survive this pandemic in the short term and thrive in the long term.

Grant Information & Timeline

Application Submission Deadlines:

  • Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Friday, May 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Friday, June 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. – By Invitation Only

Grants will be distributed one week following the close of each application submission deadline. Grant decisions will be made by WFMN staff who have been listening and engaging to understand the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 and related underlying issues. The foundation uses all the information gathered to inform and evolve our grantmaking decisions and strategies. To allow nonprofits greater flexibility in this time of uncertainty and heightened need, all WFMN grants will be directed to general operations. At the end of the grant period, grantee-partners will be asked to submit a brief survey.

Please note that you must submit your application online. To do so, please register to access the web portal. Your registration will prompt an authentication by WFMN, which should take no more than one business day to complete.

Explore Related Posts

Sign up for our newsletter!

Sign up and stay informed as our key partner to ensure safety, economic justice, well-being, and leadership for all women, girls, and gender-expansive people in Minnesota.