The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) has awarded 19 grants totaling $375,000 through its Fund for Safety. The fund resources organizations and programs working to keep our communities safer by addressing gender-based violence, trafficking, harassment, and other forms of systemic violence.
Of the Safety partners, 47percent are receiving Women’s Foundation funding for the first time, 42 percent are in rural and Greater Minnesota, and 58 percent are led by Black, Indigenous, and women of color. Funded programs will directly serve an estimated 72,739 women, men, girls, boys, and gender-expansive people across the state.
WFM’s funding arrives at a critical time for our Safety community partners, yet the needs of partners are growing. In virtual site visits, grantee-partners shared that they are seeing a decrease in funding availability, alongside greater costs and need for services caused by the heightened isolation of the pandemic.
All Women’s Foundation grants support general operating expenses, which provide greater flexibility for organizations. Funding general operations is crucial for organizations to build stability around community-sustaining programs.
Ain Dah Yung Center (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To continue support of culturally responsive case management services through the center’s Zhawenimaa Safe Harbor program for Indigenous youth facing sexual exploitation and homelessness. Zhawenimaa links youth to services like housing assessments, culturally responsive programming, individual therapy, pro bono legal services, educational goal setting, workforce goal setting and skills training, medical/dental referrals, and periodic onsite health screenings.
Breaking Free, Inc. (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To resource Breaking Free’s permanent supportive housing, a unique shelter that does not have a maximum stay-time for participants. Breaking Free’s goal is to move participants from victims to survivors, and further the journey to self-sufficiency.
Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) (Mankato) | $20,000 – To support comprehensive services as the region’s sole service provider for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and provide relief as CADA reimagines its service delivery model in the face of major budget shortfalls due to reduced Office for Justice Programs (OJP) funding.
Esperanza United (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To resource last year’s pilot program aimed at supporting young Latin@ folks as they transition from youth to adulthood. This program follows the Young Amig@s cohort to engage participants in conversation about consent, gender-based violence, harassment, Title IX, mental health, leadership development, women’s health, and much more. This year’s program will partner with Neighborhood Development Alliance and Latino Economic Development Center to bolster financial literacy and job-readiness skills.
First Witness Child Advocacy Center (Duluth) | $20,000 – To resource the Safe and Strong Communities training for schools and youth-serving agencies, as well as Safe and Strong Child curriculum for pre-K through 6th grade students, their teachers, and parents. Both are focused on prevention and awareness of child sexual and physical trauma, and train professionals how to respond when abuse is disclosed to minimize harm or re-traumatization.
Hmong American Partnership (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To resource the ASCEND program, serving Southeast Asian youth and young adults at risk of or with histories of sexual and domestic violence, and address restorative practices with perpetrators through culturally and linguistically affirming services such as case management, safety planning, education, and group support.
Liberty Community Church, PCUSA (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To continue support of the student-led Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) anti-violence programming. YPAR’s youth-directed goal is to decrease gender-based violence, including sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, through anti-violence messaging to community and elected officials, community education, and promotion of healthy masculinity. YPAR also uplifts the voices of boys in healthy modeling and messaging of masculinity to prevent harassment and violence.
Little Earth Residents Association (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To resource the Little Earth Women’s Empowerment Group and Elder’s Group, which provide personal connections to culturally relevant resources and support for women residing at Little Earth in four major categories: domestic and substance abuse, workforce development, physical and mental health, and cultural healing.
Men as Peacemakers (MAP) (Duluth) | $20,000 – To continue supporting programming based in MAP’s foundational We Are All Connected framework, dedicated to shifting our collective culture towards a healthier idea of “normal” for individuals and society. MAP builds safe communities through programs that address and undermine the root causes of gender-based violence including sexism, male dominance, white supremacy, racism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia.
Minnesota African Women’s Association (MAWA) (Brooklyn Center) | $20,000 – To resource African Youth Violence Prevention Project pilot program, which adapts key youthwork curriculums into culturally specific programming for African teen boys and girls to prevent emotional abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of African girls in African communities.
OutFront Minnesota Community Services (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To resource OutFront’s Anti-Violence Program, Education Equity department, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and policy and organizing work that serves thousands of LGBTQ+ Minnesotans and allies each year through trainings, resources, peer counseling, help line, safety planning, advocacy for housing, legal issues, incarcerated LGBTQ+ survivors, and more.
Seeds Worth Sowing (Willow River) | $20,000 – To develop and extend the Safety Network Building for Caregivers Program, which amplifies the power of underrepresented and disadvantaged caregivers, most of whom are mothers. The program emphasizes alternative solutions, resource alignment, and harm reduction so that Black and Brown families can avoid state and structural violence.
Sexual Assault Services, Inc. (Brainerd) | $15,000 – To resource a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in Brainerd, where the closest SANE program is more than an hour away. Funding will support the hiring of a program coordinator, which will train medical professionals in the SANE curriculum, including use of sexual assault kits, trauma-response training, and evidence collection.
Sexual Violence Center (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To resource services for sexual violence victim-survivors aimed at preventing and ending sexual violence, including one-on-one counseling, group counseling, medical and legal advocacy, education, training, and systems change, especially through innovative group counseling programs with women of color, women, queer survivors, and youth groups.
Terebinth Refuge (Waite Park) | $20,000 – To continue support for the strengths-based, trauma-informed holistic services for trafficked and sexually exploited women through Terebinth’s shelter program, transitional housing program, and employment readiness program.
The Link (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To continue support of staff and youth leadership in the anti-trafficking movement, as well as support salaries and training for youth workers, grounded in a racial equity framework and focused on media, legislation, advocacy, communications, and leadership.
Violence Free Minnesota (VFMN) (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To resource VFMN’s support of 80+ member organizations supporting victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, and relationship abuse in Minnesota. As an umbrella organization, VFMN works with organizations, government, law enforcement and other agencies to share and develop best practices around economic empowerment, public awareness, public policy, transformation of public safety, housing, and capacity building.
Violence Intervention Project (VIP) (Thief River Falls) | $20,000 – To support VIP’s emergency shelter, survivor advocacy, housing assistance, Umbrella Tree supervised visitation center, and outreach/education to schools, youth centers, community organizations and businesses that serve survivors of relationship and family violence across five counties in Northwest Minnesota and two tribal nations.
Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs (WRAP) (Marshall) | $20,000 – To purchase a company vehicle and mitigate risk to staff, who are currently using personal vehicles and a company trailer to take clients to appointments, court hearings, and to help move out of dangerous situations or into a safe and secure home. WRAP currently serves Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine counties.