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Press Release

Women’s Foundation Awards $425,000 in Fund for Safety Grants 

Today, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) announced $375,000 in general operating renewal grants to 19 organizations. In addition to the organizations receiving a second year of funding through the Fund for Safety, WFM awarded a $50,000 grant to Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) to be a backbone support organization for the field. In total, the awards represent an investment of $425,000 through its Fund for Safety. The fund resources organizations and programs working to keep our communities safer by addressing gender-based violence, including trafficking, harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and systemic violence. 

In this cohort of Fund for Safety partners, 42 percent are in rural and Greater Minnesota, and 58 percent are led by Black, Indigenous, and women of color.  

As a backbone organization, MNCASA will convene, facilitate, and build organizational resiliency with training and support for Fund for Safety grantee-partners, while building the movement toward ending all forms of gender-based violence. Funding a backbone organization to maintain strategic coherence in the field comes in response to listening sessions with grantee-partners, who also share a vision of a culture of healing, healthy relationships, inclusion, and community care.  

All Women’s Foundation grants support general operating expenses, which provide greater flexibility for organizations. Funding general operations over multiple years is crucial for organizations to build stability around community-sustaining programs. 

Grantee-Partners:

Ain Dah Yung Center (St. Paul) | $20,000 To continue support of culturally responsive case management 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 and 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 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 provider for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and to support relief as CADA reimagines its service delivery model. 

Esperanza United (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To continue supporting youth ages 17-24 to discuss topics that include mental health, networking, professional development, gender-based violence and financial literacy. 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.  

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 focus 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 for Southeast Asian youth and young adults at risk of, or with histories of, sexual and domestic violence, and to 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.  

Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) (St. Paul) | $50,000 – To act as the backbone support organization to convene, facilitate, and build organizational resiliency with training and support to Safety grantee-partners. MNCASA is a statewide coalition driving culture change to address sexual violence through advocacy, prevention, racial justice, and systems change. 

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 provide transportation assistance through the mobile advocacy program to improve access to services for those experiencing domestic violence and sex trafficking/exploitation. WRAP is now the designated sexual assault program through the MN Department of Public Safety for Yellow Medicine County and serves Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine counties.

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