Dear partners and community members,
The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota’s mission of advancing gender and racial equity is especially important during this time of uncertainty as we collectively experience the impact of COVID-19. We are deeply thoughtful of the health and well-being of all— our thoughts are with each of you, your families, colleagues, and members of our beloved community. These are new and unprecedented times for the world, and it reminds us to lead with compassion, humanity, and center the people most impacted.
As the Governor shared with Minnesotans last week, all of us share the risks and responsibilities of limiting person-to-person transmission to minimize risk for spreading the virus. To that end, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota office will be closed for in-person meetings, and staff will be working remotely for the next two weeks effective immediately. We will assess this rapidly developing situation on a fluid basis and adjust as needed.
We also recognize our grantee partners working directly with communities are most impacted as they are often first responders in crisis situations. We are grateful for the role of direct service organizations in providing support to community. In response, we are shifting our programming to be supportive and work in partnership with grantees to get resources out the door and continue advancing our mission of gender and racial equity:
- Simplifying site visits: To allow for grant applicants to focus their time on attending to community and organizational needs, minimize risk of spreading the virus, and get resources out the door, we are simplifying the format of all planned site visits. More information has been sent to participating organizations.
- Extending the girlsBEST grantmaking deadline from April 1st to April 15th. This gives organizations two additional weeks to submit proposals.
- Standing with all grantee-partners as their programming and program outcomes change. We recognize that grantee partners are serving communities directly and shifting programming in response to COVID-19. We anticipate program outcomes may shift due to the pandemic and we assure our partners that these changes will not negatively impact their grant or relationship with WFMN. We honor your work, we trust you, and we stand with you.
- WFMN, along with a community of Foundations, will be a first funder of the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund. The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund (MDRF), launched by the Minnesota Council of Foundations in partnership with the St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, is designed to aggregate resources, which will be deployed to respond to community needs that arise due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will also work to stay connected with partners on the ground on needs to align resources with mission critical opportunities. If you are a donor partner and would like to join WFMN in responsive giving, please contact our Development team at Stacy@wfmn.org. If you are a grantee partner and have any questions related to the MDRF or WFMN giving, please contact our Community Impact team at Lulete@wfmn.org.
We assure our partners and community that WFMN will remain flexible and supportive as the situation evolves. As we take measures in our own lives to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, we acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 for individuals, disproportionately women, who can’t afford to take time away from work, receive inadequate healthcare, and are working through unexpected childcare and eldercare challenges. Currently, at least 34 million private sector workers – nearly 1/3 of the workforce – do not have access to paid sick days. That is simply unacceptable and is exactly why we are committed to continue to work toward our vision of a world where women and girls and all people can live healthy, safe, and prosperous lives.
Gloria Perez, WFMN President & CEO