The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) is investing in 21 organizations through the COVID-19 Women & Girls Response Fund, for a total of $420,000 in general operating grants. In four rounds of grantmaking through this fund, WFMN has awarded more than $1,045,600 to 80 organizations across the state to address the needs of women and girls experiencing gender-based violence, older women, policy and advocacy, organizational capacity building and adaptation, staff healing and wellness, and short-term financial support for everyday needs, including childcare, eldercare, food, housing, transportation, health, and wellness.

In this round, as disparities and systemic inequities worsen because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and longstanding racial and gender inequities, WFMN investments are targeting transformative organizational adaptation at the intersections of gender and racial justice. Transformative organizational adaptation refers to how grantee-partner organizations across the state are reimagining, adapting, evolving, and sustaining their operations and programming in response to COVID-19 and related social and economic crises for long-lasting impact. WFMN is investing in these organizations leading on the frontlines and ensuring the health and wellness of social change leaders as they play crucial roles in advancing creative and responsive programming that meets community needs for technology infrastructure, childcare, and distance-learning support.

More than 83 percent of all COVID-19 Response Fund grantmaking supports organizations led by women of color and Indigenous women, including undocumented women, Muslim women, immigrant women, young women, LGBTQ+ people, and women in Greater Minnesota, representing WFMN’s ethos that people most impacted by inequity hold the solutions to lasting change. With four rounds of grantmaking, funded programs will directly reach nearly 100,000 women and girls and hundreds of thousands more through secondary impact in families and communities.

After four rounds of responsive funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 on Minnesota communities pushed to the margins, the continued need for long-term recovery will inform WFMN’s grantmaking processes, priorities, and policy. Addressing the systemic inequities exacerbated by the pandemic while reckoning with the adaptation and innovation required in times of crisis will infuse every WFMN funding area, research, strategic partnerships, and advocacy.

Grantee-Partners

Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP) (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To create new conditions and sustainable organizational practices through investments in the health and wellbeing of staff, including a staff retreat, staff and youth leaders’ self-care, professional development, and investment in capacity. Funding aims to eliminate the exhaustion, burnout, and harm that can arise in long-term community organizing work. AAOP advances Asian Americans’ and Pacific Islanders’ participation in democracy for an equitable and just society.

Ayada Leads (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To add additional staff capacity and scale work in Metro and rural communities to engage women of the African diaspora in running for office. Funding supports strategic planning, program evaluation, and expanded accessibility of training resources. Ayada Leads encourages new Americans, particularly women from the African diaspora, to develop the skills they need to become political leaders and role models in their communities.

Casa de Esperanza (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To enhance organizational capacity to successfully actualize its mission, vision, and goals and to plan for the long-term sustainability of the organization through culturally rooted self-care and healing practices. Casa de Esperanza mobilizes Latinas and Latin@ communities to end domestic violence.

Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Inc. (CLUES) (St. Paul) | $20,000 – To engage 50 Latinx youth and adults as leaders to collectively advance change, including leadership and advocacy cohorts focused on key issues impacting their community. CLUES will pair direct services with advocacy and leadership training for participants to address systemic barriers that impede success for communities of color, particularly Latinx, regardless of immigration status.

Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To adapt the Center for Story-based Strategy’s training for their communities in order to build power narratives for individuals impacted by deportation. CAAL harnesses collective power to improve the lives of community by connecting, learning, and acting together.

discapacitados abriéndose caminos (d.a.c) (South St. Paul) | $20,000 — To facilitate interpretation for families needing medical and professional advocacy and to provide educational support for Latinx youth and their families, including access to technology for distance learning and additional resources for short-term emergency needs. d.a.c. supports Latino and Hispanic families who have a child or adult family member with a disability so they can learn about the disability, their family’s rights, and how to navigate the social, education, and medical systems.

Dakota Wicohan (Morton) | $20,000 — To support staff as they seek self-determined practices to manage care and healing during COVID-19, to continue using the wicozani instrument for reflection and support of each staff member’s self-care journey, to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), and to help create a meditation and relaxation space in the Dakota Wicohan office. Dakota Wicohan preserves Dakota as a living language, and through it, transmits Dakota lifeways to future generations.

Family Tree Clinic (St. Paul) | $20,000Family Tree Clinic will use the funds to invest in the well-being and health of their staff for long-term organizational sustainability, staff check-ins that integrate trauma-informed practices, expanding capacity around the Racial Justice and Gender Justice Caucuses, and supporting BIPOC supervisors with the increase in workload and responsibility. 

Healing Justice Foundation (HJF) (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To support and sustain the collective and individual leadership development, self-care, and healing of the Healing Justice Foundation’s four volunteer board members and founder and CEO, Dr. Joi Lewis (Dr. Joi). HJF will also develop the Time of Reckoning initiative co-chaired by Dr. Brittany Lewis and Dr. Joi, a series of community engagement and healing justice sessions culminating in a Black-led town hall event and policy-action roundtable. HJF provides individuals, families, organizations, and communities with resources to address oppression-induced inequities and provides urgent healing support to Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Men as Peacemakers (MAP) (Duluth) | $20,000 — To support a three-month sabbatical to sustain MAP’s co-leadership model. 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.

MIGIZI Communications (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To support additional staff capacity after the fire at MIGIZI during this summer’s civil unrest and to purchase technology to build organizational capacity and support the remote youth programming of Green Jobs and First People Productions programs. MIGIZI nurtures the development of Native American youth to unleash their creativity and dreams—to benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.

Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To provide transformative staff development opportunities including healing retreats and educational workshops, and to support 40 hours of self-identified professional or personal development for each staff member. Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition builds resources to create awareness of and eliminate sexual violence against Indian women and children.

NAVIGATE MN (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To build organizational capacity to amplify systems change work in the public policy arena and other areas of civic engagement, including campaigns around climate change, immigration, education, and community safety. NAVIGATE MN is a space for Latinx peoples to be part of a community who share Indigenous, anti-corporate greed, feminist values; be in relationship with one another, elevate their leadership, build people-driven grassroots power, and win on issues central to their experience.

Northwest Indian Community Development Center (Bemidji) | $20,000 — To strengthen human resources, accounting, and program administration and to support the organization’s transformative adaptation. Northwest Indian Community Development Center identifies, coordinates, and delivers resources that promote wellness and equity for American Indian families in northwest and north-central Minnesota.

Project DIVA (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To work with consultants as the organization shifts to an international approach, expands to serve young Black girls in the Metro area, and creates a strategy and fundraising plan for expansion. Project DIVA International provides spaces for young Black women and girls in grades 3 to 12 to grow into young women by encouraging them to self-discover without limits.

Power of the People Leadership Institute (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To support Girls Taking Action (formerly Girls in Action), a group that supports African American girls in the Metro area by addressing the social-emotional needs of girls. Funds will support curriculum development and shifts that highlight the importance of girl-centered leadership in combatting racial injustice and inequity. Mentors will also receive additional trainings on how to address race and racism with girls through online mentoring sessions (e-mentoring).

RECLAIM! (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To allow clinicians and staff a week of rest and healing after working tirelessly since March 2020 to provide ongoing support to their clients impacted by COVID-19 and civil unrest in the Twin Cities, while also being personally impacted as people of color and LGBTQ+ community members. RECLAIM! provides financially and culturally accessible care to queer and trans youth and their families, and trains practitioners and partners in community to create systems of change at the intersection of gender and racial justice.

The SEAD Project (Minneapolis) | $20,000 – To grow The SEAD Project’s organizational capacity by investing in the technological infrastructure of the organization and expanding their Planting SEADS program to continue capturing and sharing stories of the Southeast Asian diaspora. SEAD will continue creating timely translation services and mutual aid for the Southeast Asian community.

St. Paul Youth Services (St. Paul) | $20,000 — To expand the innovative YouthPowerMN program by launching YouthPowerMediaMN, which will create safe online spaces for Black youth to convene; create media-based learning and advocacy tools; and amplify youth voices and activism through digital storytelling. St. Paul Youth Services offers hope and opportunity to all youth, so every child can succeed and thrive by improving the community’s collective ability to engage and support all youth by pioneering and sharing best practices.

uCodeGirl (Fargo) | $20,000 — To develop curriculum and implement a new digital training program designed to equip young women with practical and employable skills and remove multiple barriers that undermine the earning potential and economic stability of young women of color and young women from refugee and rural communities. uCodeGirl inspires, engages, and equips young girls in the Fargo-Moorhead community with leadership traits, computational thinking skills, and entrepreneurial mindsets.

Voices for Racial Justice (VRJ) (Minneapolis) | $20,000 — To build capacity for digital organizing strategies that meld VRJ’s work for gender justice with their work to end mass incarceration in Minnesota. VRJ builds power through collective cultural and healing strategies for racial justice across Minnesota using organizing, leadership training, community policy, and research.

About the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) envisions a world of economic opportunity, safety, and leadership where women, girls, and all people hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives. Through grantmaking, research, and public policy, the Foundation drives innovative solutions to create gender and racial equity in Minnesota. Founded in 1983, WFMN is the first statewide women’s foundation in the country.

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