(May 21, Minneapolis) — Today, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) announced its second round of investment in 17 organizations through its COVID-19 Women & Girls Response Fund, for a total of $127,500 in general operating grants. In the first two rounds of grantmaking through this fund, WFMN has awarded more than $360,000 to 44 organizations across the state to address the needs of women and girls experiencing gender-based violence, older women, and short-term financial support for everyday needs, including childcare, eldercare, food, housing, transportation, health, and wellness.
In total, the COVID-19 Women & Girls Response Fund will issue a half-million dollars in emergency grants of up to $10,000 to organizations serving women and girls affected by the crisis.
More than 70 percent of the funded organizations are 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 two rounds of grantmaking, funded programs will reach more than 60,000 women, girls, and their families.
Responding to Urgent Needs:
WFMN grantee-partners are leading in their communities as first-responders in a crisis, directly serving needs that are rapidly changing, including:
- Short-term financial assistance: The pandemic and resulting economic shutdown has led to compounded financial hardship for women and girls, particularly Black, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee women of color, elders, small business owners, and rural Minnesotans. Our partners are ensuring that communities most impacted have access to financial aid to ensure they survive in the short-term and can thrive in the long term.
- Safe & affordable housing: While homelessness and housing insecurity is a reality for Minnesotans every day of the year, the pandemic means even greater risks to their health and safety. Grantee-partners statewide are ensuring that all people can access safe and affordable housing during this time through rental assistance and by opening shelters for those recently released from the criminal justice system, LGBTQ+ people, and others at high risk for exploitation.
- Bridging the digital divide: For students in homes without Internet access or the devices needed to access online classrooms, distance learning is all but impossible. Grants are being leveraged by our community partners to support students and their families with technical tools and mentoring.
- Victim-Survivors not safe at home: Orders to isolate at home are important for community health, but have left victim-survivors of domestic violence, gender-based violence, and human trafficking at greater risk of abuse. Statewide grantee-partners are assisting those victim-survivors holistically—by offering safe housing, providing financial assistance, ensuring basic needs are met, and connecting victim-survivors with culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Division of Indian Work (DIW) (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To support the Anpa Waste House, which provides services to expecting mothers and parents through a food shelf, doula service, and other basic needs. DIW will also provide short-term financial assistance to elders and women experiencing gender-based violence. Division of Indian Work strengthens the urban American Indian community through culturally based education, traditional healing, counseling, and leadership development.
Hmong American Partnership (HAP) (St. Paul) | $7,500 — To provide short-term housing and financial assistance to women and girls of color disproportionately affected by the economic downturn while working jobs that pay less than a living wage. HAP builds power with Twin Cities refugee and immigrant communities to achieve their potential by embracing cultural strengths.
Liberty Community Church, PCUSA (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To offer basic needs for women and their families at high risk of sexual exploitation in the North Minneapolis area. Liberty Community Church, PCUSA, uses its action-reflection model to respond to issues by analyzing critical data, developing communal responses based on community voices, and then taking action.
OutFront Minnesota Community Services (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To ensure stable housing and basic needs for LGBTQ+ people across Minnesota who are experiencing gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. OutFront MN creates a state where LGBTQ+ people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment, or discrimination.
ReleaseMN8 (Rosemount) | $7,500 — To provide relief to Southeast Asian elders, women and girls, and community members impacted by the deportation of family members, and to expand the capacity of existing efforts to meet community needs. ReleaseMN8 provides direct support to families impacted by deportation through leadership development and community organizing for social and political change and community power to protect human rights and keep families together.
Southeast Seniors (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To address the emerging needs of older women experiencing increased isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic through food, prescription delivery, and mental and emotional support. Southeast Seniors is a neighbor-helping-neighbor program that helps seniors remain safely in their homes with an enhanced quality of life.
Southwest Crisis Center (SWCC) (Worthington) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial assistance to clients in southwestern Minnesota’s rural communities that have been impacted by the temporary closing of large meatpacking plants. A victim advocacy organization, SWCC builds survivors’ safety, healing, rights, and autonomy while working to transform institutions and public policy.
St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS) (St. Paul) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial support through technology care packages to students and 1:1 support as students transition from in-person to digital learning and high school to college. SPYS believe in the power of youth and reimagines how the community engages with and holds itself accountable for youth.
Terebinth Refuge (Waite Park) | $7,500 — To support victim-survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking in rural Central Minnesota through short-term financial assistance, housing, and basic needs provision. Terebinth Refuge is an emergency shelter and transitional home that brings hope, healing services, and freedom to sexually exploited and trafficked women and their small children.
The ANIKA Foundation (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial assistance to Black elder women. The ANIKA Foundation promotes health equity, civic engagement, and economic empowerment of primarily women and girls in underserved communities.
Transforming Generations (St. Paul) | $7,500 — To support Hmong families and victim-survivors of gender-based violence though language services and short-term financial assistance to meet basic needs. Transforming Generations organizes, educates, and transforms cultural and power dynamics to end gender-based violence.
Tubman (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To support transitional housing for youth and the Youth Advocacy Program, an early intervention program for at-risk youth. Tubman advances opportunities for change so that every person can experience safety, hope, and healing.
Violence Intervention Project, Inc.(VIP) (Thief River Falls) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial assistance and housing for victim-survivors of sexual and domestic violence who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide hazard pay for advocates working on the frontlines with clients. VIP works to end violence and the acceptance of all forms of violence in the communities of Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, and Roseau.
We Rise MN (Minneapolis) | $7,500 — To establish supportive, trauma-informed community homes and community networks for formerly incarcerated and justice-involved women and non-binary individuals released from incarceration during the pandemic. We Rise MN creates a movement in which the collective power of those who are directly impacted by incarceration can grow.
West Side Community Organization (St. Paul) | $7,500 — To strengthen the West Side Solidarity Relief Fund and provide financial relief and rental assistance through the Women and Women of Color Leadership Table to woman-identifying applicants. The West Side Community Organization increases civic participation by launching organizing campaigns, offering leadership and development opportunities for West Side residents, and educating and building a power base of residents from all backgrounds to tackle civic issues.
Women Initiative Network of Liberia (Fargo) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial assistance and basic needs for West African women and the West African community in the Moorhead area. The Women Initiative Network of Liberia builds community and improves lives by providing support services to women and children, single teen moms, and vulnerable adults in Cass and Clay counties.
YWCA St. Paul (St. Paul) | $7,500 — To provide short-term financial assistance for families experiencing housing instability, as well as basic needs for distance learning, hygiene, and household maintenance. YWCA St. Paul programs and services support women and their families in breaking down barriers to stable housing, employment, and academic achievement.