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Women’s Foundation Celebrates Equity Summit 2022—
Building Power for a New Day

On Friday, May 6, 2022, the Women’s Foundation hosts its fifth annual Equity Summit, which brings together statewide grantee-partners with corporate, philanthropic, and individual donor-partners and policymakers.

This Summit is a place for invited guests to learn, connect, and celebrate progress while illuminating the inspiring work happening across sectors to combat injustice. By sharing community with one another – even virtually – we grow our collective power and drive transformational solutions for our state’s women, girls, gender-expansive people, and their families.

As we celebrate the theme of Building Power for a New Day, the Foundation unites all our partners across four areas of impact — Leadership & Community Power, Safety, Holistic Well-Being & Reproductive Justice, and Economic Justice — for a day of inspiration, learning, and cross-sector networking. Our partnership and collaboration, centering the solutions of people most impacted by disparities, is essential to driving systems change for gender and racial justice.

At the 2022 WFMN Equity Summit, we welcome Dr. Rachel Hardeman, founding director of the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, as our keynote speaker. Dr. Hardeman will address the intersections of reproductive justice and police violence and describe new ways of building equity and inclusion into professional practices. Hardeman is a tenured Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, the Blue Cross Endowed Professor in Health and Racial Equity.

Dr. Hardeman leverages the frameworks of critical race theory and reproductive justice to inform her equity-centered work, which aims to build the empirical evidence of racism’s impact on health particularly for Black birthing people and their babies. Dr. Hardeman’s research includes a partnership with Roots Community Birth Center, in North Minneapolis, one of five Black-owned freestanding birth centers in the United States. Her work also examines the potential mental health impacts for Black birthing people when living in a community that has experienced the killing of an unarmed Black person by police.

Published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Hardeman’s research has elicited important conversations on the topics of culturally centered care, police brutality, and structural racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. She has been recognized by the Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award from the University of Minnesota (2019) as the 2020 recipient of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASSPH) Early Career Public Health Research Award. Hersh Emerging Leader Award for the impact her research has had on health policy. She is also active locally and nationally with organizations that seek to achieve health equity such as the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States.

In “Stolen Breaths,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Hardeman writes:

“We must insist that for the health of the black community and, in turn, the health of the nation, we address the social, economic, political, legal, educational, and health care systems that maintain structural racism.”

— Dr. Rachel Hardeman

Dr. Hardeman’s keynote will explore the intersections of reproductive justice and police violence. George Floyd’s cry for his “Momma” resonates deeply with all of us—we all know what it feels like to need our mom in times of fear and distress. Yet, there is something else haunting and painful in Mr. Floyd’s words—a cry for help so profound it summoned all Black mothers in America, shaking us to our core, evoking images of our beloved Black sons and Black daughters stolen from us too soon. We are in an unprecedented moment and we each have a role to play in transforming this moment into a movement that shows that Black Lives Matter in reproductive health.

Along with Dr. Hardeman’s keynote, the Summit will share highlights from our 2022 Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota and strategic plan as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our groundbreaking girlsBEST program, along with the power that lives within our state’s communities. As we unite with all our partners, we activate our collective energy to build power and leadership with Minnesota’s women and girls.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry will share remarks as a presenting sponsor and address Best Buy’s hiring and retention goals for women & BIPOC employees, and the importance of employer-sponsored benefits for working women. Best Buy believes in the collective power across organizations to create opportunity, safety, and leadership for young people to explore and discover what is possible. The Foundation supported Best Buy’s application of a gender lens to existing STEM programming by co-investing in career-pathways programming for young women at Teen Tech Centers in Minneapolis.

Thank you to Best Buy, the Presenting Sponsor of the WFMN Equity Summit, and Glass Ceiling Breaker sponsor, 3M; Leading Change Network sponsors BMO Harris, Two Harbors Investment Corp, United Healthcare Group, and Work Force Equity sponsors Delta Dental of Minnesota, US Bank, and Ascent Private Capital Management, for their generosity and commitment to ensuring all women and girls thrive.

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota drives systems change for gender and racial justice. Together, we can ensure a world of opportunity where women, girls, gender-expansive people, and their families have the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives.

We are grateful for the generous support of our Summit sponsors!


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