Foundation Awards $441,800 in Grants
Funding will support eighteen organizations working to meet the fundamental needs of women across economic stability, education, shelter, safety, and health.
The WCA Foundation, a Signature Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, awarded $441,800 in grants to eighteen organizations focused on meeting the fundamental needs of women through economic stability, education, shelter, safety and health programs and initiatives.
Founded in 1866, the WCA Foundation has advanced its mission of supporting women in a variety of ways over the years, including operating housing for women in need. Today, WCA Foundation members, a group of women volunteers who reside in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, review grant proposals and make funding recommendations to their advisory board. Members also learn about women-focused issues year-round as part of their membership meetings and activities.
The WCA Foundation joined forces with the Minneapolis Foundation in 2020 to increase its efficiency and gain access to the foundation’s expertise in grantmaking, community issues, finance, investments, and evaluation. The WCA Foundation stewards an endowment of approximately $19 million and accepts online grant applications twice a year with deadlines in the spring (early May) and fall (early November).
Photo courtesy of Esperanza United
“WCA Foundation members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their community engagement and grantmaking. They are aware that while everyone faced unprecedented challenges during the past two years, women bore the brunt of the social and economic impact of the pandemic,” said Julia Ruther, Program Coordinator for Impact & Collective Giving at the Minneapolis Foundation. “These grants reflect their interest in learning about and supporting community efforts to remove barriers for women.”
Julia Ruther joined the Minneapolis Foundation in May and previously worked in institutional giving and communications roles at the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, Trust for Public Land and Teton County (Wyo.) Library. She supports the WCA Foundation’s membership, learning and grantmaking processes and is the point of contact for community and nonprofit organizations.
One WCA Foundation grant will support Esperanza United’s Family Advocacy Initiative, which provides a variety of options to meet the safety needs of Latina survivors of gender-based violence. The St. Paul-based nonprofit mobilizes Latinas to end gender-based violence and centers its work in the strengths and assets of its community.
“Survivors are very creative; they know what they need but may not have the support or resources. One of the great things about this funding is that it will help us to be flexible and meet their unique needs.” — Rosario de la Torre, Director of Family Advocacy at Esperanza United
Another WCA Foundation grant will support the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developer’s credit builder program. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit works to expand the wealth and resources of neighborhoods through housing and economic development initiatives. The credit builder program provides modest loans to women with no or low credit scores and financial counseling to repay the loan and increase their ability to secure larger loans to purchase cars, start small businesses, and buy homes.
“Women are facing unprecedented challenges and need access to resources to stabilize their families and ensure they can thrive,” said Camille Pearson Walz, philanthropic leader for Liberty Diversified International and Chair of the Advisory Board of the WCA Foundation. “We’re proud that our members recognize these challenges and work to approach grantmaking with particular attention to increasing equity in communities.”
The grants announced today will support the following groups:
- African American Child Wellness Institute, Inc. received $27,000 for its Murua Moms program, which provides mentorship, care coordination, and other services to improve birth outcomes among African American women struggling with chemical use or mental health issues.
- Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) Shelter, Inc. received $30,000 for a program that serves sexually exploited Indigenous youth, helping to stabilize the young women in safe and secure affordable housing and provide them with wrap-around support.
- The Aliveness Project received $10,000 to support implementation of a peer-led support group for transwomen living with HIV.
- Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis received $30,000 for its Higher Ground St. Paul Women’s Shelter.
- Connections to Independence received $25,000 to support emergency housing, ongoing programming, and others needs of young women enrolled in its Housing Stability program and living in its Rondo Housing.
- Emerge Community Development received $27,000 to provide a group of African American and East African women with career training and female mentorship in commercial driving and manufacturing/metal forming.
- Emma Norton Services received $25,000 for Emma Norton Residence, which provides group residential permanent supportive housing for women who are at risk of homelessness and managing mental illness or substance use.
- Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza) received $22,500 for its Family Advocacy Initiative, which provides a variety of holistic options to best meet the safety needs of Latin@ survivors of gender-based violence.
- Family Tree Clinic received $27,000 to provide free long-acting reversible contraception to women who are at the highest risk of unintended pregnancy, promoting health equity for women through accessible birth control.
- Global Rights for Women received $30,000 for an initiative to improve the safety and autonomy of victims and those at risk of domestic violence in Minneapolis.
- Jeremiah Program received $30,000 to support one-on-one personalized coaching and other resources for college students who are single mothers.
- Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers received $20,000 for its Credit Builder Program, which makes small loans to women and counsels the recipients through the repayment process, thus increasing their ability to get larger loans from traditional banks in the future.
- Page Education Foundation received $15,000 to support Page Grants for 200+ female students of color.
- Phyllis Wheatley Community Center received $27,000 to support the Stronger Together program, which serves women touched by domestic violence, helping them address the effects of past trauma and break cycles of abuse through trainings and support groups.
- Planned Parenthood of North Central States received $30,000 for Promotoras de Salud, a community lay health advisor program that empowers participants with the skills and knowledge needed to educate their communities about sexual and reproductive health and improve health outcomes for Latinxs in the Twin Cities.
- Power of People Leadership Institute received $18,000 for the Girls Taking Action Alumni Young Women’s Leadership Development Program.
- Relate, Inc. received $20,000 to support a new program that aims to improve outcomes for mothers with post-partum depression who may otherwise not seek or receive care.
- WomenVenture received $30,000 for its Entrepreneurship Pathways scholarship program, to help pay for WomenVenture classes designed for women who are running their own business or in the process of starting one.