WCA Foundation Unveils New Grant Opportunities
Dear Community Partner,
Founded in 1866 by a group of women dedicated to changing the lives of women, the WCA Foundation was Minnesota’s first charitable organization. Today it is led by volunteer members, all women, who steward an endowment of approximately $18 million. Together, WCA members learn about issues affecting Twin Cities women and distribute grants to organizations addressing those needs.
Last year, WCA embarked on a member-led conversation to identify its vision for the future. That process resulted in the group’s new Strategic Framework, which reaffirms WCA’s commitment to empowering women while evolving its approach to grantmaking and its role as a facilitator of community-directed solutions.
“WCA is a member-driven organization that embraces change,” said Amy Fistler, Advisory Board Chair of the WCA Foundation. “These changes align with the direction philanthropy needs to be moving, with relationships and trust at the center.”
Today, we are pleased to announce that the WCA Foundation is pivoting under its new Framework to offer two new grant programs. Like past WCA grant rounds, both of these funding opportunities will support organizations in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area that provide direct services to meet the fundamental needs of women 18 years and older, with priority given to education, economic stability, shelter, safety, and health.
- Starting this fall, the WCA Foundation will shift its competitive grant program from two rounds in the spring and fall to one annual open grant round. The next grant round will open on December 6, with applications due by Jan. 11, 2024. It will provide project-specific support. Grant guidelines and an application webinar will be announced on WCA’s webpage in late November.
- Starting next spring, WCA will launch the two-year pilot of a new multi-year, general operating grant program engaging a cohort of recent partners. Early next year, our staff will reach out directly to organizations about this opportunity.
This new grantmaking strategy will enable WCA to dedicate more of its resources to general operating support and deepen its relationships with local nonprofits that are closely aligned with its mission, while also continuing to offer flexible project support for partners throughout our community. Both funding opportunities are grounded in WCA’s longstanding commitment to Twin Cities women, and to these values:
- Trust: Developing authentic and mutually accountable relationships by demystifying WCA’s process, increasing transparency, and recognizing the prevalent power dynamic in the funder/grantee relationship.
- Engagement: Building trusting partnerships with nonprofits, while increasing proximity to community organizations and leaders implementing solutions in WCA’s areas of focus.
- Responsiveness: Respecting the time and capacity of organizations to raise funds by ensuring that nonprofits see their priorities and needs reflected in WCA’s grantmaking approach.
“These grants will build on our past work, position us to deepen our community impact in partnership with local nonprofits, and lean into our guiding principles. ” — Erin Elliott, Grants Chair of the WCA Foundation
Our whole team at the Minneapolis Foundation is honored to work with WCA’s nonprofit grant partners, and we look forward to opening the group’s next grant round in December.