Women Fueling Change
WCA Foundation Awards Grants to 17 organizations
The WCA Foundation, a Signature Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, recently awarded $432,500 in grants to 17 organizations focused on meeting the fundamental needs of women through economic stability, education, shelter, safety and health programs and initiatives.
The WCA Foundation is led by a group of volunteers, all women, who come together to learn about issues affecting women in the Twin Cities and review grant proposals from organizations addressing those needs. They steward an endowment of approximately $18 million and accept online grant applications twice a year, with deadlines in the spring and fall.
The WCA Foundation’s next grant round will open in late March. Nonprofits can sign up for updates about funding opportunities.
“WCA Foundation members understand the complexity of the issues facing women in our community, and they are dedicated to working with each other and grantee partners to facilitate solutions,” said Julia Ruther, the Minneapolis Foundation’s Program Coordinator for Impact and Collective Giving. Ruther supports the WCA Foundation’s membership, learning, and grantmaking processes and is the point of contact for community and nonprofit organizations.
The awards announced today support organizations that applied for funding in the WCA Foundation’s Spring 2022 grant round.
One grantee partner, Al-Maa’uun, used WCA Foundation funding to expand its career services for women. “Through this grant, we have provided workforce training and job placement for women who thought they were out of options and at risk of homelessness,” said Makram El-Amin, the organization’s Executive Director. “Today they have been successfully placed in full-time positions at Minneapolis Public Schools. This support has made a significant impact on the lives of these women.”
Another grant helps provide stable housing for community members receiving support from NorthPoint Health and Wellness while they are pregnant. “In the maternal and infant health work at NorthPoint, which primarily serves Black birthing persons in the North Minneapolis community, we have continually seen not only a need for housing support but a gap in resources available,” said Marissa Elliot, the organization’s Outreach and Health Initiatives Manager.
“This funding gives us the opportunity to address this unmet housing need for pregnant persons, as this will be critical to help address the birth disparities associated with housing instability and homelessness, such as preterm birth and low birthweight.” — Marissa Elliot
In January, the WCA Foundation adopted a new strategic framework that reflects its guiding principles of trust, engagement, and responsiveness. “Our members are committed to developing authentic relationships with community partners,” said Amy Fistler, Advisory Board Chair of the WCA Foundation.
“We are among a small-but-dedicated group of women-focused funders, and we hope that our investments in these organizations and programs inspire others to be generous to causes that champion women,” said Erin Elliott, Grants Chair of the WCA Foundation. “There cannot be too many of us.”
Photo provided by Al Maa’uun
The following groups received funding in the WCA Foundation’s Spring 2022 grant round:
- Al-Maa’uun received $20,000 for to expand the outreach of Al Maa’uun Career Services to women and provide additional resources to address barriers to employment.
- Children’s Dental Services received $28,000 to support comprehensive dental treatment and education for 500 low-income Afghan and Ukrainian immigrant and refugee women.
- Comunidades Latinas Unidades En Servicio (CLUES) received $20,000 for its Avanzando program, which supports women during their initial years of college, as well as for scholarship funds for Youth in Action graduates.
- Cornerstone Advocacy Services received $27,500 for its Community & Economic Empowerment Services Program, which works with low-income victim-survivors of interpersonal violence to provide critical interventions that assist them in achieving long-term safety and stability.
- Dress for Success Twin Cities received $30,000 to increase the workforce readiness and sustained employment of low-income Twin Cities women.
- Hamline University received $30,000 for its Pipers to Professionals program, which offers paid, pre-professional on-the-job learning experience with guided career preparation students who are women of color, first-generation students, and from low-income backgrounds.
- Haven Housing received $30,000 to support the operation of Ascension Place, a program that provides safe, stable, community-based housing for women seeking independence and self-reliance.
- Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation received $12,000 to increase patient support awards, reflecting an upward trend in the economic hardships faced by women while they fight for their lives.
- International Institute of Minnesota received $30,000 to support its New American Health Initiative, which provides education and outreach to help end the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting.
- Isuroon received $30,000 for its Mental Health Clinic, which provides a holistic approach to the mental health needs of East African/Somali women and families, filling a gap in the mental health community.
- Neighborhood HealthSource received $25,000 to support targeted, culturally specific health outreach to West African and Latina women and connect them to screening and treatment for chronic illnesses.
- NorthPoint Health & Wellness received $25,000 to ensure women enrolled in its Integrated Care for High-Risk Pregnancies Program stay safely and stably housed both during pregnancy and after their children are born.
- PRISM received $30,000 for its Homelessness Prevention for Women program, which provides emergency housing assistance to women who are at risk of homelessness due to a crisis or temporary circumstances.
- Perspectives, Inc. received $30,000 for its Supportive Housing Program, which provides trauma-informed care for women who experience barriers to obtaining and maintaining housing.
- RS Eden received $25,000 to fund the enhancement and expansion of its Whole-Family Recovery Program for women in recovery and their children.
- Voices for Racial Justice received $30,000 for Women’s Circle to End Mass Incarceration in Minnesota, a supportive space for women from Black, Indigenous and people of color communities affected by incarceration to gather, build leadership skills, and act for change.
- Volunteers of America MN received $10,000 for Sisters Helping Sisters, a program offering a layered approach to supporting women as they prepare to reenter community following incarceration in Shakopee Prison.
For more information, please visit WCA Foundation’s webpage.