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Women changing the lives of women
Pictures from WCA's history

Founded in 1866, the WCA Foundation was the first benevolent nonprofit organization in Minnesota. Now a Signature Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, WCA makes grants to a diverse group of nonprofit human service agencies and programs, stewarding an endowment of approximately $18 million.

WCA is run by up to 50 volunteer members, all women. Members are responsible for investigating grant requests and making award recommendations to the foundation’s board.

Read our Strategic Framework

Learn about the pioneering women who founded WCA in 1866. They addressed housing and other social and economic challenges of the underserved – especially women of all ages and races.

Funding Opportunities

The WCA Foundation funds organizations in the seven-county metro area that address the fundamental needs of women in the areas of education, economic stability, shelter, safety, and health. WCA holds one annual open grant round offering project-specific support.

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Become a Member

Members of WCA are organized into three grantmaking departments that are named for three of our founders – Kate Dunwoody, Mabeth Paige, and Mahala Fisk Pillsbury. Members’ primary responsibilities are to review grant applications, conduct site visits, and make funding recommendations.

Individuals interested in becoming members can contact Julia Ruther at She will forward your name to the WCA Membership Committee, and a committee member will contact you to share more about joining WCA.

Advisory Board Members

Stacey Royal 2024 Chair
Brita Midness 2024 Vice Chair
Abby Wellan 2024 Strategy Committee Co-Chair
Peg Keenan 2024 Membership Committee Chair
Pam Badger 2024 Communications Committee Chair
Erin Elliott 2024 Grants Committee Chair
Katherine Sill 2024 Paige Department Chair
Wendy Wehr 2024 Pillsbury Department Chair
Cathy Polasky 2024 Dunwoody Department Chair
Cary Walski, 2024 Strategy Committee Co-chair


Julia Ruther headshot

Contact Julia to learn more about the WCA Foundation.

Julia Ruther
Program Coordinator – Impact and Collective Giving