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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. The next grant round will open in December 2023.

Sign up for grant notifications

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

Amy Fistler 2023 Chair
Stacey Royal 2023 Vice Chair
Brita Midness 2023 Strategy Committee Chair
Peg Keenan 2023 Membership Committee Chair
Pam Badger 2023 Communications Committee Chair
Erin Elliott 2023 Grants Committee Chair
Katherine Sill 2023 Paige Department Chair
Wendy Wehr 2023 Pillsbury Department Chair
Nancy Gunderson 2023 Dunwoody Department Chair


Julia Ruther headshot

Contact Julia to learn more about the WCA Foundation.

Julia Ruther
Program Coordinator – Impact and Collective Giving