Skip to main content


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.

We believe...

  • That when women are secure, entire communities are stronger.
  • That in the grantmaking process, the needs of the community and grantees prevail.
  • That focusing our work will increase our impact in the community.
  • In a world where structures and systems are equitable.

Our values are Legacy, Stability, Community, Fairness, Accountability, and Hope.

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

That WCA Foundation runs a spring and fall grant round each year. We typically make general operating and project grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. We fund organizations in the seven-county metro area that address the fundamental needs of women in the areas of education, economic stability, shelter, safety, or health.

If you have questions about WCA Foundation’s grantmaking after reviewing the application guidelines, please contact Julia Ruther at

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

Camille Pearson Walz 2022 Chair
Amy Fistler 2022 Vice Chair
Brita Midness 2022-23 Strategy Committee Chair
Amy Fistler 2022 Membership Committee Chair
Joy Stroup 2022 Communications Committee Chair
Erin Elliott 2022 Grants Committee Chair
Wendy Traxler 2022 Paige Department Chair
Wendy Wehr 2022 Pillsbury Department Co-Chair
Nancy Gunderson 2022 Dunwoody Department Chair

Want to learn more?

Julia Ruther headshot

Contact Julia Ruther to learn more about how you can be a part of the WCA Foundation.

Julia Ruther
Program Coordinator – Impact and Collective Giving