YWCA Minneapolis began in 1891 because women sought a space to gather and create community. Too many doors were closed to them. So, they built a new door.
With your support, 128 years later, we are still breaking down barriers and working toward a fully inclusive community. We envision a future where each person is healthy, valued and offered opportunities to succeed. We believe it’s possible — and inch by inch, we are making progress.
In many ways, 2018-2019 was another successful year. Sparked from community response asking for more tools to act against injustice, we introduced the inaugural It’s Time to Act!TM Forum Series with over 1,000 attendees. With the partnership of the Schulze Family Foundation, we launched a challenge grant campaign and you helped us raise $500,000 for Early Childhood Education scholarships, one critical step toward making high-quality early learning more accessible. We offered afterschool and summer programs to more than 1,200 youth and expanded our culturally-specific nutrition and fitness program to serve East African youth. We welcomed more than 27,000 fitness members into our centers to take charge of their health — and were thrilled to see 1,660 attend our new Prime Time classes geared toward active older adults. Our community of supporters is what makes all of this possible: 1,130+ donors helped elevate our mission and expand our reach, and volunteers gave 8,000+ hours of their time.
In all, we reached more than 30,000 people this year and our movement for a brighter future grows even larger. We’re glad you are a part of it — together, we are opening doors for all.
Ramya Rauf, Kari Clark and Valeriana Moeller
Eliminate racism, empower women and girls, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
For the past two years, scholarship funds have enabled Roosevelt High School students to attend our signature event, It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race.TM Teacher Kari says, “What we hear and talk about at It’s Time to Talk is extremely relevant. Seeing the students nod their heads while their life experiences and instincts are affirmed by the speakers is priceless and so significant. The students are blown away by how fancy and big the luncheon is — which gives the content a sense of importance to them.”
Kari says she’s noticed students who attend the event have a stronger connection to the content she teaches and it’s a powerful experience for them:
“The event sees them, hears them, speaks to them and allows us to carry that hope back to school and our lives!”
Ahara’s parents first learned about YWCA Minneapolis’ early learning programs through Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning, where her dad was taking English classes at the time. Over the past few years, YWCA Children’s Center has helped Ahara learn social skills, piqued her interest in reading and helped prepare her for living in a diverse community. Ahara’s favorite part of school? “It’s the unconditional love and support that she gets from her teachers,” says her mom, Willow. It makes Ahara more enthusiastic to go to school and learn each day.
Willow is appreciative of the help her family has gotten to give Ahara this opportunity. “Her education is really important to me, but without the scholarship, we couldn’t afford it.” In the last year, Ahara has become more of a leader in preschool and now she is off to kindergarten, ready for the next step in her education.
“She just wants to understand and learn about everything… now!”
A couple of summers ago, Lenny’s parents stopped by a YWCA Minneapolis booth at an Open Streets event. That’s where they learned about Strong Fast Fit, a culturally-specific nutrition and fitness program. They jumped at the chance to enroll their son. The program has helped Lenny get active after school — swimming, playing games like dodgeball and kickball, and racing in the Medtronic TC One Mile. He also learned how to make nutritious meals and snacks from scratch.
Lenny’s mom is appreciative that he’s found another community outside of school. “Everybody here, they connect to each other,” she says. Parents are involved in the program too — the whole family gets a free fitness membership. One special habit Lenny and his dad have made is regularly working out together.
“I learned about what it means to be a healthy person,” says Lenny.
Building an active routine with family and friends — it’s a foundation that will help Lenny keep healthy habits throughout his life.
In 2017, Molly surgically amputated her left foot. It was a decision that came after 40 years of pain. Years before, her foot was injured in a snowmobile accident “essentially severing” it, and the dozens of surgeries she had didn’t help. “I finally realized that I was missing out on life,” says Molly. After recovering from surgery, Molly decided to grab ahold of her life again; part of that was signing up for YWCA Women’s Triathlon. “I felt comfortable in such a diverse group of women — young and old, fast and slow. I was amazed at all of the high-fives and kind words I received from women I didn’t even know while I was racing,” says Molly.
“I support YWCA’s mission. We were all put here to live and thrive together. We should all be helping each other to live our best lives.”