2012 Mission Award Winner in Responsive Philanthropy
Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota was founded in 1983 as the first statewide women’s fund in the nation. With a mission to achieve economic, political and social equality for all women and girls in Minnesota, the foundation has invested over $14 million in social change grantmaking to more than 1,200 nonprofits across the state over the past three decades.
Maintaining a unique niche in the state’s philanthropic landscape, the Foundation funds innovative social change programs, builds women’s philanthropy, conducts and disseminates research on the status of women and girls, advocates for public policies to improve the lives of women and families, and educates the public about the successes and challenges of Minnesota’s women and girls.
Responding to the growing prevalence of sex trafficking of girls in Minnesota, in 2011 the Foundation launched MN Girls Are Not for Sale, a five-year, $5 million campaign. The MN Girls campaign’s goals include redefining prostituted domestic girls as victims of a crime; ensuring access to housing and treatment services for these victims; decreasing demand for child prostitution through effective law enforcement and policies; and educating and mobilizing public support and activism to end the sex trafficking of girls.
Since November 2011, the Women’s Foundation has awarded $366,500 in grants to build a strong, multi-sector response as a part of the MN Girls Are Not for Sale campaign. The Foundation has also partnered closely with the University of Minnesota to conduct groundbreaking research regarding the prevalence of sex trafficking in Minnesota; helped pass the Minnesota Safe Harbor Law in July 2010, a law that decriminalizes girls under 16 who’ve been prostituted; and raised public awareness to help ensure safe communities that know how to take action.
Working closely with leaders of the community that have expertise on the sex trafficking of girls, the Foundation has established a collaborative model in partnership with dedicated stakeholders from across the state— advocates, donors, elected officials, state agencies, corporations, law enforcement, judges, faith communities and many others—to create and enact a strategic plan and action for Minnesota with a clear message that Minnesota girls are not for sale.