Advancing Equity throughout the State
In Northfield, WINGS (Women in Northfield Giving Support), one of Minnesota Community Foundation’s community affiliates, works to educate and expand the number of women in philanthropy, build and strengthen community through pooled investments and improve the lives of women and youth.
“Our goal is to support women and youth. There are a lot of great organizations that focus on a wide range of concerns, but we saw a need for something that focused on the women and children who so often make up the core of a healthy community,” said Corinne Smith, WINGS Outreach Committee member.
WINGS supports the Latina Agripreneurs program, which - in turn - supports Latina women developing careers in sustainable agriculture, including teaching them how to raise chickens. In addition to flock care, the program participants are taught sustainable farming practices. This mix of skills helps women gain the skills needed for higher-paying agriculture jobs, enabling them to move towards self-sufficiency.
WINGS funding also helped one elementary school make its Book in a Bag program more equitable. The program’s goal was to encourage reading at home, but teachers were struggling to find age-appropriate books for students with developmental needs. With WINGS funding, the special education department was able to set up its own library specifically for students with special needs, allowing them to have the same assignments as their peers, but with books at their own reading level.
WINGS not only lives its mission through the projects it funds, but how it operates. The volunteer-run organization invites youth representatives to sit on their board - ensuring young voices are heard in funding decisions. WINGS also adjusted their membership model with an eye to income equity, allowing members to donate memberships and better engage community members with limited financial means.
Funding a variety of programs and projects that target different needs among Northfield residents, WINGS recognizes the importance of meeting communities where they are as a part of creating change.