For more than a century, The Woman's Club of Minneapolis has been a powerful force for good in our community. Working in partnership for positive social change brought The Club’s founders together in 1907, and charitable giving and community involvement remain at the core of our mission.
Rapid changes in urban society at the turn of the 19th century brought a host of social problems: waves of immigrants crowded the cities, new factories teemed with workers—including children—laboring for long hours under terrible conditions, and industrialization was taking its toll on the environment. Club members responded by establishing lunch programs and milk programs in the public schools. They were a major supporter of the fledgling charity that would grow into the tremendously successful Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA), which today serves some 24,000 individuals each year. Early Club members established libraries, kindergartens and public playgrounds; they enacted the state’s first child labor protection laws; they held fundraisers and donated their earnings to local nonprofits struggling to improve living conditions for the poor; they created scholarship funds to help younger women attend college. The Woman’s Club became a place where women could collectively educate themselves about social problems and organize reform efforts which translated their opinions into public policies and practices.
Since its founding, The Club has granted more than five million dollars to local nonprofits that help women and children in our community, and our members provide hundreds of volunteer hours to these causes each year. The Club also restored and maintains the Ard Godfrey House, the oldest remaining frame residence in Minneapolis, as a historic site and resource. Funding for our programs comes from fundraising events and from donations, gifts and memorials from members and friends. We are proud and honored to continue this tradition.