Six Minnesota Nonprofits Recognized for Outstanding Work

St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 7, 2011 – Regardless of the current economic climate, nonprofit organizations have something to celebrate – the recognition of excellence, innovation, advocacy, anti-racism and responsive philanthropy that occurs annually through the Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence and Mission Awards.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and MAP for Nonprofits, excellence and mission awards will go to six local organizations in the presence of more than a thousand of their nonprofit peers Oct. 7 at an awards ceremony held during the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s 25th Annual Conference.

• East Metro Women’s Council, White Bear Lake, for Excellence in a Small Organization
• YWCA of Minneapolis, for Excellence in a Large Organization
• Community Action Duluth, for Innovation
• Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota for Anti-Racism Initiative
• The Arc of Minnesota, for Advocacy
• Headwaters Justice Foundation, for Responsive Philanthropy


More about the Award Recipients

Excellence Award: East Metro Women’s Council -- The mission of the East Metro Women’s Council (EMWC) is to prevent and end homelessness for families with children through housing, resources and opportunity. The organization houses more than 300 homeless women, men and children each year in suburban Ramsey and Washington Counties. EMWC helps clients manage and overcome significant barriers such as mental illness, chemical dependency, learning disabilities, domestic violence, sexual assault and other trauma to achieve their goals of self-reliance. EMWC was the first family supportive housing program in the Twin Cities (and possibly the nation) to offer dialectical behavior therapy skills training in a supportive housing setting. This groundbreaking program has had a transformative impact on the lives of homeless and low income parents and their children. EMWC’s excellence award recognizes the organization’s alignment with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, which include good governance, financial management, transparency and accountability, evaluation and strategic alliances, to name a few of the areas judged for excellence awards.

Excellence Award
YWCA of Minneapolis -- The mission of the YWCA of Minneapolis is to eliminate racism, empower women and girls and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. In 2010, the YWCA impacted the lives of more than 25,000 people. More than 18,000 people are members of their fitness centers including nearly 3,000 scholarship members. More than 2,000 children and youth are served through community programs and more than 2,000 people take part in their racial justice and public policy work. Each YWCA program is measured by its ability to help people help themselves. Participant outcomes, demographics, program expenses, and staff performance are measured quarterly. Program results demonstrate that 88 percent of youth show improvement in academic success, social/emotional development, or physical health and that 96 percent of children, infant through kindergarten, are on track with age appropriate development. The excellence award recognizes the YWCA of Minneapolis for its alignment with the MCN Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

WACOSA, which provides services to people with disabilities from its site in Waite Park, received an honorable mention in the Excellence Awards category.

Innovation Award
Community Action Duluth --
Community Action Duluth has created two Green Jobs initiatives to further its mission to employ innovative strategies that will mobilize low-income people and communities. Community Action Duluth’s Seeds of Success program hires individuals to grow vegetables in distressed lot locations throughout Duluth. Through Seeds of Success, Community Action Duluth has developed nine garden sites. The program has provided 75 volunteers with the opportunity to learn basics of vegetable planting, harvesting, marketing and other job skills. Community Action Duluth’s second program, Stream Corps, works to restore the 42 streams that pass through Duluth on the way to Lake Superior. Through Stream Corps, Community Action Duluth has planted 20,000 trees that will stabilize 20 miles of stream bank over the next two years. Stream Corps employees and volunteers have also learned how to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to integrate marketing, public outreach and forestry.

Anti-Racism Initiative Award
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota --
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota is the state’s only Muslim civil rights organization that serves Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. With its mission to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civic liberties and empower American Muslims, CAIR-MN provides “Know Your Rights” training to Muslim citizens and community leaders throughout the state. CAIR-MN also provides a “Journalist’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims” to encourage state journalists to offer a fair and balanced perspective in their coverage of Islam and Muslims. It extends this training to elected officials and law enforcement, addressing issues of anti-Muslim bias and presenting them with its annual civil rights report.

Advocacy Award
The Arc of Minnesota
-- The Arc of Minnesota serves 40,000 people statewide by promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With its Disability Days at the Capitol and Tuesdays & Thursdays at the Capitol, The Arc provides hundreds of people with an opportunity to participate in rallies, visit legislators and discuss the importance of disability programs and services. The Arc also organizes opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families to testify at legislative hearings, and holds town hall forums where communities are able to meet with elected officials and discuss related policies.

Responsive Philanthropy Award
Headwaters Foundation for Justice --
Through grant making and organizational assistance, Headwaters Foundation for Justice fosters just and sustainable communities that embrace social, racial, economic and environmental equity. The work of Headwaters falls into four program areas: grant making, capacity building, donor advisory and educational programs. In its 28-year history, Headwaters has directed close to $9 million in grants to Minnesota organizations serving low-income communities, communities of color, GLBTQ people, people with disabilities, immigrants and other historically excluded constituencies.



Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is the statewide association of 2000 nonprofit organizations. Through its website, resource publications, workshops and events, cost-saving programs and advocacy, MCN continually works to inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector.

MAP for Nonprofits
MAP for Nonprofits unleashes the power of the nonprofit sector to achieve powerful results by assuring the most effective leadership, governance, strategic initiatives and management of nonprofits. MAP’s innovative, cost-effective management consultation and support to Twin Cities’ nonprofit organizations includes board recruitment, strategic development and services like accounting, legal services, technology and more.

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