On a Mission

YWCA St. Paul 2019 Annual Report

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Letter from our CEO

Dear YWCA St. Paul Friends & Family,

I like to tell people we’re ‘on a mission’ here at YWCA St. Paul. We’re focused on fighting racism, gender inequity, homelessness, and employment and educational disparities. We also help people meet their health and wellness goals.

In any year, those are challenging issues. But I think most would agree that this has been an exceptionally hard year.

A pandemic. A global uprising for racial justice. Economic upheaval that has led to lost jobs, homes and stability across the country. These challenges have impacted all of us and the people served by YWCA St. Paul have been especially hard hit.

In the face of these unprecedented challenges, we have done what we have always done—we have been there to meet the needs of the growing number of women and families who need us most. We have brought people together to join in difficult conversations; conversations that lead to change. And we have shared information that enlightens and empowers our community.

Helping our neighbors find jobs, stable housing and academic success, while maintaining health and wellness, has never been more important. And helping our community come together to address racism and work for racial justice has gained special urgency.

Despite all the turbulence and pain, I’m sustained by the tremendous generosity of our supporters. Your support of YWCA St. Paul has enabled us to fight the twin crises of COVID-19 and systemic racism, while we also continue to provide life-changing services to those who need them most. Your support allows us to be flexible and responsive to new community needs as they emerge. I hope this report will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on all those who have been impacted by your generosity.

Thank you to all the donors and volunteers who support our work to eliminate racism, empower women and create a thriving, equitable community for all. You make our work possible, and we deeply appreciate your partnership.

Sincerely,

Gaye Adams Massey
CEO, YWCA St. Paul

YWCA St. Paul is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Mission in Action

With our Rapid Re-Housing program, families and individuals receive help to transition out of emergency shelter. Through our Transitional Housing Program, families build a path out of homelessness while living in one of three YWCA transitional housing sites. And for families who have experienced long-term homelessness, we offer assistance through our Permanent Supportive Housing. Our programs provide participants with safe, secure housing and give them time to build their credit and pay down debt, while pursuing career, academic and parenting goals.

By providing education and support, our employment programs guide individuals to meaningful, sustainable employment. Our Career Pathways program provides training for certifications, case management and ongoing support that empowers participants to overcome barriers and obtain living-wage jobs in high-demand fields. Through YW Works (funded by Ramsey County’s Workforce Solutions), we deliver culturally specific employment services to African American participants of the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

We offer young people a strong start for building bright futures. Girls Emerge targets 14 to 18-year-olds, providing individual coaching and group work in employability skills and job placement, academic success and higher education, leadership and advocacy development, as well as health and wellness. The Youth Employment Program assists young people in obtaining and maintaining stable employment. This includes paid work experience, placement, and job readiness training.

Health & fitness memberships at YWCA St. Paul grant unlimited access to the Health & Fitness Center’s cardio and strength training equipment, pool, sauna and group fitness classes. Members enjoy specialty exercise classes, aquatics, personal training and more. Frequent fitness discounts and financial assistance help make a healthy lifestyle affordable for the whole community.

Housing & Supportive Services

With our Rapid Re-Housing program, families and individuals receive help to transition out of emergency shelter. Through our Transitional Housing Program, families build a path out of homelessness while living in one of three YWCA transitional housing sites. And for families who have experienced long-term homelessness, we offer assistance through our Permanent Supportive Housing. Our programs provide participants with safe, secure housing and give them time to build their credit and pay down debt, while pursuing career, academic and parenting goals.

Youth Development

We offer young people a strong start for building bright futures. Girls Emerge targets 14 to 18-year-olds, providing individual coaching and group work in employability skills and job placement, academic success and higher education, leadership and advocacy development, as well as health and wellness. The Youth Employment Program assists young people in obtaining and maintaining stable employment. This includes paid work experience, placement, and job readiness training.

Employment & Economic Development

By providing education and support, our employment programs guide individuals to meaningful, sustainable employment. Our Career Pathways program provides training for certifications, case management and ongoing support that empowers participants to overcome barriers and obtain living-wage jobs in high-demand fields. Through YW Works (funded by Ramsey County’s Workforce Solutions), we deliver culturally specific employment services to African American participants of the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

Health & Wellness

Health & fitness memberships at YWCA St. Paul grant unlimited access to the Health & Fitness Center’s cardio and strength training equipment, pool, sauna and group fitness classes. Members enjoy specialty exercise classes, aquatics, personal training and more. Frequent fitness discounts and financial assistance help make a healthy lifestyle affordable for the whole community.

participated in youth programs, building a sustainable future.

2019 Highlights

For participants, the YW Stride program is much more than just a roof over their head. With the support of a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation’s Homelessness Prevention Program, we launched YW Stride, a youth housing program targeted at preventing homelessness among young women as they transition out of foster care. In addition to providing rental assistance for up to 18 months, the program offers support services including weekly coaching to assist with education and career goals, assistance with building support systems and relationships, and guidance navigating community resources.

Building skills that prepare young people to enter the workforce is the focus of the Youth Employment Services. Using ‘best practice’ empowerment models, the program builds confidence and fosters development of the skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to thrive. Last year, the program utilized the “At Your Service” curriculum from the University of Minnesota to offer participants a certificate in customer service best practices. Paid work experience is a program highlight, giving young participants exposure to diverse employers, including Cerenity Care, ComMUSICation, the Salvation Army, St. Paul Parks & Recreation, and YWCA’s own Communications Department, IT and Building Operations. Participants leave with the skills needed to obtain entry level positions, and they network and explore careers that are the stepping-stones to success. Because of its impact, this program was awarded a WIOA contract through Workforce Solutions, a department of Ramsey County.

Twice a month, young leaders from across the state come together to share experiences and discuss ways to tackle disparities at home. They are members of the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet, part of the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (YWIMN)—launched by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota in partnership with the MN Governor’s Office.

YWCA St. Paul hosts the Cabinet, bringing together 32 dynamic young women and youth leaders (ages 16–24) to ensure that the work of YWIMN stays grounded in the lived experiences of its members and reflects the community-specific challenges and solutions they identified in their Blueprint for Action.

Members bring those learnings to life—crafting policy initiatives with their newly developed leadership and advocacy skills. This year, the voices of 21 new members joined this important work.

In response to the growing homelessness crisis, the City of St. Paul launched the Families First initiative, designed to keep kids in school by promoting stable housing through rent subsidies. YWCA St. Paul was selected by the City to support families at two schools. Keeping students in their homes and schools is vital for their success and for the health of our community.

As a contractor of Workforce Solutions, a department of Ramsey County, YWCA St. Paul delivers culturally specific employment services to African Americans through our YW Works (YWW) program. 2019 was a year of significant investment in the professional development of our counselors, helping them build best practice skill sets to ensure that both parents’ and children’s needs are considered and addressed as part of the overall support services offered. For example, our counselors refined their skills in motivational interviewing by helping participants explore and resolve insecurities and ambivalent feelings. Empowerment workshops and culturally-specific financial literacy are also hallmarks of this program.

As a participant in a Community of Practice, YWCA is empowering people to think beyond meeting basic day-to-day needs – giving them the skills and support to make dreams like homeownership a reality. This initiative takes participants beyond just budgeting and explores relationships with money and how values impact financial decisions. Sponsored by Northwest Area Foundation, the program focuses on building wealth and financial literacy in the African American community.

Training for ‘in-demand’ jobs is one way to economic health, but we take it a step further. Health disparities for truck drivers are stark. In response, participants in our Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) program were the focus when Career Pathways piloted the Allina Health-funded Driven to Succeed: Healthy Living Project. Designed to promote fitness and healthy eating habits, participants learned exercises from Health & Fitness Center instructors. This was paired with classes in nutrition and making healthy meals with a licensed nutritionist. A cornerstone was the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) from the U of M’s Extension Service, which focuses on creating behavior changes through smart eating habits and increased activity.

Often, falls have a ripple effect on all aspects of an older adult’s quality of life. Targeting the health of seniors was core to a partnership between our Health & Fitness Center and the University of St. Thomas’ Department of Health & Exercise Sciences. Building off a foundation of ‘mindfulness,’ we hosted a cohort of seniors piloting fall prevention through exercise and enhanced strength.

Launching a community-wide conversation around domestic violence was the centerpiece of YWCA St. Paul’s ‘Break the Silence of Domestic Violence’ event. Using dramatic performances paired with facilitated sessions, participants had challenging conversations, learned how to recognize domestic violence behavior and gathered tips for supporting victims and survivors.

(127 families) benefited from our Housing & Supportive Services last year.

Empowering Women

The women who founded YWCA St. Paul in 1907 did not have the right to vote, but they saw unmet needs in the next generation of women in their city. From the migrant workers who were the initial focus of our founders, to the families we serve today, our history has been built on providing access and opportunities to women and their families.

Providing safe, secure housing to women and their families, while giving parents time to build their credit and pay down debt, is critical in the successful pursuit of career, academic and parenting goals. We provide training and certification programs that equip participants to build independence and prepare them for in-demand careers. In all of our programs, services are combined with one-on-one and peer support to encourage growth and accountability.

When women and girls have the resources to build independence... they are able to access opportunities that were previously out of reach.

When people have the resources needed to build independence—whether it’s financial, social or academic—they are able to access opportunities that were previously out of reach. They are able to build stability, reach for their dreams and break through the barriers that held back generations before them.

Our mission isn’t limited to our social services. We inform and empower our community to take action to advance racial justice and gender equity through our community events, workshops, advocacy and trainings. We embrace the power of caring communities, and everything we do is designed to support and strengthen individuals, families and communities.

Claudia | YW Success Story

After completing YWCA St. Paul’s Transitional Housing Program, Claudia returned to leverage
YWCA St. Paul’s employment services. As a participant in YW Works, she gained the skills and confidence she needed to secure meaningful employment at a job she enjoys. Claudia now is living the life she envisioned for herself and her children. 

pursued job training on their path to secure employment and family stability.

eliminating racism

A 2018 study ranked Minnesota as 47th in terms of racial integration, based on data that showed racial disparities in income, employment, homeownership, and educational achievement. (Wallethub, 2018)

YWCA St. Paul’s programs in supportive housing, employment and economic advancement, and youth development address areas of deep and persistent racial disparity in our community.

Our work to support low-income individuals and families from communities of color in breaking down barriers, building skills, achieving stability and pursuing their personal and career goals helps mitigate the impact and legacy of racism and poverty. The success of the individuals and families we serve affirms that everyone can thrive if they are afforded the right opportunities and support.

The success of the individuals and families we serve affirms that everyone can thrive if they are afforded the right opportunities and support.

Our service model emphasizes supportive services that connect participants to fundamental resources, including workforce readiness, life skills, financial literacy and parenting skills. 

We also provide unwavering encouragement and support. Our services focus on the strengths of our families and are informed by an understanding of the trauma so many have experienced. 

We build bridges to new opportunities that help families stabilize and position themselves to prosper, creating new possibilities for themselves, their children and generations to come.

Cassandra | YW Success Story

photo from the side of an African American mother and child hugging on couch

For Cassandra*, a domestic abuse survivor, learning to trust again was the first step in
re-building her life. With encouragement from her YWCA St. Paul employment manager and members of her support group, she found the courage to enroll her youngest child in the Kids Care program at YWCA. That gave her the independence needed to take her next step – finding a new job. “It was a long process, but the YWCA offered me support and encouragement—they helped me feel empowered.” *Name changed for privacy

improved health and wellness at our Health & Fitness Center.

Promoting Peace, Justice, Freedom and Dignity for all

As an organization, we are committed to living our mission as stated in our Equity Statement:

YWCA St. Paul is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

We believe that all lives have inherent and equal value. We envision an inclusive community where people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, faiths, economic status, and gender identities have equitable opportunities to benefit from institutions and systems that support equal justice and opportunity.

We work towards this vision by promoting racial and gender equity and breaking down barriers to opportunity, prosperity and equal justice, so that everyone has what they need to thrive. Our work to achieve racial equity and women’s empowerment encourages investments in women of color and their families, facilitating their path towards self-determination and building a stronger community and future for everyone.

As an organization, we are committed to ongoing assessment and improvement of the equity of our own culture, policies, decision-making practices and composition. We view our diversity as a source of strength and are committed to sustaining it and to reflecting the community we serve. We acknowledge the challenges of working across difference, and purposely seek to deepen our understanding of the life experiences, histories, cultures, traditions and challenges of others in our organization and in our community. We believe that fostering understanding supports our commitment to equity in our organization and in our delivery of services.

Pete | YW Success Story

Physical health was a source of dignity and independence for Pete. When he struggled with health issues in his 80s, Pete proved that lifelong fitness can be its own reward. His membership on the Masters swim team at YWCA St. Paul’s Health & Fitness Center helped him recover from a heart condition and return to breaking records in the pool. 

YOUR SUPPORT CAN CHANGE A LIFE

Your support for YWCA St. Paul makes our community a better place for people facing adversity. We are able to provide vital services because donors like you help to fund:

  • $1,000: One week of job placement counseling services.
  • $700: Annual fitness scholarship for a low-income family.
  • $500: Three months of job readiness training for teens.
  • $200: Basic needs supplies for victims of domestic abuse
  • $100: School supplies for a child in temporary housing
  • $50: One Commercial Driver’s License testing fee

Thank you to our supporters

We are so grateful to each and every one of our donors, sponsors, foundation funders, board members and volunteers! Your contributions to YWCA St. Paul are a valued investment into our community and its future. Thank you!

Sweet Success Sponsors

Gifts and payments to YWCA St. Paul supporting our Annual Fundraiser

Mara & Landon Ascheman
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Bremer Bank
Commonwealth Properties
Ecolab
Go Get Fred, LLC.
Hamline University
Beverly Jones Heydinger
Imagine IT
McKnight Foundation
Medtronic
Red Cow/Red Rabbit
Regions Hospital
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations
Securian Financial
Smith Family Foundation
3M
Barbara E. Tretheway
University of St. Thomas
US Bank
Paris Watts-Stanfield
Chris & Stew Widdess
Xcel Energy
Cassandra & Robert Yarbrough

Board Members

January 1, 2019–December 31, 2019

Mara Ascheman
Kristin Beckmann
Charles Bradley, Jr.
Kim Ferguson
Tina Grant
Sara E. Gross Methner
Steve Halvorsen
Robyn Hansen
Beverly J. Heydinger
Gaye Adams Massey, ex officio member
Yvonne Mitchell
Mary Nash
Kathleen Pinkett
Barbara Tretheway
Paris Watts-Stanfield
Yohuru Williams
Cassandra Yarbrough

Summary of Financial Activity

January 1, 2019–December 31, 2019

Revenue

  • Contributions $1,851,806
  • Government Grants $1,529,369
  • Health & Fitness Center $1,214,782
  • Rental Income $665,072
  • United Way $439,950
  • Debt Forgiveness $107,583
  • Program Service Fees $94,593
  • Investment Income $32,674
  • Professional Services $23,862
  • Miscellaneous $19,416
  • Total Revenue $5,979,107

Expenses

  • Program Expenses $4,489,627
  • General and Administrative $787,267
  • Fundraising $521,496
  • Total Expenses* $5,798,390
  • Change in Net Assets $180,717

*Reflects $636,863 in depreciation and other non-cash expenses, including $338,936 on housing units for homeless families where contracts stipulate no interest and no principal payments are due for the term of the loan.

Balance Sheet

Assets

  • Current Assets $1,389,744
  • Long Term Assets $6,318,948
  • Total Assets $7,708,692
  • Current Liabilities $1,051,155
  • Debt Requiring Payments $3,248,642
  • Debt Forgivable $460,455

Liabilities

  • Total Liabilities $4,860,252
  • Net Assets $2,848,440
  • Total Liabilities & Net Assets $7,708,692
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