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Investing in Our Girls, Women and Families

By Luz María Frías, YWCA Minneapolis President and CEO
May 30, 2017
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Luz María Frías, YWCA Minneapolis President and CEO (middle) with Event Chair Sara Russick (left) and Event Co-Chair Kathy Longo (right).

My sincere appreciation to all for joining us at Circle of Women on May 4, 2017. What an amazing group of supporters in the room! As I said that day, I’ve attended the luncheon in the past, but looking at the 1,200+ supporters in the room from the podium this year was a completely different perspective.

Our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women has been visionary for more than 125 years, and I am very proud to lead this important work. In 1891, our Founding Mothers gave birth to YWCA Minneapolis through thoughtful planning and fundraising. Before YWCA Minneapolis, there wasn’t an organization that brought women together to do what we did on May 4 – enjoy each other’s company over lunch, network and support women and their families in this community.

I can report to you today that our services continue to breathe life into our mission in everything we do.

  • Our powerful, anti-bias child care programs ensure that 94% of our children are ready for kindergarten, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, immigration history or family income level.
  • We continue to build the capacity of individuals and organizations to become race equity champions.
  • Young people across Minneapolis – more than 1,400 – have access to our afterschool programs.
  • Our students are exposed to ideas and experiences they might otherwise miss: they meet women scientists working at Mayo Clinic, H.B. Fuller and Boston Scientific; they have leadership experiences in their own communities; and they take part in successful and proven teen pregnancy prevention programming.

Quotes inspire me and keep me grounded. One of my favorites comes from Maya Angelou:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”       

Gains were made decades ago in women’s rights and Civil Rights. Today, however, our mission is being threatened.

Like many of you, I feel anxiety fueled by what we’re seeing across our country and around the world.  When I’m out in the community, I am often asked for ideas on how to make a difference.

The most compelling question I’m asked is: “How can I connect with others of a different race, culture or religious background?”

I am heartened to hear people want to play an active role in eliminating racism in their workplace and their community. We will continue to lead these efforts.

I want to offer my deepest thanks to you for investing in our girls, women, families and strengthening our community. We stand on the shoulders of our founders and predecessors, and with your help we look to the future.