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Serving Essential Workers and Adapting to Virtual Models

By Michelle Basham, President and CEO, YWCA Minneapolis
April 3, 2020
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Friday, April 3, 2020


Consistent with the order of our Governor and to protect the safety and well-being of our YWCA Minneapolis community, we temporarily suspended operations at our three fitness facilities and our Early Childhood Education centers (except Abbott) as of mid-March. As a result, we also had to make the difficult decision to temporarily furlough most of the employees working in these programs. We have provided some relief to these employees in addition to making them aware of public resources to assist during this difficult time. We look forward to bringing these employees back as soon as we are able.

Despite some of our programs being temporarily closed, we continue to deliver our mission and strengthen our community.

We are operating our Early Childhood Education center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital throughout this pandemic to serve critical workers. And we are actively working to open a second center in April which also will prioritize serving the children of essential workers. If possible, we hope to re-open a third center by late April.

We introduced Health and Wellness programs through online channels, including Home Fitness Bingo, YWCA On Demand fitness videos, personal trainer tip videos, live group fitness classes and Otters swimming practices on Zoom! As one Otters parent tells us, “I cannot overstate how important these meetings have been in helping my daughter maintain some sense of normalcy, routine and calm. She gets to connect with her teammates, friends and coaches daily who are all such an important part of her life.”

Our Girls and Youth teams are developing online, interactive sessions to stay engaged with our youth during this uncertain and confusing time.

Our Racial Justice and Public Policy team will host a special edition of It’s Time to Act!TM on April 23. Through virtual conversation, we will expand understanding of systemic inequities, racism and how crises like COVID-19 amplify discrimination, and develop action plans to combat this in our community. Stay tuned for details on how to join the conversation.

Our signature fundraising event, renamed Connecting Our Circles, is being held virtually on April 29. Join us to hear inspiring stories, support our work and honor our Woman of Power Award recipient Shelley Carthen Watson.

YWCA Minneapolis has served our community for over 128 years. With your support, we will come through this pandemic stronger than before and continue to serve our community another 128 years.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our Emergency Fund. Your contribution is crucial to ensuring the near-term and long-term viability of YWCA Minneapolis.

We are grateful for your ongoing support.


Thank you and be well,

Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ.
President and CEO
YWCA Minneapolis