Sheltering Arms Foundation announces 2021-22 slate of grantees, awards $490,000 to 43 Minnesota nonprofits serving children

Sheltering Arms Foundation
Posted Aug 26, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, August 26, 2021 — The Sheltering Arms Foundation, a supporting organization of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota, today announced its 2021-22 financial support of 43 nonprofit organizations that are working hard to deliver high-quality programming to our state’s most vulnerable children. Sheltering Arms will invest $490,000 in innovative direct service programs in early childhood and out-of-school-time youth development, as well as statewide advocacy campaigns designed to improve Minnesota’s policies that impact children and their families.

“Our grantees have been incredibly innovative over this past year, finding ways to support and to build the resilience of children and families through Covid and the uprisings around racial injustice,” said Denise Mayotte, executive director of the Sheltering Arms Foundation. “Sheltering Arms has for a long time focused on children’s mental and social-emotional health, and that is really paying off now, as the challenges and traumas of this time have really needed so much resilience. An absolutely critical part of our funding strategy has also continued to prove vital during this time: We are putting equity at the center of everything we are doing and supporting organizations led by the BIPOC communities they serve. These organizations are truly best able to help their communities deal with trauma through culture.”

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul is one such grantee that continues to adjust and innovate in response to the changing needs of its community. Having just opened a new classroom for older infants to reduce the months-long waiting list, they discovered the pandemic has led to an even greater need among the essential workers they serve: providing for children ages 3 and 4. So Hallie Q. Brown is converting that new infant-toddler classroom to create a new preschool room.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, the pressures on the families we serve have dramatically increased and more than ever, their children need a safe and stable place in which to learn and develop,” said Jonathan Palmer, executive director of Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc. “The grant from the Sheltering Arms Foundation will ensure that Hallie Q. Brown can continue to provide quality education and childcare to children of essential workers and low income families among others. As an African American organization, we employ a community-centered approach for education and holistic family support. This funding from the Foundation will help provide training for teachers and parents and classroom resources for students to give them the best opportunity for success in life.”

One of Minnesota’s industries most devastated, but also most needed, during the pandemic is the childcare industry. As policy and funding continue to be worked on at the legislature, one of the foundation’s advocacy grantees, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, is working to ensure the voices of Black, Indigenous, and families of color are actively informing coalitions that impact this policy, by raising the presence and power of these voices in early childhood care and education advocacy.

“When children, youth and families have the tools to advocate for more responsive systems and institutions, we better uplift community-sourced solutions to complex adaptive challenges facing our state. We better leverage the strengths and assets of children, youth, parents and families – particularly Black, Indigenous and families of color – to ensure we build more equitable communities,” said Bharti Wahi, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. “Sheltering Arms has been a critical and consistent partner of CDF-MN in our work to center the well-being of ALL children and youth in Minnesota.”

Access to developmentally appropriate information about children’s mental health for providers is very limited in greater Minnesota, so in the northeast corner of the state, the Northland Foundation is increasing access to high-quality trainings that support the healthy social-emotional health of young children using a trauma-informed, healing-centered lens. An important element of this program is that it addresses the needs of grandparents, neighbors, and others caring for some of the most vulnerable children in the region.

“The Sheltering Arms Foundation is a strong partner for young children and families in our region,” said Zane Bail, COO of Northland Foundation. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on young children due to changes in routines, physical distancing from family and friends, and breaks in learning continuity. This grant will help bring accessible training and supports to the adults who work with young children and their families to build resiliency and foster social-emotional wellbeing.”

Illusion Theater, based in downtown Minneapolis, is leveraging the arts to build resiliency. Known for their creative theater education programs for older youth that address issues important to children, Illusion is creating a performance residency for younger youth called Keepin’ It Real to address issues such as bullying, sexting, peer pressure, drug use, and more. Illusion will be piloting the program in two middle schools, one in the northern Minnesota community of Pequot Lakes and one on the west side of St. Paul.

“Illusion is excited to be able to work with fifth-graders with our Keepin’ It Real program in rural and urban schools, thanks to a grant from the Sheltering Arms Foundation,” said Michael Robins, executive producing director. “We strive to build resiliency and give youth voice to their thoughts and feelings as they navigate our complex and stressful world. One middle school principal told us that this program helps because,‘The scenes and characters show stories of real kids grappling with the challenges of growing up.’ And, in the words of some of the kids: ‘I learned more about how to deal with the situations I encounter every day.’ ‘Treat other people with kindness ’cause you don’t know what they’ve been through.’ ‘The fact that if I ever need help, I just need to speak up.’ ”

In Sheltering Arms’ early childhood funding category, 20 grantees received a total of $225,500. This includes $85,000 over 7 advocacy/public policy grants, continuing the foundation’s work to improve systems and policies that affect Minnesota’s children. In the youth development funding category, 23 programs received a total of $264,500 in grants. Areas served by the 43 Sheltering Arms grantees include Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Duluth, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Pequot Lakes, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, and Stillwater.

The 43 grantees supported by Sheltering Arms in 2021-2022 are:
* 826 MSP (Minneapolis)—$15,000 grant (youth development)
* Ain Dah Yung Center (St. Paul)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* American Indian Community Housing Org. (Duluth)—$15,000 grant (youth development)
* Banyan Community (south Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities (St. Paul, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Centro Tyrone Guzman (south Minneapolis)—$15,000 grant (early childhood)
* Child Care Aware of MN (St. Paul, serves statewide)—$15,000 grant (advocacy in early child.)
* Children’s Defense Fund/MN (St. Paul, serves statewide)—$15,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* CommonBond Communities (St. Paul, serves 52 cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa)—$15,000 grant (youth development)
* createMPLS (Minneapolis)—$8,000 grant (youth development)
* Duluth Community School Collaborative (Duluth)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Emma Norton Services (St. Paul, serves St. Paul and Maplewood)—$10,000 grant (youth dev.)
* The Family Partnership (Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* First Children’s Finance (Minneapolis, serves statewide and beyond)—$10,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center (St. Paul)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Friendship Academy of the Arts (Minneapolis)—$12,000 grant (youth development)
* Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (Minneapolis, serves metro area)—10,000 grant (youth development)
* Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (St. Paul)—12,500 grant (youth development)
* Hallie Q. Brown Community Ctr, Inc. (St. Paul)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* Hospitality House Youth Development (Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Illusion Theater and School, Inc. (Minneapolis, serving statewide)—$10,000 grant (youth dev.)
* Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (Minneapolis, serves statewide)—$10,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* Joyce Preschool (south Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* Mentor North (Duluth)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Northland Foundation (Duluth, serves northeastern Minnesota)—$15,000 grant (early childhood)
* Northside Achievement Zone (north Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* People Serving People (Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* Perspectives, Inc. (St. Louis Park)—$15,000 grant (early childhood)
* Plymouth Christian Youth Center (north Minneapolis)—$12,000 grant (youth development)
* Project for Pride in Living (Minneapolis, serves inner-city metro neighborhoods)—$15,000 grant (youth development)
* Reading Partners (St. Paul, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* Southside Family Nurturing Center (south Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* St. Croix Family Resource Center (Stillwater, serves St. Croix River Valley)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development (Minnetonka, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* Think Small (St. Paul, serves statewide)—$15,000 grant (advocacy in early childhood)
* Urban Strategies, Inc. (St. Louis, MO, serving north Minneapolis)—$15,000 grant (youth dev.)
* Washburn Center for Children (Minneapolis, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (early child.)
* Way to Grow (Minneapolis, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* Wayside Recovery Center (St. Louis Park)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* We IMPACT! (Minneapolis)—$10,000 grant (early childhood)
* YMCA of the North (Minneapolis, serves metro area)—$10,000 grant (youth development)
* YWCA of Duluth (Duluth)—$5,500 grant (early childhood)
* YWCA of Minneapolis (Minneapolis)—$15,000 grant (advocacy in youth development)

About the Sheltering Arms Foundation
The mission of the Sheltering Arms Foundation is to invest in the lives of children and help them reach their full potential. Sheltering Arms is a supporting organization of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota and is led by a board of trustees made up of women members of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Based in Minneapolis, the foundation funds nonprofit organizations and supports policies that benefit Minnesota children and their families who have the least access to resources. Since its inception as a grantmaking foundation in 1983, the foundation has provided more than 1,340 grants totaling over $17 million. The next deadline for grant applications is in January 2022, with grant applications from Episcopal congregations due on April 1, 2022. For information about submitting a grant request, volunteering, or donating to the foundation, visit or call 612-871-9210 (toll-free: 866-871-9210).