The Sheltering Arms Foundation, a supporting organization of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota, is pleased to announce that five women leaders have joined its board of trustees. The 2021-2022 class of trustees includes Sarah Elizabeth Babbitt of St. Paul, Joan Gudorf of Edina, Ifeyinwa Ikegwuani of Brooklyn Park, Kathy Schweikart of Minneapolis and Lisa Westberg of North Mankato. The foundation’s newly elected board president for fiscal year 2021-2022 is Andrea Larson of Minneapolis, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral who leads operations for Cargill’s global corporate responsibility.
The new additions bring the Sheltering Arms’ board roster to 20 trustees. Trustees, who serve up to two three-year terms, are women members of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota who volunteer their time and expertise to guide the foundation. Board members are selected for their diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences, and represent congregations throughout Minnesota. They are responsible for being the fiduciary and strategic leaders of the organization.
“Our work as a board this year will have heightened importance given our community’s current and historic racial trauma. A few years ago, we started our diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Now we are launching into a two-year contract with an incredible organization to help us dive into what anti-racism means for us as a board and as individuals, how to create a long-term plan for having a shared language and shared understanding, and how we actualize what that looks like in our grantmaking, our advocacy, our partnerships, and in our investments,” said new board president Andrea Larson, who has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in public policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She has served on Sheltering Arms’ board since 2016. She is Sheltering Arms’ first board member who is a third-generation trustee – her grandmother, Marnie Lind, was a founding board member of the foundation, and her mother, Peggy Larson, also served as a trustee.
“I am really excited and proud of the work we are doing,” Larson continued. “For example, a huge area of change is the work our stewardship committee is doing on impact investing – we found a new financial manager and we are in the process of moving our endowment funds. Our whole board is really committed to aligning our values across all those priority areas. We will always have work to do in this, because we onboard new trustees every year. We all hope that as this work gets embedded deeper and deeper in the organization, it becomes part of who we are and what we do. We will operate in an anti-racist way, it will just be how we do things. We are ready to start on that journey.”
Sarah Elizabeth Babbitt, resident of St. Paul and member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, volunteers as a counselor at the Episcopal Youth Music Camp in Minnesota and was formerly a volunteer ESL teacher at Centro Guadalupano in Minneapolis. As a member of Trinity Wall Street in New York City, she volunteered with their Brown Bag Lunch Program. She also volunteered with Hour Children: Working Women Program for Formerly Incarcerated Women in Long Island City. She earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and an MA in English education from City College of New York. She currently teaches as an English instructor at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Previously, she was a high school English teacher in the New York City Public Schools.
Joan Gudorf, resident of Edina and member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. She has volunteered as a Sunday school teacher as well as participated in work projects on the Gulf Coast through Habitat for Humanity and in Guatamala with Friends of San Lucas. In addition, she is passionate about getting out the vote and has worked to increase voter registration and participation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s in social work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She currently is a school social worker in St. Paul, where she has worked since 1998. Previously she served as a clinical social worker at Community University Healthcare Clinic, providing mental health services to disenfranchised clients using a trauma-informed lens.
Ifeyinwa Ikegwuani, resident of Brooklyn Park and member of Church of Epiphany, volunteered in the community as founder and officer for Hearts2Help, providing necessary essentials to the homeless community in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She also served as a member of the Black Student Union and Black Motivated Women at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, society and environment from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She currently works as project coordinator for Snap Install. Previously she worked as program coordinator for the University of Minnesota, planning and executing some of the university’s largest events.
Kathy Schweikart, resident of Minneapolis and member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, serves as treasurer for her church and is also treasurer for Circle of the Beloved, the Minnesota chapter of the Episcopal Service Corps. Previously, she has served as board member and board president of the Minneapolis chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, volunteered assisting newly arrived Hmong refugees, tutored and mentored students, and led a Girl Scout troop. She earned a bachelor of business administration from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a master’s in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Retired now, she had a 35-year career in various finance roles with General Mills, Inc.
Lisa Westberg, resident of North Mankato and member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mankato, served on her church’s vestry and helped maneuver through the on-boarding and later retirement of their priest and navigating through Covid. She also volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and has played with the Mankato Community Band for more than 20 years, performing in summer concerts in the park. She earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from South Dakota State University. She currently is a staff pharmacist at Mayo Clinic Health System hospital in Mankato.
The new trustees and board president assume their positions as 43 nonprofit organizations supported by Sheltering Arms’ 2020-2021 grants work to meet the needs of at-risk children. The foundation is investing $490,000 this year in programs that serve Minnesota’s most vulnerable children – focusing on 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. 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 Sheltering Arms Inclusion Statement
The Sheltering Arms Foundation celebrates the diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, class, religion and geographic location of the children and families it serves across Minnesota. We seek to create equal access to resources in order to build a just society in which all children may reach their full potential.
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 http://sheltering-arms.org or call 612-871-9210 (toll-free: 866-871-9210).
CONTACT: Denise Mayotte, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-871-9210