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Learn how one group of women are transforming how they support community.

If GIVING WoMN could be summed up by one song, it would be “We’re All in This Together” from the movie “High School Musical.” Since its inception in 2005, this organization has made it their mission to educate women about philanthropy and make an impact through collective giving.

“You can give a donation here and a donation there, but if we're doing this all together with this group of women, we can make a bigger impact in the Twin Cities,” said Mary Weber, board president of GIVING WoMN. “That's what we're all about is trying to make a difference and help make our community a better place.”

GIVING WoMN consists of a giving circle made up of more than 100 women in the Twin Cities who pool their annual membership contributions together to provide meaningful grants to local nonprofits that focus on health, education and human services. Each year they recommend six to nine grants ranging from $10,000 - $30,000 to nonprofits from their fund with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.

If we’re doing this all together with this group of women, we can have a bigger impact in the Twin Cities.

Mary Weber, GIVING WoMN Board President

“The annual grants process is women-driven,” said Mary. “As a member not only do you contribute to the grants pool, you’re also able to nominate and vote on possible partners to support each year.”

Through the process, members can learn about and hear directly from organizations addressing critical needs in the seven-county metro area. It highlights the challenges nonprofits face and shows the creative solutions they are deploying to meet the needs of the people they serve.

Making a Collective Impact

At the end of each annual grants cycle, the organization celebrates the grantees at an annual meeting, where each organization has the opportunity to share their story with the entire GIVING WoMN membership.

“One of our grantees is an organization called Black Men Teach,” said board treasurer Diane Slayton. “That year I happened to be on the grants committee and did the site visit, so I felt close to the organization and its mission. When the executive director spoke at the annual meeting, it was inspiring to hear about how they used the grant money and what their plans were for the future.”

GIVING WoMN has been able to make a tremendous impact on its grantees, including 2020 and 2024 grantee, The Lift Garage.

“GIVING WoMN is such an amazing organization,” said Cathy Heying, Executive Director & Founder of The Lift Garage. “Not only have they provided us with significant financial support, but they have also been so supportive of our organizational growth and development. I really feel like GIVING WoMN is a true partner in our work and that they are invested in us as individuals and as an organization. The entire process is so accessible and the conversations with them so fruitful. I love when it feels like our funders are doing the work with us and that is how it is with GIVING WoMN.”

By shining a light on these organizations and their work, GIVING WoMN creates a foundation for members to increase their community engagement and grow their personal relationship with local nonprofits as volunteers or board members.

2024 GIVING WoMN Grantees

Over the last 19 years GIVING WoMN has recommended over $2 million in grants to over 100 nonprofit partners. “We are always looking for ways to get involved beyond writing checks,” Mary said.

I really feel like GIVING WoMN is a true partner in our work and that they are invested in us as individuals and as an organization.

Cathy Heying, The Lift Garage Executive Director & Founder

In addition to the member-led grants process, members also plan a variety of educational opportunities including gatherings like their annual “eye opener event” to help increase awareness and understanding of important issues impacting the community.

“Each year we hold an in-person event where we do a deep dive on a topic, bringing in a panel of subject-matter experts," said Diane. “This past year it was caregiving, looking at both the health side and the financial components of taking care of a loved one, like power of attorney, health care directives and the resources care providers may need. We also listened to stories from caregivers.”

As women in philanthropy, they have used this annual event to explore issues that have profound impacts on women and the Twin Cities, such as incarceration, human trafficking, food insecurity and the opioid epidemic.

Working with the Foundation to Extend Reach

Since opening a fund with the Foundation, GIVING WoMN has been able to expand its reach and continue to evolve.

"In our collaboration with Aurea we are interested in leaning further into the Foundation’s experience and capabilities in investing in community-led solutions to amplify GIVING WoMN’s impact,” said Diane of their philanthropic advisor, Aurea Gerard.

“We’re looking at how we can continue to build relationships with Twin Cities nonprofits and improve our processes to support them,” Mary added. "As we look ahead to our 20th anniversary next year, we’re excited to create space for more women to join us around the giving circle. We are making space for the next generation of leaders in collective giving in the Twin Cities.”

GIVING WoMN is a part of a larger giving collective called Philanos. To learn more about GIVING WoMN, visit

To explore opening a charitable fund with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, contact one of our gift planners at 651.224.5463 or by email at

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