January 2021 | YWCA Winter Newsletter

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FROM THE CEO’S DESK GRATEFUL, HOPEFUL, AND READY FOR A NEW YEAR Most of us are happy to shelve 2020. I’m moving forward with hope and gratitude for three takeaways from the past year. This team has really tough stuff. People of courage are drawn to work at YWCA Cass Clay, called to stand up for fellow human beings. When challenged by a deadly virus, they swiftly reinvented everything—from ways to serve meals to adding distance learning for kids. Besides amazing compassion, our team has remarkable abilities to pivot, innovate, and execute decisively. There are times to tear down walls. Emergency shelters can’t afford to build or keep up plumbing for every room, instead

using shared bathrooms. In 2020, this meant we had limited ability for onsite quarantine. Yet, what if we could tear out less-used spaces – like a coffee lounge – to add bathrooms to adjacent rooms? This vision and $291,000 in CARES Act funding paved the way. Some years ago, we joined with Sanford to begin providing respite care for homeless women recovering from illness, a case where a couple in-room bathrooms would be helpful. We now have seven, providing onsite quarantine during the pandemic. Plus we’ve gained a resource for respite care, and can better serve people with mobility challenges. Together, many saved the day. We’re big believers in partnerships,


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and 2020 brought even greater alliances with city, county, and state agencies. YWCA donors also saved the day. When we were cut off from event and other fundraising sources, many kind donors stepped in with generosity that kept our doors open for women escaping danger. I realize that some who read this are still feeling far more loss than hope. Please reach out for support if you need it. We’re still in this together.

Erin Prochnow CEO, YWCA Cass Clay

We overcame monumental challenges in 2020. And every moment, 24 hours a day,

OUR DOORS STAYED OPEN. You made this difference for women and children. You kept our mission uninterrupted. And when you give, not a moment goes by without safety. Giving Hearts Day is the best 24 hours to give thanks to matching by Dakota Medical Foundation and other generous donors. Go to givingheartsday.org to schedule a gift online or give on February 11, or mail a check to YWCA (4650 38th Ave S, Ste 110, Fargo, ND 58104). Please date checks February 11 or note “Giving Hearts Day” in the memo.

CHAMPIONS OF EMPOWERMENT On February 11, join us online to see one woman’s journey from being helped by YWCA to serving others on the board of directors. We will also recognize friends of YWCA and our CEO will share her vision for the year ahead. Learn more at ywcacassclay.org/ghd

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HIGHLIGHTED AS A SUCCESS STORY This past year, the Federal National Mortgage Association, more commonly known as Fannie Mae, reached out to feature Grace Garden: A YWCA Supported Residence as a successful investment in their national housing portfolio. This collection, titled “10 Million Stories,” includes eight behindthe-scenes success stories shared by Fannie Mae in celebration of reaching their milestone of 10 million rental units financed. Grace Garden is celebrated as an example of how low-income housing tax credits can finance affordable and safe housing.

The featured projects span the entire U.S. and are described as vibrant properties that will inspire “10 million times over.” The inspiration behind Grace Garden and the incredible community collaboration that made the project possible is highlighted along with photos of the building and ribbon cutting ceremony. Since opening in August 2019, Grace Garden has provided 94 individuals and families safety, stability, and the opportunity to move from fear to freedom.

Individuals living in permanent supportive housing at Grace Garden have compassionate and experienced YWCA advocates walking alongside them on their journey thanks to the generosity of Gate City Bank. They also have access to life-changing supportive services including YWCA’s Education & Employment Program, a Registered Nurse provided in partnership with Sanford Health, and caring neighbors at Lutheran Church of the Cross. Read the full story online at ywcacassclay.org/FannieMae


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NOW ACCEPTING WOMEN OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS Nomination deadline is Monday, February 22nd.

YWCA’s 48th annual Women of the Year awards event will be held Monday, April 26. Nominations are sought for women and businesses in Fargo-Moorhead with significant achievements and outstanding character in 13 categories. Find the nomination form and purchase tickets at ywcacassclay.org/womenoftheyear YWCA: On A Mission | Winter 2021 | Page 5

A SEASON OF GENEROSITY Thanks to all who made the holidays merry and bright for the families we serve!

The holidays looked different for everyone this year, including those calling YWCA home. The one thing that did not change, however, was our community’s incredible generosity to ensure each woman and child had a special and festive holiday. Whether you hosted a drive, adopted a family, or dropped off gifts, we cannot thank you enough for bringing joy to YWCA this season.

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Stuff the Bus We are so grateful to Midwest Communications, Y94, 790 KFGOAM, Froggy 99.9, MATBUS, and our generous community for once again teaming up to Stuff the Bus for families calling YWCA home. Despite the pandemic, the 12th annual Stuff the Bus had its most successful year yet! The multitude of gifts were unloaded at YWCA Emergency Shelter to be distributed to those staying with us over the holidays. Donated items are also shared with Red River Children’s Advocacy Center and the Fargo Police Department Community Outreach Team to distribute to those they serve. We appreciate the local businesses that hosted the bus: Sanford Health, Vitalant, Gate City Bank, Beyond Realty FM, and KFGO Studios.

Unique Boutique To prioritize the health and safety of women, children, and staff at YWCA, this holiday shopping event was transformed into a sponsorship opportunity for our community. Each family and individual at YWCA Shelter provided wish lists that were then fulfilled by a thoughtful and caring community member. As donation after donation was dropped off, the shelter began to overflow with generosity! Staff had the joy of playing Santa­— delivering gifts just in time for everyone to open on Christmas Day. This event is possible only by generous community members and businesses who donate time and gifts to make the holidays special for families at YWCA. Because of you, 62 women and 84 children were able to receive gifts this holiday!

Adopt a Family For many parents living in supportive housing, purchasing gifts for their children simply isn’t an option due to other critical financial priorities like food, utilities, and paying down debt. But for more years than we can count, generous individuals, families, businesses, and organizations have offered to “Adopt a Family” for the holidays; ensuring that every individual, parent, and child served by YWCA has a gift to open at the holidays. This year, 12 single women and 30 families in YWCA’s Supportive Housing Program had the chance

to make a list of something they need, something they want, and something they wish for. We are in awe of the thoughtful, considerate, and plentiful gift giving shown by everyone who adopted a family! Fill a Home with Hope Once again, our community showed its generosity in providing a multitude of household items to individuals and families in YWCA’s Supportive Housing units across the community. YWCA is thankful for the many individuals, businesses, clubs, and church groups that

hosted drives and gave gifts to ensure families have fully furnished homes this holiday season. Your gifts have truly made houses into homes, providing a safe and comforting place for individuals and families to start anew this year. Thank you LCC Special thank you to Lutheran Church of the Cross for hosting a giving tree for families at Grace Garden. Your shopping, gift wrapping, and deliveries made the holidays bright!

YOUR KINDNESS PROVIDED HOLIDAY HAPPINESS Thoughtful gifts delivered holiday cheer to healing children; year-end financial gifts mean safety for women like Heather Despite the uncertainty around us, December felt full of holiday joy at YWCA. Heather and her daughter were just a few of the many lives you touched with your generosity. Growing up with an alcoholic mother and absent father, Heather dropped out of high school. She experienced abuse at the hands of partners, including the father of her child. Heather and her daughter Nora arrived at

YWCA Emergency Shelter when she could no longer make ends meet and had nowhere else to go. At YWCA, Heather and her daughter found a caring team to walk alongside them as they healed, and the resources they needed to build a new life. Today, Heather and Nora are happier than ever before.

Your gifts to YWCA Cass Clay ensure we’re here when Heather and other women like her need us. You made safety and new beginnings possible through your financial gift. On behalf of Heather, her daughter, and all of us at YWCA, thank you.

“Thank you to the YWCA. I know I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you.” —Heather YWCA: On A Mission | Winter 2021 | Page 7

Our Deepest Gratitude

A sincere thank you to those who have honored someone they care about with a gift to YWCA. Anonymous in memory of Harriet Evert

Dr. Calvin Fercho Family Foundation in memory of Doris Fercho

Beverly Krein in memory of Liz Leroy

Sandra Badinger in memory of Josie Kolodejchuk

Bonnie and Roger Fritz in memory of Dorothy DuBord

Rajib and Jolly Lala in honor of Sreejon Lala

Kim Becker in memory of Harriet Evert

Carolyn and Ronald Gadberry in memory of Harriet Evert

Deborah Laven in honor of Krista Laven

Kathryn Benson in memory of Dr. Andresa Carlson

Rebecca Gardner in honor of MSUM Rhetoric Students Fall 2020

Nancy Berry in memory of Harriet Evert

Cami Gearhart and Tim Burner in memory of Harriet Ann Evert

Peter Bilstad in memory of Sandra Bilstad

Cheryl Hackey in memory of Janice Gorder

Brian and Edie Lee, Warren and Marie Brendemuhl, Les and Jennifer Rheault, Wade and Cheryl Wise, Lyle and Rosie Fritz, and Rob and Colleen Rude in memory of Mary Ann Leddige

Laurie Boeder in honor of Doreen Heitkamp

Cheryl Hackey in memory of Le Mar Larson

Alexa Braaten in memory of Sandra Bilstad

Cheryl Hackey in memory of Bob Thielen

Laura and Cole Carley in memory of Irene Diederich

Katherine Halvorson in honor of Rachel Clarke

Sarah Culver in memory of Harriet Evert

Dana Hazel and Michael Vespasiano in memory of Harriet Evert

Gini Duval in memory of Mary Ekstrom

Elizabeth Hinz in memory of Harriet Evert

Kevin Nelson in memory of Barb Nelson

Merle Egeberg in honor of Christie Danielson

Willy Jacobson in memory of Erna Ellingson

Margaret and Roger Nelson in memory of Dot Maurice

Karen Ericksmoen in memory of Patricia Marie Hanson

Willy Jacobson in memory of Harriet Evert

Rebekah and Joshua Nelson in memory of Barb Nelson

Jack L. Evert in memory of Harriet Evert

Christy Jelinek in honor of Shirley Holland

Jack W. Evert in memory of Harriet Evert

Kim Jenson and Thomas Elsen in memory of Barb Nelson

Roxanne Newman in honor of the Sanford Cardiothoracic Surgical Team

Jon and Phyllis Evert and Renae and Steve Goll in memory of Harriet Evert

Phyllis and Verdell Jordheim in memory of Orlan Swenson

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Danelle Kjar in honor of Sindy and Brad Keller

Rhonda Loberg in memory of Mary Ekstrom Jane and Prakash Mathew in honor of Peg Robson Anne and Tim McLarnan in memory of Harriet Evert Donnie Moore in memory of Shirley Holland Donnie Moore in honor of Jean Rayl

Wanda Poehls in memory of Harriet Evert Jim Prochniak in honor of Pierre Freeman Jim Prochniak in honor of Amanda Johnson

Evelyn Quigley in memory of Sandra Bilstad

Ronn Seim in memory of Helen J. Seim

Elaine Swenson in memory of Orlan Swenson

Jenny Rodger in honor of Cheryl Rodger

Michael Sheridan in memory of Kris Sheridan

Anella Thompson in honor of Connie and John Tate

Diane Samuelson in honor of Vivian Bentley

Eliot Simon in memory of Harriet Evert

Arlys Torgerson in memory of Agnes Liudahl

Robert Sauer in memory of Harriet Evert

Barbara Simonson in memory of Harriet Evert

Vogel Law Firm in honor of Norma J. Swanson

Lori Scheel in honor of Matthew and Meghan Stinar and Dr. Joseph and Lydia Bruenjes

Nancy Staiger in memory of Terry Staiger

Susan and Dave Wee in memory of Mary Ekstrom

Ann and David Suits in honor of Matthew Karty

Lori and Dave Zabel in honor of Sharon and Dick Krabbenhoft

LeeAnn Schray in memory of Harriet Evert

Elaine Swenson in memory of Agnes Liudahl


Helping women and children move from fear to freedom paves the way for their dreams to come alive! Pictured is a note of thanks from a woman who recently —CASSONDRA called YWCA Emergency Former YWCA Program Participant Shelter home.

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Photo Credit: Border Construction Page 10 | YWCA: On A Mission | Winter 2021

YWCA Cass Clay is the result of 114 years of innovation, determination, elbow grease, and donations. Throughout time the organization has grown and evolved to meet the needs of our community. A renovation of the second floor of YWCA’s Emergency Shelter is the most recent example of the organization adapting for the times.

storage rooms to now offer seven sleeping rooms with restrooms.

In December, YWCA completed a two-month renovation of the Emergency Shelter second floor to help expand our community’s capacity to provide safe quarantine space for individuals experiencing homelessness.

This project was made possible through a $291,000 CARES Act grant from the State of North Dakota and the City of Fargo. Special thanks to our partners, the City of Fargo, Shultz & Associates Architects, and Border Construction, for collaboration.

The renovation included modifications to three existing sleeping rooms, two multipurpose rooms and four

Single women and families began living in the newly renovated rooms at Christmas time.

With these new rooms, YWCA now has space to safely isolate or quarantine 19 people at the Emergency Shelter. The renovation also provides opportunity for better serving families into the future and raises our shelter capacity to 72 women and children at any given time.



TOP NEEDS You can donate the things women need on their journeys to independence. Our current top needs include:

Paper Products (Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels)

Hand Soap For over 30 years, Minnesota FoodShare has coordinated the largest food and fund drive in the state. Annually, the March Campaign accounts for more than half the food distributed through food shelves each year in Minnesota. The need at food shelves statewide continues to be critical. Here are some ways that you can help be a hero in the fight to end hunger:

Cleaning Products Cold & Flu Medications Hygiene Items (shampoo, conditioner, face wash, etc.)

• Organize food and fund drives for the YWCA food shelf. • Tell your family, friends, and co-workers about the March Campaign. • Donate to the MN FoodShare – every dollar contributed to the March Campaign will go to local food shelves to purchase food. And remember, cash increases the purchasing power of our food shelf.

Donations can be dropped off at YWCA Emergency Shelter Monday-Friday, 8AM5PM, or shipped to 3000 S. University Drive, Fargo, ND 58103. Our full needs list and links to YWCA’s Amazon Wish Lists can be found at ywcacassclay.org/urgent-needs

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U.S. Postage PAID Fargo, ND Permit #890

YWCA Cass Clay 4650 38th Ave. S, Suite 110 Fargo, ND 58104-8529

SUPPORT YWCA ON GIVING HEARTS DAY 2021 Giving Hearts Day is the best 24 hours to give. Thanks to matching by Dakota Medical Foundation and other generous donors, your gift immediately multiplies!

SAVE THE DATE! GIVING HEARTS DAY FEBRUARY 11, 2021 givingheartsday.org