July 2022 Newsletter

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2022 TPWF Grant Awardees

The Twin Ports Women’s Foundation awarded the 2022 grants of over $6,000 each to the Union Gospel Mission and the Bob Tavani House for Medical Respite in Duluth. Founded in 1922, the Union Gospel Mission is the oldest soup kitchen north of the Twin Cities. They have served the greater Duluth area for over 100 years. The Mission’s mission is first and foremost a soup kitchen, then a food shelf. They also provide a limited amount of transitional housing, clothing, warm winter gear, hygiene supplies, blankets, school supplies and toys at Christmas to those in need.

The pandemic affected the services at the Union Gospel Mission tremendously. The Mission was contacted by the State of Minnesota and was informed that the Mission was a first responder, needing to provide meals and hydration to needy people curbside since being an ‘eat-in’ agency was no longer a possibility during the pandemic. The Mission adjusted by getting ‘to go’ containers, a food warmer and operating with a skeleton crew since many volunteers could not participate. Luckily, individuals and churches stepped up to help with the increased costs that occurred.

The Mission has had their fingers on the pulse of poverty for many years, realizing that many folks have no means of consistent meals, a place to cook, transportation or warm place to be. There are many young families with children, vulnerable adults and seniors who need support. The Union Gospel Mission provides as much help to these people as it can.

The grant received from the TPWF is being used to purchase a new commercial stove/oven. The other was decades old, well used and in need of repairs. Some of the money that had been saved up for a new stove/oven had to be used for additional supplies needed during the pandemic. The timing of the grant from the TPWF could not have been better!

The Bob Tavani House for Medical Respite provides a safe, supportive place for people to stay while they are recovering from an acute medical condition as well as experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. The staff at the Bob Tavani House assists guests with making and getting to medical appointments, applying for benefits, seeking housing and employment opportunities, establishing mental and chemical health support and anything else guests may need to be successful in the community.

First Covenant Church in Lincoln Park is home to the Bob Tavani House. It was the parsonage for the church and the congregation opted to donate its’ use for the program. It is an older house in need of some repair so the grant from the TPWF is being used to improve the safety of the stairway leading to the basement where the laundry facilities are located. The railings, stairs and lighting need improvements in order to be safe, averting potential falls and increasing guest independence while at the house.

Susan Jordahl-Bubacz, Union Gospel Mission Director, accepts a 2022 grant award check from the TPWF
Susan Jordahl-Bubacz, Union Gospel Mission Director, accepts a 2022 grant award check from the TPWF

Member Spotlight
Susan Rauvola

When I heard about the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation (TPWF), I knew immediately this was a group I wanted to join. I descend from generations of women committed to making a difference in their neighborhood and in their community through volunteering and community involvement. They primarily were leaders in schools and churches as that was the realm in which women had a voice. Women are often the do-ers and until the last few decades, seldom the decision makers. The TPWF makes us all decision makers and change makers.

Suzanne Rauvola
Suzanne Rauvola

As a member of the nonprofit community through my paid work, I know there are many deserving nonprofits in our community. What I have learned through participating in the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation is there are many nonprofits doing work in our community of which I have little knowledge. The grant rounds have opened my eyes to the great diversity of needs and answers to those needs right in our community and encouraged me to look and learn more about every organization nominated. When you volunteer you create the type of community where you want to live and thrive. When you give financial support, you create that community by building stability and offering flexibility and the opportunity for organizations to try something new. The TPWF helps each of us make a collective impact that is much larger than any one of us.

Join the Fun!


JOIN US for the 2022 TPWF Membership Event on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th. This event is a great opportunity for our members to socialize with one another, introduce potential new members to our purpose and passion, and recognize the organizations we have supported over the last three years.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 13th 5:00-7:00 PM

WHERE: Wild State Cider
2515 West Superior Street

Wild State Cider


  1. Members who have fully paid their 2022 TPWF membership dues by Sept 13 will be included in a prize drawing at the event.
  2. Any current members who bring a potential new member to this event will also have their name entered into a prize drawing.


Merrill, A bank of America Company

The first TEN NEW MEMBERS to join the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation before year end, will have their $50 administrative fee covered by a grant from Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

Twin Ports Women’s Foundation three year update

Denise Bussa, TPWF Board Chair, speaks to the attendees of the 2022 Annual Celebration on May 23rd at the Kitchi Gammi Club
Denise Bussa, TPWF Board Chair, speaks to the attendees of the 2022 Annual Celebration on May 23rd at the Kitchi Gammi Club

The Twin Ports Women’s Foundation (TPWF) was established in 2019 as a member-driven, grant making organization made up of women who come together to support shared causes. The purpose of the TPWF is to strengthen the Twin Ports community, increase charitable donations in our region, promote women’s leadership and philanthropy and to engage and educate our membership.

Women participate in collective giving by making an annual donation that is pooled with other members’ donations and distributed to local nonprofits, determined by membership voting for nominated organizations. The TPWF can achieve a greater impact to an organization as a group than as individual donors. What makes the TPWF unique is that its’ members nominate nonprofits every year that are eligible to receive a grant. The members then vote for nonprofits that are nominated and the top 2 organizations receive a grant. The grant application process is not extensive; organizations simply need to write a short narrative regarding how they would use the funds.

Members make a $500 donation (plus a $50 administrative fee) each year by check, credit card, donor advised fund or stock gift. Donations are collected during a calendar year for distribution the following spring. In January, once the donations from the previous year have been received, members are asked to nominate nonprofits to receive grants. The fiscal agent of the TPWF, the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundations, vets the nominations to be sure they are a qualified nonprofit agencies or organizations. The membership then votes. In the first three years of the TPWF there has been two grants awarded each year..

The TPWF has awarded over $42,000 in grants to 6 organizations since the Foundation began. In 2020, the grants were awarded to the Duluth Area Family YMCA and Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center. In 2021, the grants were awarded to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank and American Indian Community Housing Organization, (AICHO). And in 2022, the grants were awarded to The Bob Tavani House for Medical Respite and the Union Gospel Mission.

The TPWF started out strong in 2019 with a great first year! Unfortunately, the pandemic hit in 2020 and it was difficult to build the Foundation’s membership. Now, as we look to 2023, we are anticipating more face to face interaction with potential members and a great year ahead for collective giving.

PHOTO: Denise Bussa, TPWF Board Chair, speaks to the attendees of the 2022 Annual Celebration on May 23rd at the Kitchi Gammi Club


Membership renewal is due by December 31, 2022. Current members do not have to provide additional demographic information. Simply ‘renew’ with your name. Check donations can be sent to:

Twin Ports Women’s Foundation
c/o St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation
101 Fifth Street E., Suite 2400
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101


Credit card payments can be made by calling the St Paul & Minnesota Foundation at 651-325-4282. Simply provide your name if all of the information we have remains current.

As a reminder, there are multiple ways to fulfill your annual commitment – sponsorships, employer matching or grants, stock gifting or a direct donation. You can also opt to make installment payments if that is easier on your budget so long as all payments are received by year end.

Please note that all payments or employer matches that are intended to cover a member’s annual donation must be received by December 31, 2022 to be eligible for 2023 grant nominating and voting process.

TPWF Newsletter Issue 2 July 2022.pdf

Our board


Chair: Denise Bussa
Treasurer: Lynda John
Secretary & Grants: Julie Zaruba Fountaine

Board Members:

  • Robin Brown
  • Lynnea Emerson
  • Michelle Siljendahl
  • Laura Weintraub