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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

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Twin Ports Women’s Foundation Update

Date: October 14, 2021 5:00 pm

- 7:00 pm

Location: Bent Paddle Brewing Co., West Michigan Street, Duluth

With fall quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about making donations to the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation in 2021 for our third grant cycle at the beginning of 2022.
A fall membership event will be held on Thursday, October 14 from 5-7 p.m. at Bent Paddle Brewery. Bring a friend or two who may be interested in joining the TPWF. Come to hear about past grant award winners such as Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center, Duluth Area Family YMCA, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, and American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). The Twin Ports Women’s Foundation has given out over $30,000 in the two first grant cycles. There will be light refreshments and a complimentary beverage from Bent Paddle. Bent Paddle is located at 1832 W. Michigan St. in Duluth.  

To RSVP for the October event, email or text Denise Bussa at 218.349.9529.  

  • Labor Day is the last day to send referrals in for potential new members.  Each current member who passes on a referral for membership has a chance to win a print that was given to the Foundation by AICHO.  Referrals – names and email addresses – should be sent to
  • Also, the first 5 new members to become members this year will receive $100 off of the $500 donation, thanks to a gift from the employer of Lynnea Emerson. Member donations are $500 plus a $50 administrative fee each year.

Donations to the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation can be made at any time.  If members donate now, rather than at the end of the year, their donation will accrue some interest that will add to the amount available to disperse.  Anyone who has donated in the past and would like to donate by credit card can call Deepti at the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation. Deepti can be reached at 651.325.4282.  Mention your name and the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation and she will take your payment. Checks can be mailed to the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation at 1012 5th St E, Suite 2400, St. Paul, MN 55101.  Add a note with your name at the TPWF.  New member forms can be found on our website,

See you soon!
Twin Ports Women’s Foundation Board

Check back often for upcoming events!

2021 Grant Award Recipient Announcement

The Twin Ports Women’s Foundation, an all-volunteer organization that looks to strengthen the Twin Ports community through collective giving and increasing charitable donations in our region, is delighted to announce the recipients of their 2021 Grant Awards: AICHO (American Indian Community Housing Organization) and Second Harvest Food Bank. Each organization will be gifted more than $6,700 to help meet the basic needs of people who are struggling financially during this difficult pandemic. This is TPWF’s second year awarding grants to local charitable organizations nominated and voted on by its membership. The 2020 Grant Award winners during the TPWF’s inaugural year included Safe Have and the Duluth Area YMCA. Members of the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation will celebrate AICHO and Second Harvest Food Bank on Monday, April 12, 2021 at a virtual grant award celebration.

Twin Ports Women’s Foundation is an all-volunteer organization which relies on the skills and talents of its members. We strive to be an inclusive, diverse organization of women who will grow as knowledgeable philanthropists in supporting our local nonprofits. Our purpose is to strengthen the Twin Ports community through collective giving and increasing charitable donations in our region, to promote women’s leadership in philanthropy and to engage and educate our membership.

Check back often for upcoming events!

June 2020 Newsletter

Twin Ports Women’s Foundation – June 2020

Board Members Denise Bussa – chair, Karis Boerner, Robin Brown, Lynnea Emerson and Laura Weintraub

Unprecedented Times

We have been living in unprecedented times and 2020 has been a year like no other. The board of the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation is excited about moving ahead, anticipating an even more successful 2nd grant cycle in 2021.

We missed out on celebrating our first donations. We made donations to Safe Haven and the YMCA in the amounts of $xxxx each. Those funds arrived just as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. They were put to good use at a time when these organizations needed them the most. We asked each organization to let us know how COVID has affected them:

From Brittany Robb, Executive Director of Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center

A lot of wonderful folks have asked me how things have changed at Safe Haven since COVID-19 set its sights on our community.  There is much to be said about what our work looks like now compared to just three, short months ago:

While so many of our friends and neighbors in the nonprofit community closed their doors, we continued to welcome victims and survivors into both our Shelter and Resource Center locations.  As a designated “tier 2 essential service”, domestic violence programs throughout the state of Minnesota who provide emergency protections including shelter services and Orders for Protection are required to remain operational regardless of what’s happening outside of our doors.  Because of the nimbleness of our team, we were able to act quickly to respond to the increased calls for support as survivors recognized their circumstances were about to become even more dire as “stay at home” directives were implemented which inadvertently allowed abusive partners the freedom to further exert their control.  Our staff became even more adept at tuning into the subtle cues in crisis calls to formulate thoughtful safety plans with survivors to plan for their well-being while at home with their partners.  Our team responded swiftly in reaching out to essential businesses and healthcare facilities to share our contact information broadly in grocery store bathrooms and on gas station community boards where survivors may have their only opportunity to be separated from their abusers.  At both the Shelter and Resource Center we developed procedures and protocol to ensure adequate social-distancing, cleaning and sanitizing measures were taken to keep all of our clients and staff healthy and well.  We worked diligently with our partners and local businesses to provide additional shelter space off-site for symptomatic shelter guests in need of isolation while they recover.

Some of the key pieces of our advocacy work have changed in ways that we couldn’t have imagined in pre-COVID times, and we are grateful for the experience of having to push the boundaries of how we reach survivors.  We have connected to those we serve via online support groups using a variety of web-based conferencing platforms to stay in touch and provide the after-care work so many have come to rely on during their new life post-separation.  Our children’s and youth advocacy has changed to focus on “whole family advocacy” for the little ones living in the shelter with their moms, and for the older kids in the community who would typically be participating in our mentoring program, we are reaching them through weekly mailings that include empowering activities, self-care style “make and takes”, and personalized notes from our staff.  We continue to provide trainings for groups large and small via webinars and have relied on our growing network of email and social media contacts to ensure the message resonates throughout the community that we aren’t going anywhere!

Like any trauma that befalls those we serve, they survive.  And they teach us how to survive.  And they, and we, are going to be okay.

From Anika Thompson, Community Engagement and Development Associate Duluth Area Family YMCA

With the mandated closure of fitness facilities on March 18th, the Duluth Area Family met the challenge head-on and refocused our efforts to where we were most needed within our community. As the Y, we are sometimes best known for our swim lessons or as health and wellness experts, but since the Covid-19 pandemic closed our doors, we have shown that our mission expands well beyond the confines of our physical building. Our mission-driven services continued, expanded, and adapted to meet the growing needs this new challenge presented. As the needs continue to shift each day, the Y continues to be flexible and innovative as we make a positive impact for those who needed us the most in our community. Through the generosity of our members, community, and partners, the Y has helped keep youth, families, and individuals safe and supported during this difficult time.

At the Y, we are dedicated to ensuring our member and the community stay healthy while safe at home. Through free virtual wellness offerings that are available to all of our community, we are keeping families, seniors, and individuals active, engaged, and thriving. This work included creating a sense of belonging through wellness-check calls with our senior members to provide them with social connection as well as connect them to critical government and nonprofit community services.

As an expansion of our youth development work, we partnered with the school district from March 18th to June 5th andmanaged the Duluth Public Schools and Duluth Edison Charter Schools emergency childcare for essential workers out of5 condensed sites of Lowell, Congdon, Laura MacArthur, Raleigh, and North Star Elementary. These programs supportedour region’s essential workers by creating fun and engaging programming, where students spent time playing outside, completing their distanced learning, and exploring new hobbies and skills while following best practices for health and safety. As part of our ongoing youth development programming, we will continue to serve youth through our Day Camp and summer offerings now that the school year is officially at an end. In addition to meeting childcare needs for school aged youth, our Early Childhood Development Centers in Hermantown and Grand Marais, remained open and serving the families who needed this critical support while instituting best practices for the safety and health of all we serve.

Our commitment to meeting the food access needs of our youth continued despite Covid-19 and we redoubled our efforts with the understanding that this crisis would amplify existing food insecurities for underserved neighborhoods. Over the past two months, we have facilitatedEmergency Food Distribution andwe have been working with many of our existing partners and developed new community partners to provide grab-and-go meal bags out of the Gary New Duluth Recreation Center and the Harbor Highlands Community Center, Cook County Community YMCA, and the YMCA at the Essentia Wellness Center.Grab- and-go bags, include nutritious items for lunch and breakfast as well as partner donated books, activity sheets, and other necessary supplies for families. During the first month just at Harbor Highland and GND alone, we gave out a total of 2,698 meals and we have seen an increase need for this service. As part of our ongoing food access programming, we will continue to handout meal bags until the end of the summer.

Now, as we look toward reopening, our cause remains within our community. Though it looks a little different, at its core, what we are doing today is what we do every day. We continue to meet the important needs of our youth, families, individuals, and seniors. With our community partners, we will continue to help break down barriers so all can be successful now at this challenging time and in years to come. As we look to the future, we are excited. We have learned so much as we adjusted what we’ve always done to meet the new needs of our community. There is more work for us to do and we are so grateful to you for joining with us to make more possible for all in our region.

Membership Renewal

Membership renewal is due by December 31, 2020. 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 Deepti at the SPMF, 651-325-4282. Again, simply provide her with your name if all of the information we have remains current.

You can also make installment payments if that is easier on your budget.

We will have a membership drive/educational program this fall. These may take different forms depending on how the pandemic continues to affect our community.

Being Part of the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation

After a highly successful initial year, Twin Ports Women’s Foundation (TPWF), is enthusiastically inviting additional members to become part of a contributing, caring and community process.

As a TPWF member you make a difference within your own community through the concept of collective giving. Your contribution is a part of the pie empowering you with an opportunity to nominate and vote for local nonprofit agencies in need. The bigger the pie, the bigger the awards and the greater impact and accomplishment acquired within your own the community.

To supplement your philanthropic rewards, a TPWF membership provides you:
-Participation in the grants process via nomination and voting privileges as directed by the Board. -Opportunity to join the grants committee for direct involvement on planning and process development. -Attendance at educational events.
-Participation in annual events and award ceremonies.

Please share the following with friends, colleagues, family, neighbors, etc. For more information on becoming a Twin Ports Women’s Foundation member, go to and click on Join Us.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have recruited one new board member, Robin Brown. With one resignation and one addition, the board of the TPWF remains at 5. We’d like to add a couple of additional board members if we could. Please get in touch with any board member for additional information or email We are also starting up the Grants Committee and have one volunteer thus far, Julie Zaruba Fountaine. Thank you, Julie.

Thank you for your membership in the Twin Ports Women’s Foundation!

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