“What’s special about NAF is that it wants a relationship and provides support as we pursue our mission.”

Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul

For more than 100 years, YWCA St. Paul has been changing minds, bodies and lives.  Anchoring the Summit-University community and collaborating with neighbors in greater St. Paul and Ramsey County, YWCA St. Paul is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. While many people might think of health and fitness centers when they think of a YW, YWCA St. Paul has always provided services in response to other important needs in its community.

“YWCA St. Paul was started by a group of civic-minded women to provide housing for young women from rural areas who were moving to the city to work in factories,” said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul. “While the programs and services have changed over the years, the focus on meeting community needs has remained at the core of the agency’s work.”

YWCA St. Paul currently has five affordable housing complexes with 57 units. More than simply providing a place to live, YWCA St. Paul’s programs and services empower families to stabilize their lives, build new skills, decrease their utilization of emergency services, and keep their families united and safe.

The agency not only works to help families fight homelessness, but it also empowers at-risk youth to reach their full potential, and helps individuals who are unemployed or underemployed build the skills needed to find their place in the workforce. These programs serve low-income individuals, primarily in communities of color, and advance the organization’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women by combatting the barriers and disparities so many of its program participants face.  Addressing community needs in the areas of housing and supportive services, youth development, health and wellness, and employment and economic development, last year YWCA St. Paul’s programs and services helped more than 5,200 people reach their goals and improve their quality of life.

YWCA St. Paul started its relationship with Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) in May 2016 with a loan to bridge grants receivable as CEO Gaye Massey Adams and CFO Peter Olsen stepped into their new roles in the organization.

“Nonprofits Assistance Fund has provided fantastic advice and information in the time we have worked with the organization,” said Peter Olsen, CFO, YWCA St. Paul. “I especially appreciate the opportunities to take advantage of training and resources provided through its partnerships with organizations like Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. NAF has resources that every nonprofit should know about if they need assistance.”

Given the essential need for YWCA St. Paul’s services to the community, leadership is working hard to position the agency for the future. The loans NAF provides have allowed the agency to tackle things that it wanted to achieve in advancing ongoing goals.

“We want to have a well-run, strongly positioned organization that can continue to serve for the long-term,” Gaye said. “We have talked with NAF about a number of changes we’re pursuing to strengthen YWCA St. Paul, and the organization has been an excellent thought partner. NAF’s advice, resources and connections have been invaluable.”

NAF has had the opportunity to work with YWCA St. Paul on several key projects. “After the bridge loan we next partnered on a leasehold improvement loan for the renovation of the women’s locker room,” said Allison Wagstrom, portfolio manager, NAF. “It has been rewarding for me to get to work with an organization that is so passionate about serving its community.”

While Gaye and Peter are not sure how they will partner next with NAF, they know they want to continue the relationship.

“What’s special about NAF is that it wants a relationship and provides support as we pursue our mission,” Gaye said. “As an organization whose purpose is to invest in and support nonprofits, NAF is a real asset to our community.  If you are interested in partnering with an organization that is truly interested in your mission, you should reach out to NAF. We could not be more pleased with our relationship.”

For more information about YWCA St. Paul, click here.