Assistance League of Minneapolis-St. Paul

Transforming Lives - Strengthening Community

Richfield, MN   |  msp.assistanceleague.org

Mission

OUR MISSION Assistance League® of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a nonprofit organization whose volunteers feed and clothe children, enhance and enrich education and support and serve our community OUR VISION Essential needs of children and adults are met in our communities OUR VALUES Values/DEI Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul supports and serves our community by developing and utilizing the diverse talents and backgrounds of our dedicated member volunteers who are committed to our chapter values of Ethics, Leadership, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul is committed to cultural competence and humility and to developing practices that promote anti-racism, inclusion, and equity for all. We are active

Notes from the nonprofit

Assistance League is an all-volunteer, community nonprofit dedicated to meeting the basic needs of children and families in the Twin Cities. We are transforming lives and strengthening community through our programs in food, clothing and literacy.

Ruling year info

1994

President

Mary Dries

President Elect

Laurie Lokar

Main address

6416 Penn Avenue South

Richfield, MN 55423 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

41-1736323

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Thrift Shops (P29)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many children and adults in our community lack the resources needed to achieve their full potential and to contribute to our society. Societal inequities result in children who cannot fully engage in learning and other developmental processes. Without essential support, students may become discouraged and may disengage in pursuing an education. Adults may feel unable to meet basic needs. Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a nonprofit, nonsectarian all-volunteer organization dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening community through philanthropic programs offering food, clothing, literacy support and grants to teachers for classroom enrichment projects. We also partner with Minnesota Hospital Association to provide clothing and toiletry kits to victims of assault in hospitals throughout Minnesota so they may begin the healing process with dignity. With our community partners, we identify unmet needs and provide programs developed and administered by our members.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Ready-Set-Read!

Ready-Set-Read! encourages preschool and early elementary age children to love reading. Volunteers read stories to children weekly and teach them library skills by helping them select books to borrow. Books are also given to children for their home libraries. The program conducts annual field trips to plays at community theaters, and offers an array of other enrichment activities and events centered on reading. Last year 60 children participated weekly.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Economically disadvantaged people

Operation School Bell®/Clothes For Kids provides new school clothing and supplies to economically disadvantaged children. The goal of the program is to promote school readiness by helping children feel more confident and prepared to attend school. Studies show that appropriate school clothing can improve school attendance and increase classroom performance. The program works in conjunction with our Academic All-Stars program which hosts student recognition events for students who achieve goals set by their teachers. Award recipients receive Academic All-Star shirts and recognition wristbands. The program also supports Start Smart which provides school supplies, technology aids, hygiene products, winter clothing and other items essential to school success. Operation School Bell® Clothes for Kids is the only nonprofit clothing program to work directly with the schools to help meet the needs of their students.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

We provide Assault Survivor Kits to hospital emergency rooms throughout the State of Minnesota. Each kit contains clean, fresh comfort clothing and the toiletries needed to ease the stress and pain associated with sexual assault. Kits are distributed by the hospitals to the survivors of sexual assault.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Operation School Bell®/Literacy Plus provides weekly volunteer reading buddies to area second graders to help them read at grade level. Studies show that students who are strong readers have a significantly greater chance for academic success. In addition to the reading service, Operation School Bell/Literacy+ provides books for children's home libraries as well as books and reference materials for school libraries. The program also hosts events, speakers and other enrichment activities to promote children's imagination. curiosity and love of reading.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Food insecurity is an issue for many children, and some students arrive at school extremely hungry on Monday mornings. Hunger negatively impacts student behavior and academic performance. We pack food bags filled with weekend end food for Friday distribution at three schools, serving 155 students. These schools have a high rate of students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Links to Learning offers grants to K-12 teachers in Twin Cities' school districts for projects that enhance the standard curriculum. Examples of past projects include: Instruments for a Mariachi orchestra, iPad software for students with autism, a multi-cultural event, and math manipulatives for classroom use. This program funds 60-80 grants annually of up to $750 each. Assistance League members review grant applications and conduct classroom visits to the award recipients.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Community Outreach is a flexible, rapid-response program to address one-time, targeted community needs, where the need doesn't fit into our other programs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

This program donates clothing and household items that our Thrift Shop cannot sell, to an organization that gives it away free to people in need.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

National Assistance League 1992

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students receiving personal instruction and feedback about their performance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Students

Related Program

Operation School Bell®/Literacy Plus

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our Literacy Plus program sends about 20 volunteers every week to Bethune in north Minneapolis, to tutor reading skills on a one-to-one basis with third grade students.

Number of people within the organization's service area accessing food aid

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Food For Kids

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We changed from feeding families to feeding the kids. More kid friendly food containers were added to the bags. We distributed 34,775 pounds of food during the school year.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We are an all volunteer organization. We make our money and spend our money on the community. We are steadily increasing in numbers!

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Operation School Bell®/Literacy Plus

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We tutor reading skills to 2nd graders and also send books home with all children in K through 2nd grade at the school.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our Mission: Assistance League of Minneapolis/St Paul is a nonprofit organization whose volunteers feed and clothe children, enhance and enrich education and support and serve the community.

Our Vision: Essential needs of children and adults are met in our communities.

Values: Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul supports the talents of our volunteers and embraces the chapter values of Ethics, Leadership and Accountability along with members' Commitment, Respect and Teamwork.

Membership:
• Continue to reach 30,000 annual service hours, (due to the pandemic, service hours during 2020-2021 may only reach 20,000, maintain 90%-member retention and attain an average 2% annual growth in membership
• Broaden and diversify our membership.
• Mentor and educate members in preparation for leadership

Philanthropic Programs:
• Consult regularly with our community partners regarding needs that can be met through our established programs and opportunities for expansion.
• Utilize external assessments of all programs to gather measurable outcomes to determine if the programs are meeting established goals.
• Explore member support and financial resources for adding new programs and/or expanding current programs.

Fundraising:
• Continue to increase fundraising (Thrift Shop, direct mail, grants, planned giving and endowment fund) by an average annual growth of 3% over the next five years to maintain current programs and provide more services to the community.

Marketing:
• Identify new audiences for growing membership, attracting customers and donors, and creating broader public awareness of the Assistance League brand and story.

Our chapter celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2020. We have a consistent group of committed members who volunteered over 31,000 hours last year, a history of successful fundraising, and a return to the community above 88%.

Our three main revenue sources (Thrift Shop sales, grants, and a direct mail campaign) support our annual budget.

We have successful partnerships with Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools, Richfield Public Schools, and the Minnesota Hospital Association. Our Advisory Council provides insights and supports our mission.

The philanthropic budget for our programs has increased 23% over the last five years. In 2019-20, in addition to providing new school uniforms for students in our 7 partner schools we also supplied ancillary clothing and hygiene supplies requested by school social workers. We piloted a retail distribution model providing non uniform school clothing to 50 students in the Richfield School District and purchased winter coats for 100 homeless and highly mobile high school students in Minneapolis.

Our weekend food program expanded and provided 6,034 bags of kid-friendly food to 263 students in the Minneapolis School District. Grants for 134 enrichment projects totaling over $83,000 in 69 schools were awarded to teachers in our three partner school districts, impacting 20,736 students.

RESPONSE TO COVID-19:

When schools closed due to COVID-19, we consulted our school district partners and were able to pivot quickly from our usual programs to meet emergent needs in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Richfield School Districts. The need was especially great among homeless and highly mobile students and we worked with social workers to provide funds for bus passes, food and other essential items.

Another area of need was the Essential Kid Care locations in all three districts serving children of essential workers and first responders. We funded art supplies, books and enrichment items requested by teachers.

Our volunteer-run Thrift Shop reopened on a reduced schedule with safety measures in place following closure due to COVID-19. We are receiving record donations and our customers have enthusiastically returned. Our existing budget surplus will cover any shortfall in Thrift Shop revenue this year due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Fundraising from our dedicated members and the community remains strong and our grant receipts are increasing.

The COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest persist in our community and will affect the operation of our Philanthropic programs for the foreseeable future. In consultation with our trusted partners, we are responding to the rapidly changing needs in our community by remaining flexible in what we provide within the parameters of our programs and how we deliver needed items.

We will also be elevating and educating our members on the important work already being done by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and will be updating our chapter values to reflect our commitment toward anti-racism, inclusion, and equity for all.

Financials

Assistance League of Minneapolis-St. Paul
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Assistance League of Minneapolis-St. Paul

Board of directors
as of 1/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mary Dries

No Affiliation

Term: 2019 - 2021


Board co-chair

Laurie Lokar

Mary Dries

no affiliation

Karen Jenks

no affiliation

Laurie Lokar

no affiliation

Lisa Harmening

no affiliation

Terri Hudoba

no affiliation

Mary Arnold

no affiliation

Sheila Bjorklund

no affiliation

Mary Beth Rissmann

no affiliation

Deb Hamilton

no affiliation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/30/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/21/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.