5 Dedicated Organizations Making A Difference In Minnesota

Minnesota is a diverse state made up of a broad mixture of large-to-medium cities, small towns, and rural farmlands. The variety of populations that make their home in the Gopher State require a varied assortment of services and programs. Thankfully, there are plenty of nonprofits working to help Minnesotans thrive. In no particular order, this list highlights some of them.

For the #1 entry, we have TakeAction Minnesota. This self-described multi-racial people's organization works to build power for a government and economy beneficial to everyone in the state. With offices in St. Paul, St. Cloud, and Duluth, it aims to organize in favor of policies that promote justice and equity and are grounded in its core principle: Minnesotans care for each other and believe every person has inherent worth and dignity.

TakeAction's Movement Political Leadership Cohort develops, prepares, and supports new political leaders from the base of Minnesota people’s organizations. TAM hosts several events throughout the year, such as phonebanks, that help locals become more involved in activism efforts.

Coming in at #2, we present NAMI Minnesota, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. The organization strives to effect positive changes in the mental health system and increase the public and professional understanding of these diagnoses.

NAMI Minnesota offers dozens of different classes to boost awareness and education about mental illnesses; it also provides information about these diagnoses, treatments, and resources through publications, presentations, and newsletters. Additionally, the nonprofit advocates for better legislation that supports individuals with mental illnesses.

The #3 entry is WaterLegacy. This nonprofit formed in 2009 to counter the threat of sulfide mining proposed for Northern Minnesota. Its founders were concerned that sulfide mining would destroy wetlands, wildlife, habitats, and wild rice, contaminate water with toxic metals, increase mercury levels in fish, and impair tribal rights.

WaterLegacy addresses threats to the environment and communities through advocacy at the state and federal level, education, and citizen engagement. The nonprofit has a robust volunteer program, allowing locals the opportunity to table at WaterLegacy events and participate in direct actions.

Up next, at #4, we present Howling for Wolves, an organization that was created to be a voice for wild Canidae. It aims to educate the public about the wolf population and let people know how they can take action to keep these animals in a self-sustaining existence. Its main focus is on the Minnesota Gray subspecies.

Founded by Dr. Maureen Hackett, the Howling For Wolves Action Fund urges lawmakers at the state and federal levels to stop trophy hunting and create policies that promote human and gray wolf coexistence. The organization has been featured in numerous media outlets, such as the Duluth News Tribune.

Rounding out our list at #5 is the Citizens League. Based in St. Paul, this member-supported, nonpartisan nonprofit aims to champion the role of all Minnesotans to govern for the common good and promote democracy. It has developed and implemented policies on several issues, such as education, governance, taxes, parks, and transportation.

The Citizens League is directed by a volunteer board and financially supported by individual members, foundations, and businesses. In addition to policy projects, it also hosts several events throughout the year that allow locals the opportunity to convene and engage with others on a variety of topics.