For nearly 20 years, Northfield WINGS (Women in Northfield Giving Support) has supported local nonprofits and other groups making a difference through financial awards.

This year, the organization is marking a special milestone: hitting the $1 million award mark.

The award figure was announced on Tuesday to organizations who have received WINGS funding during an annual meeting at St. Olaf College.

“It demonstrates the power of pool giving,” said WINGS past President Jacqui Dorsey of the milestone. “We couldn’t have made this sort of impact on our own, but by all of us coming together and giving this gift and doing it in a concerted way, I think we can have a greater impact on the community.”

This year, Northfield WINGS awarded nearly $81,900 to more than 20 local community groups, centers and camps, for education purposes and for health care, anti-poverty and family stability programs.

The organization settled on award funding from more than $175,000 in grant requests.

Posters were displayed at the event showing the services provided by local service organizations who have recently received WINGS grant funding, some including TORCH (Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes), Northfield Middle School, Ruth’s House of Hope, Project Friendship, Camp Friends, the Community Action Center, HOPE Center, HealthFinders Clinic and Infants Remembered in Silence.

Members of the organizations were called to the podium to mark the funding they were provided near the end of the ceremony.

The Northfield Justice Choir, under the direction of Director Dan Kallman, delivered three songs with social justice messages, and dinner was provided.

Yailyn Moran, who has benefited from TORCH and NCCC (Northfield Community College Collaborative), discussed attending college as a first-generation college student, adding that she is pursuing an educational degree and wants to one day teach in Northfield.

“It’s the best decision that I’ve ever made,” she said of pursuing her education.

WINGS started in 2000 and began awarding grants in 2001. Today, the organization has 260-270 members and more than $700,000 in its endowment fund.

To re-qualify for award funding, organizations must file reports at the end of the previous cycle.

“For this short period of time, we feel excited about being able to not only be able to gather this much money together, but also that so many women have learned about philanthropics,” Dorsey said.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115.

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