How did we get our start?

The Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund—now known as womenwinning—was established in 1982 by a group of 25 women, both Republicans and Democrats, with one important mission: to elect pro-choice women.

Intent on leveling the playing field between men and women seeking elected office, our founders took a two-fold approach: encourage pro-choice women to run for office; and raise and contribute early money for their campaigns in order to help them win.

Now, 35 years later, womenwinning has built a statewide movement of more than 13,000 members committed to our mission to elect pro-choice women.

How do we do it?

womenwinning is the largest and most influential women’s political organization in Minnesota, and the only one with both a State and Federal political action committee (PAC). We are the leader in recruiting and training pro-choice women to run for public office in the state.

Our strategy is three-fold:

  • #1 We identify pro-choice women leaders who are ready to run for office today or are potential future candidates. We draw from our statewide membership and our partners including women leaders in the business, education, non-profit, community volunteer and political sectors. We encourage women to run for all levels of office to fill the candidate pipeline for public office.
  • #2 Once we have identified a woman who is ready to run, we help develop her into a winning candidate. womenwinning provides a wide variety of guidance to candidates on campaign start up and campaign plan writing to fundraising and budgeting.
  • #3 We endorse and generally provide funds at the maximum campaign finance limit and we hold fundraisers among our membership of over 13,000 people.

We give our candidates the tools they need to win, and we are by their side every step of the way from the day they decide to run to Election Day and beyond.

In 2011, we launched our Statewide Candidate Recruitment and Development program. The first of its kind in the state, our programming allows us to play a key role in recruiting and supporting candidates at every level each cycle.

Since 2011, womenwinning has endorsed 394 pro-choice women candidates who have appeared on general election ballots. 259 of them have won their races. Additionally, we have identified more than 1000 women who would like to run in the future.

We are always looking to build a pipeline of political leaders.

What’s our legacy?

womenwinning has played a key role in building women’s political power across Minnesota over the past 35 years, and our legacy can be seen in the careers of some of the most trailblazing and influential women in the state, including:

  • The Honorable Joan A. Growe, the first woman elected to statewide office in Minnesota in her own right, is a former endorsed candidate and board chair.
  • Dee Long, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the Minnesota House.
  • Sharon Sayles Belton,the first woman and African American elected Mayor of Minneapolis.
  • Amy Klobuchar,the first woman to serve as Hennepin County Attorney and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota – a true candidate pipeline success story.
  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the second woman to serve as Speaker and the first woman to receive a major party’s endorsement for Governor in Minnesota.
  • Duluth City Council Member Emily Larson,the first woman Mayor of Duluth.
  • Representative Susan Allen, the first American Indian woman elected to the Minnesota legislature and the first openly gay American Indian woman elected to a state legislature in the country. With the election of Representative  Peggy Flanagan 2015, and Representatives Jamie Becker Finn and Mary Kunesh-Podein in 2016,there are now more Native women serving in the Minnesota legislature than ever before--all of them womenwinning endorsed.
  • Ilhan Omar, the first Somali woman to serve in any state legislature in the United States.