Winners! MN group behind America's first domestic violence shelter gets prize

Women's Advocates gets $64,000 from the Opus Foundation for winning the online vote

The $64,000 question was which good cause would win enough votes to collect the cash prize being offered by the Opus Foundation. And the answer, we learned Wednesday, is Women's Advocates – the St. Paul nonprofit that opened the country's first shelter for domestic violence victims 43 years ago.

Women's Advocates says nearly 50,000 votes were cast over 10 days for the eight finalists in the foundation's online competition.

The group thanked the supporters who carried them to the Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award and the $64,000 that come with it. Women's Advocates serves about 50 women and children at a time at its St. Paul shelter and provides education and resources about domestic violence and its prevention.

It was 64 years ago (which explains the $64,000 prize) when Rauenhorst founded The Opus Group, a Minneapolis-based real estate developer. The company now has offices in eight metro areas around the country and picked a nonprofit from each to be in the finals for the foundation's award.

How the money helps

Before the voting ended last week, a staff member tweeted about what $64,000 could do for Women's Advocates.

Women's Advocates is in the middle of a three-year plan to add to their programming and develop scattered-site transitional housing.

They have hundreds of volunteers who help provide education about domestic violence, including a range of presentations for groups.

Their 24-hour telephone crisis line for victims/survivors of domestic violence is 651-227-8284. Women's Advocates offers more information and resources here.

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