Charity is good. But change is better.

This is the philosophy of Community Shares of Minnesota, a funder of nearly 50 local nonprofits that are tackling hard issues at their core, rather than just addressing symptoms. Member groups focus primarily on improving access to education and healthcare, promoting human rights, securing safe and affordable housing, strengthening communities and creating change through the arts.









CSMN Events

Imagine if...

Imagine if these amendments had not passed, where would we be today.  Where would we be without all of the work of activists who came before us?

Social Justice Timeline

The history of social justice in America
  • Freedom of Speech Amendment- 1st Amendment

    The First Amendment  protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.  Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights.

  • Civil Rights Acts of 1866

    The Civil Rights Act of 1866 marked the first time Congress legislated upon civil rights in US History.   It declared that all persons born in the United States as US Citizens.  The legislation granted all (white) citizens the “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property.”  In addition, all (non taxed) Native American's were declared to be US Citizens.

  • Women’s Right to Vote Amendment- 19th Amendment

    The Women’s Right to Vote Amendment (1920) was the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote. It took nearly 100 years to win this right, largely fought by grassroots female activists. While this was a huge accomplishment for women, it only applied to white women.  It wasn't until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which suspended the use of discriminating literacy tests and voter disqualification devices, that black women were finally allowed to vote.

  • Native American’s Civil Rights Act

    Also refereed to as the 'Indian Citizenship Act' granted all Native Americans full US Citizenship. It was enacted partially in recognition of the thousands of Native Americans who served in World War I.   This act granted US Citizenship to less than half of all Native Americans living in the US at the time.

  • Brown v. Topeka Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education (1954), now acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • Civil Rights Acts

    The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 were proposed by John F Kennedy in 1963.  This act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, required equal access to public places and employment, and enforced desegregation of schools and the right to vote.

  • Indian Civil Rights Act (Indian Bill of Rights)

    Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 is best known for is extending part of the Bill of Rights to individual Native Americans against tribal governments.  This Acts goes farther than the language of the Bill of Rights in that it guarantees "equal protection of the law," something absent from the U.S. Constitution before the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade is the historic Supreme Court decision which overturned a Texas interpretation of abortion law.  It made abortion legal in the United States, which was not legal in many states at the time. In addition, it held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months.

  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act

    the Equal Credit Opportunity Act is a federal law that ensures all consumers and businesses are given an equal chance to obtain credit.  This act made it illegal to discourage an applicant because of sex, marital status, age, race, or national origin, or because they receive public assistance.  This act opened up many new opportunities for many US Citizens.  

  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.  ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. A condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability.

  • Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples can marry nationwide

    In 2015 The US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.

Creating Change

We are committed to funding social justice


Focusing on providing perpetually affordable home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families in Minneapolis, City of Lakes Community Land Trust provides financial assistance and support throughout home ownership. Since 2001, they have helped more than 200 families.


For 30 years, the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) has focused on advancing human rights and restoring dignity of the human spirit through research, training, advocacy, and healing centers. In 2015, the University of Minnesota honored CVT with a Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award.


In the more than 40 years that Family Tree Clinic has served the community, the staff has never turned a patient away for inability to pay for medical treatment. In 2014, this non-profit clinic in St. Paul provided nearly 20,000 people with high-quality, accessible reproductive and minor illness care.


Since 1993 Voices for Racial Justice has worked with communities of color to advance racial equality in Minnesota. Working statewide to break down the systemic barriers that limit access to opportunities and equitable outcomes. Programming designed to foster a more inclusive and equitable state served 6,500 individuals in 2014.


The only organization of its kind locally, Upstream Arts uses curriculum-based arts programming to help people with disabilities develop communication skills and social independence. Using the power of arts education, Upstream Arts enhanced the lives of more than 5,500 individuals in 2014.