Adversity Identified • Hope Strategized

In 2018 Dr. Molly Harney from the University of Minnesota Duluth engaged in a research project in Duluth’s Central Hillside focused on identifying adversity affecting families with children.
A comprehensive data collection process, using the guiding principles of generosity, inclusivity, engagement, and opportunity rising, generated findings that revealed the need to effect systemic-level changes in services and supports based on best practices that address multiple and chronic issues among those most affected by adversity.
Dr. Harney felt the need to establish a nonprofit (Duluth Center for Women and Children) that would engage with other nonprofits, and bring the University resources, knowledge and expertise by engaging faculty and students to interrupt the cycles of trauma and poverty. Since its inception, our nonprofit has partnered with several other nonprofits, businesses, the public sector office, and the University to develop programming in support of its mission.

What We Do

The Duluth Center for Women & Children supports community initiatives to ensure that children living in poverty have abundant opportunities to lead economically secure and productive lives, regardless of the circumstances in which they are born and raised.

The focus of the Duluth Center for Women & Children addresses the impact adversity has on children and families with attention to quality childcare & education, encouraging empowerment through building economic stability, and sustaining hope through supporting community safety.

Our Vision

Women gather with their children
laughing, creating, cooking, and learning.

Children thrive in the care of a loving community
where the margins move to the center.

Our Mission

A safe place where women and children thrive by co-creating equal access to possibilities, success, and safety using their own voices.

Board of Directors

Jennifer Webb
Jennifer is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This job opportunity brought her and her husband, Geoff, to Duluth in 2006. Soon after arriving in MInnesota Jennifer joined the Junior League of Duluth (JLD), an organization focused on improving the lives of those living in the Twin Ports and […]
Connie Black
After many years serving children and families as a guide (teacher) in Montessori Children’s Houses (early childhood environments), Connie saw the opportunity to reach exponentially more children and families through adult education. She recently served as the Director of Training for the Boston Satellite of Montessori Training Center Northeast, working with adults preparing to guide […]
Molly Harney
Molly Harney is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her primary teaching responsibilities are in the Early Childhood Studies and Early Childhood Special Education program. Her teaching and research focus include early brain development, cognitive development, emotional development, attachment theory, childhood adversity, trauma informed care, and early childhood special education. Her past […]
Chelsey Jonason
Chelsey is excited to be a new board member for the Duluth Center for Women & Children.  She is looking forward to building community and supporting initiatives that empower women and create opportunities for children.   Chelsey moved to Duluth in 2020 and is an attorney for Essentia Health.  Before moving north she worked as […]
Aparna Katre
Aparna is the principal faculty and Cultural Entrepreneurship program director at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is passionate about developing an ecosystem bridging the academic and workforce needs of students and those of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Her research is practice-led and community-engaged at the nexus of entrepreneurship, strategy and design-thinking for […]
Julia Williams
Julia Williams, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Education Emeritus with the University of Minnesota Duluth. She holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a B.S in Secondary English Education. Her areas of specialty include assessment, continuous improvement processes, and program evaluation. She is a licensed secondary […]