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Mission & History

Safety. Hope. Healing.

Those three words are at the heart of Tubman’s mission. For more than 40 years, we’ve worked to advance opportunities for change so that every person can experience safety, hope, and healing.

Each year, we help an estimated 25,000 people in Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties and the surrounding area get the services, support, and information they need after experiencing trauma—including relationship violence, sexual assault and exploitation, trafficking, addiction, mental health issues and more. We serve people of all ages and genders and offer a broad continuum of services to help people find the support and information they need.

Our History

The Tubman of today is a multi-service organization with more than 40 years of experience serving individuals and families. Formed from the union of four separate organizations, Tubman continues the work of our namesake, Harriet Tubman, by leading the way to hope and honoring Harriet’s personal motto to “Keep going.”

In 2001, Tubman Family Alliance formed through the merger of Harriet Tubman Center in Minneapolis, founded in 1976 as the third domestic violence shelter in the nation, and Family Violence Network, founded in the East Metro in 1982. Then in 2007, Chrysalis, A Center for Women, founded in 1974, joined Tubman Family Alliance, and the unified organization became Tubman. In July 2011, ElderCare Rights Alliance, a statewide organization founded in 1972, joined Tubman.

In 2016, we celebrated 40 years of leading the way to hope with a ruby celebration at our annual gala, the Starlight Soiree, and invited the founders of these past organizations.

Some of Tubman’s founding mothers attended the 2016 Starlight Soiree. From left are: Pam Parker, Iris C. Freeman, Kenyari Bellfield, Tubman CEO Jennifer Polzin, Cathy Campion Mackiewicz (daughter of Jeanne Campion), Sharon Sayles Belton, and Cheryl Champion. Photo by Michael Marren Photography.)

Milestones through the Years

  • 1974: Chrysalis Women’s Collective forms to offer support groups, chemical health services, and childcare.
  • 1976: Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter opens as the third battered women’s shelter in the country.
  • 1977: Individual legal advice and information sessions on family law issues begin at Chrysalis Center.
  • 1981: Legal advocacy and Orders for Protection in Washington County begin through the Family Violence Network.
  • 1984: Family Violence Network opens volunteer safe homes for victims and their children in the East Metro area.
  • 1990: Services expand into suburban Ramsey County.
  • 1990: School-based violence prevention education begins.
  • 1995: The new Harriet Tubman Shelter opens in Minneapolis with a public address, taking the issue of domestic violence out of the shadows and signaling a commitment to engage the whole community.
  • 1996: New services begin, including transitional housing; a Jobs, Education and Training program; HealthCare for the Homeless; and a shared parenting and program for kids affected by divorce.
  • 1997: A cutting-edge mental health program for women, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, begins.
  • 1999: Holistic counseling launches for men who had been abusive.
  • 2001: Harriet Tubman Center and Family Violence Network merge to form Tubman Family Alliance.
  • 2004: The Co-Occurring Program begins for women experiencing both mental and chemical health issues.
  • 2004: A public service announcement partnership with Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) launches.
  • 2007: Tubman Family Alliance and Chrysalis, A Center for Women merge to become Tubman.
  • 2008: Harriet Tubman Center East in Maplewood is acquired from the Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery.
  • 2009: The Lethality Assessment Project in Washington County launches to identify highest risk cases, provide immediate services for victims, and higher bail and closer supervision for offenders.
  • 2009: Tubman is awarded a research and change grant to improve services for victims of violence with brain injuries.
  • 2009: A multidisciplinary Legal Think Tank Committee is initiated in Washington and suburban Ramsey counties to improve the legal system for victims.
  • 2011: The ElderCare Rights Alliance joins Tubman.
  • 2012: A text line launches for youth and youth adults, along with new outreach services, are initiated for homeless youth.
  • 2014: Inspiring Youth, a new partnership to serve at-risk youth, begins with public health and school communities.
  • 2015: A new legal advocate position is created to focus on working with older victims of crime in the courts.
  • 2015: The Joint Prosecution Unit launches in suburban Ramsey County.
  • 2015: Ten new shelter beds are opened for sexually exploited youth at Harriet Tubman Center East.
  • 2016: In partnership with a community-led task force, Tubman completed protocols, trained volunteers and opened a drop-in center for homeless youth at Tubman East.