YWCA becomes Project Bee
New name, same mission for now local organization
YWCA Minot has cut its national ties to become a new organization known as Project Bee.
“We will still have the same great services, but we will be 100% local,” Executive Director Liz Larsen said in announcing the change Saturday.
Project Bee’s board of directors and staff revealed the news at a celebration and fundraising event held at High Third in downtown Minot Saturday evening.
The YWCA has been a huge part of the community, serving as a daycare, shelter and fitness center among its activities over the 106-year history that ended Friday in Minot, Larsen said.
“We felt that Project Bee better represented our community,” she said. “After a lot of work and research, we decided that breaking away from our national affiliate was the best decision for us, for our community.”
Larsen explained the national and local missions have diverged, with the national becoming more advocacy focused, while the local organization has been about hands-on service. In becoming a community-based operation, there will be flexibility to respond to community needs and more funds will stay local, she said.
“We want to focus on our community,” Larsen said, noting that the indigenous population and military population in particular are unique areas that require a local response.
“Project Bee stands for bringing equity and empowerment,” Larsen said. “There were aspects of the YWCA brand that we loved and we want to continue to represent in our community. The equity is so important to the people that we serve and just making sure that they have the same opportunities as anyone else, regardless of skin color, where they come from or any other barriers that they may experience. The empowerment is really important because we have a very bold group of women with our board of directors, who just want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities and is empowered to do whatever it is that is their goal.”
She added the new name should end confusion that sometimes has occurred with the Minot Family YMCA and eliminate questions about the work of the organization, which serves people regardless of religion or gender.
The choice of Bee in the name acknowledges the worker-bee women who were at the root of the organization 106 years ago, Larsen said.
Natassia Cherne, vice president for Project Bee, said the organization plans to build on its original foundation as a strong female-led organization. Project Bee also is looking to expand services, such as adding skill training for women to the shelter and resources already provided, she said.
More about the organization can be found on its new website at projectbeend.org.