Helping End Violence Against Women and Girls

The Olseth Family Foundation is proud to continue support for The Advocates for Human Rights, who work tirelessly to change systems and conditions that cause human rights abuses. The Advocates fight injustice and improve laws and lives throughout the world while representing individual victims of human rights violations.


Specifically, the foundation funds the Women’s Human Rights Program which focuses on ending violence and discrimination against women and girls by improving laws and policies, both in the United States and globally.


Locally, the Advocates work with women and girls who are victims of violence in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest through training, advocacy, and education. Through WATCH, a court observation project, which strives to expand impact through court monitoring and reporting on violence against women and girls in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington Counties. Since the start of the pandemic, the Advocates have used the WATCH infrastructure to conduct real-time fact finding on the impact of COVID-19 on victims of violence in the courts in six counties. These findings were instrumental in leading to a clarification in the governor’s emergency executive order that the ban on evictions does not extend to orders for protection in domestic violence cases.


The Advocates is also a leader in Minnesota’s anti-trafficking efforts. Our 2008 Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota spurred significant legislative changes including increases in penalties for people convicted of sex trafficking crimes. In 2010, The Advocates for Human Rights led the effort to enact Minnesota’s Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act and were co-authors of the Safe Harbor for All Strategic Planning Process Report. The Advocates provided key contributions to the statewide Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group. The group produced a report with recommended revisions to the sexual assault statutory framework for the legislature. Among many things, it recommended: clarifying the criminal statutes that address sexually victimizing intoxicated persons; a new statute criminalizing sexual extortion – blackmailing people into unwanted sexual encounters via threats to, for example, their housing, employment, immigration, or confidential sexual-orientation status, and; a precisely-targeted prohibition against sexual conduct by educators with students.


The Advocates also provide free legal assistance to human trafficking victims and immigrant victims of gender-based violence in the Upper Midwest, deliver training and resources for systems professionals involved in identifying and combating trafficking in persons, and continue our assessment of Minnesota’s response to sex trafficking in the state.


For more information:

Learning, exploring and having fun in Mankato


At Mankato’s newest museum, The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, children of all ages can climb, crawl, touch, explore and imagine. Infants and toddlers are safe to explore the Betsy-Tacy inspired play porch. The Coughlan Quarry provides hours of fun with its giant sand pit, moveable crane and a working conveyor system. Tunnels, tubes, and bridges connect six forts which are part of a gigantic tree house. The largest indoor exhibit is the Grow It Gallery, which tells the story of how food we eat makes its way from seed to table.


The Olseth Family Foundation is pleased to be a major supporter of the H2GO outdoor water gallery. This exhibit indulges children’s love of playing with water—splashing in response to moving hands, making it move faster or slower, letting it drip, and watching it swirl, capturing the light and capturing their imaginations. In their playful exploration, they can conduct experiments with water and its properties, gaining understanding that they can apply to the river, animal habitats, and the bathtub.


To learn more about the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, go to: