Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), Inc. was founded by a group of multi-cultural/national, first-generation immigrant women in 1995 as a vehicle for social, economic and leadership empowerment of Asian, African, and Latina women and girls. Over the past decade, WISE has implemented a number of community-based initiatives aimed at raising consciousness of immigrant issues, developing leadership capacities and promoting self sufficiency of immigrant and refugee women and girls.

WISE fulfills its mission of empowering immigrant women & girls to succeed via four strategies:
• Leadership Development
• Access to Health
• Wealth Creation
• Technical Assistance

With the mission of “empowering immigrant women and girls to succeed”, most of WISE’s constituents are refugee/immigrant women, girls and their families in the Twin-Cities, prominently in the St. Paul area, where the size of the immigrant population has significantly increased.

WISE Strategic Plan 2013-2015 FINAL

WISE Annual Report 2012

WISE-990 – 2012
WISE-Audit Review 2012

2012 GGAL Annual Report

In the News

MinnPost Article Writes About our Foreign Trained Professionals Program

The Foreign Trained Professionals Program is described in a MinnPost article as a “ground-breaking support system.”

Our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership is a Changemaker 2011!

Our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership program was designated Changemaker 2011 by the Minnesota Women’s Press!

St. Paul Pioneer Press Article About Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership

The St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a wonderful article about our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership program.


Refugee Participant Recruitment for Professional Refugee Recertification Program

WISE assists foreign trained professional refugees, through funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement for its Professional Refugee Recertification, (PRR), program, with navigation of the professional licensure process in Minnesota, mentoring, financial aid research, leadership development, advocacy and alternative career pathyway development.  WISE is seeking new foreign trained professional refugees to serve in its PRR program.  WISE assists refugees who are trained as teachers, accountants, lawyers, engineers, doctors and other licensed medical professionals.  This program is free to foreign trained refugees.  For more information, please contact Dr. Wilhelmina Holder at 651-646-3268.


WISE is greatful to all of our sponsors, community supporters and volunteers. This work could not be done without you!

3M Office of Higher Education Minnesota Women’s Consortium Donaldson Foundation Learn Dream Acheive Otto Bremer Foundation McKnight Foundation H.B. Fuller Foundation Youthprise Sprockets Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Verizon Foundation University of Minnesota St. Catherine University Macalester College Normandale Community College