William and Kate Dunwoody
For more than 100 years, the contributions of William Hood Dunwoody and Catherine Lane Patten Dunwoody to philanthropy and industry have been one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets. Their lifetime and legacy giving created institutions that continue to fulfill vital roles in society, stand the test of time and meet community needs. Yet few served by these venerable institutions are aware of the Dunwoody legacy upon which they were founded.
William and Kate played a pivotal role in the development of Minnesota’s unique leadership in health, education and the arts. The Dunwoodys founded the Dunwoody Industrial Institute, today known as Dunwoody College of Technology. It was William’s vision “to provide for all time a place where youth without distinction on account of race, color or religious prejudice, may learn the useful trades and crafts, and thereby fit themselves for the better performance of life’s duties.” Kate greatly influenced Williams’ thinking and impacted her own important issues, which included the unique foresight to establish boarding facilities for young women coming to the Twin Cities to work.
Additionally, the Dunwoodys’ philanthropy helped establish Abbott Northwestern Hospital and provided the lead gift for the earliest capital campaign of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Today, all three of these nationally recognized institutions are vital to Minneapolis, the region and beyond.
The Dunwoodys’ personal philanthropic legacy continues to be leveraged by the for-profit corporations William helped build and lead in the Twin Cities, including General Mills and Wells Fargo. These companies employ thousands of people in well-paying jobs and improve the lives of countless others through giving within Minnesota, across the nation and world. William and Catherine Dunwoody provided the vision and the resources needed to achieve that vision. Today, more than a century after their passing, they continue to have a lasting philanthropic impact in our state’s great strengths in health, education and the arts.