A History of Strengthening Children

We’re built around a story of hope. For over 130 years, Washburn Center has served as a vital Twin Cities nonprofit and brought hope to struggling families.

Washburn Center for Children was founded as the Washburn Memorial Orphan Asylum in 1883. The orphanage was created by Cadwallader C. Washburn, co-founder of the milling company that has evolved into General Mills, after a mill explosion left several children orphaned.

After the orphanage closed in 1924, the Washburn Foster Home Placement Agency provided services for children going into foster care. In 1951, the agency responded to the changing needs of the community by establishing the Washburn Memorial Clinic to provide diagnostic services and treatment of children with learning and behavioral problems. In 2007, the agency changed its name from Washburn Child Guidance Center to Washburn Center for Children.

Evolving to Meet the Community’s Needs

While the names and services have changed over time, Washburn Center for Children has remained focused on Cadwallader Washburn’s compassionate vision to provide hope to children, “without question or distinction to age, sex, race, color or religion.”

Our story of hope has had a tremendous impact on thousands of children, their families and the entire community. Explore a brief history below, or read a more detailed history.

We’re built around a story of hope.

CARING FOR ORPHANED CHILDREN

EVOLVING TO MEET THE COMMUNITY’S NEEDS

A FOCUS ON CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

CREATING A CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

A new facility To Meet the community’s needs

Cadwallader C. Washburn, co-founder of the milling company that has since become General Mills, founded the Washburn Memorial Orphan Asylum after a mill explosion left several children orphaned.

After the orphanage closed in 1924, the nonprofit began providing services for children in foster care.

Washburn Memorial Clinic opened as a mental health clinic, laying the foundation for Washburn to become the leading children’s mental health center in the state.

The agency changed its name to Washburn Center for Children and, in the following year, received the Nonprofit Excellence Award from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

Having recently doubled the number of children served, Washburn plans to construct a new facility that will offer more Twin Cities children a place to grow and heal. Grand opening is anticipated in 2014.