Planned Parenthood will build a new clinic in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis and modernize other facilities in its 19-clinic network, using donations including a $6.5 million gift announced Monday.
The gift, from a local family, is part of a $20 million, three-year campaign that could also result in the construction of new clinics in underserved areas.
The gift is the largest that Planned Parenthood's regional affiliate has ever received from a living donor, and it comes at a time when the family planning organization is under fire in Washington, D.C. The Trump administration has proposed cutting all federal funds, including Medicaid, to Planned Parenthood organizations nationwide; Congress is expected to craft its budget after the August recess. In addition, Congress' effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, stalled for now, proposed a temporary block on Planned Parenthood funding.
"I do think that Planned Parenthood is going to remain in the cross hairs, no matter what happens with the Affordable Care Act," said Sarah Stoesz, chief executive of St. Paul-based Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.
As the organization raises money for clinic capital improvements, it is also fundraising for the possibility that its federal operating funds will be cut, as well as lobbying elected officials to keep its ties to Medicaid.
Stoesz said that since last fall's election, Planned Parenthood contributions have spiked, with the number of donors doubling to about 25,000.
Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor, accounts for about $15 million of the local affiliate's $50 million in revenue.
"Even with all of the additional revenue[s] that are coming in, as important as they are, the donors in our country cannot make up for the loss of Medicaid funding," Stoesz said. "The numbers are just too big."
Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and a prominent opponent of public funding for Planned Parenthood, was unavailable for comment Monday.
The $6.5 million gift announced Monday comes from a Minnesota family that wants to remain anonymous.
"They are very familiar with and have been involved with Planned Parenthood for some time, and they are very committed to making sure that Planned Parenthood is here for good no matter what," Stoesz said.
The new clinic will replace Planned Parenthood's current Uptown facility, located on Lagoon Avenue, which serves 13,000 patients annually and has become too small to meet demand, the organization said. Construction is expected to begin next year, and patients will be served in a temporary location while the new three-story clinic is being built.
The Uptown clinic, like most in Planned Parenthood's network, provides birth control, cancer screening, vaccinations, pregnancy testing and other health care services. Abortions are done at the St. Paul clinic.
Altogether, Planned Parenthood operates eight clinics in the Twin Cities area, 10 Minnesota clinics outside the metro area and one clinic in Sioux Falls.
In September, Planned Parenthood will officially open a new clinic in Alexandria after its existing location was sold and all the tenants had to move out. "Members of the community immediately jumped into action and helped us find a grand new space," Stoesz said. "We intend to be in urban Minnesota and rural Minnesota regardless of the ... results of the election."