Cornerstone was founded in 1983 by a group of dedicated community volunteers who recognized the need for domestic violence services in suburban Hennepin County. Our organization started by introducing a 24-hour crisis hotline staffed by dedicated, well-trained volunteers. In January 1985, we established the first hotel/motel safe housing program in Minnesota and in 1989, we started the first transitional housing program in Minnesota for victims/survivors of domestic violence.
The 1990’s were a time of growth and innovation for Cornerstone, as the agency implemented many more services that were firsts in the state for victims/survivors and their children. In addition to youth services, Cornerstone launched our innovative School-Based Services programming (formerly known as PAVE) in 1994 with the support and partnership of the Richfield public schools.
In 2001, due to service demands and agency growth, our Board of Directors made the decision to conduct a capital campaign to build a facility that would house both a 35-bed emergency shelter and our community-based services. After a successful campaign, we moved into the Sheila Wellstone Center in 2004. We retired our mortgage in 2005. The same year we acquired Day One®, which provides a statewide referral system to people seeking help from violence.
In 2014, our geographic footprint widened into Northwestern Hennepin County at the request of community leaders. In addition, because of the intersections between domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking, we expanded our reach to formally include all three of these forms of violence into our core work across the community.
In 2017, Cornerstone opened Minnesota’s first 24/7 Call Center, known as Day One, in our south Minneapolis location. Today, highly-trained staff utilize Day One’s real-time technology, allowing for shared information to best serve victims of violence across the state, who can call, text or chat from any location. At the same time, Cornerstone began providing support and resources for victims of both property and crimes against persons through our newly established General Crime Victim Services (GCVS). GCVS staff administer the statewide Emergency Fund Assistance program as well. A new GCVS office in north Minneapolis opened in early 2020.