Minnesota Furs has a long and varied history. It originally began under an entirely different name, known as the Saturday Night Crew Furs, or SNCFurs, way back in 2002. At the time it was little more than a mailing list with a couple dozen people on it, and an irregular meetup at various restaurants. The location eventually settled at a Perkins in Hopkins, Minnesota, and attendance slowly began growing.
It wasn’t until 2005 that the slowly expanding group changed its name to “Minnesota Furs”, or “MNFurs” for short. At that time the ‘regulars’ in the group began to form plans for a regular picnic, bringing together local furries, and more regular meets. The gatherings began in earnest. This pattern of picnics, meets, and growth continued for many years until 2010/2011, when hundreds of members called MNFurs ‘home’.
Many regulars had taken on the task of helping oversee the meetups, plan the picnics, organize dinner outings, movie dates, and an assortment of furry-friendly events. Mentoring had started between some members, and volunteering for local non-profits and charities as well. But with donations coming in, and calls for new events and activities such as educational efforts or partnering with Como Zoo, it became apparent the group needed to formally organize. What had become known as the ‘Steering Group’ transitioned into a planning group, to take Minnesota Furs into the next step – incorporation into a non-profit.
Over the course of the next 18 months, the Steering Group drafted a series of guidelines and a plan for the burgeoning organization. With that vision and set of documents prepared, Minnesota Furs incorporated as a non-profit in the state of Minnesota on October 15, 2012. Six members were elected to serve as the governing board for the organization, breaking ground as the first furry based year round organization to incorporate.
During the course of the next two and a half years, countless hours of work was put forth. The launch of Minnesota Fur’s convention, Furry Migration, became reality in September of 2014. New events and partnerships were formed, and existing relationships with other organizations expanded. A scholarship program was founded. Finally, all the hard work paid off in April 2015, when Minnesota Furs was approved as a full 501(c)3 charity non-profit organization.
Minnesota Furs is rocketing into new territory, with plans and wishes that reach far into the future. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of dozens of volunteers and the commitment and donations of hundreds of members over the years. Without them, none of this would be here. Minnesota Furs will always be thankful and supportive of the volunteer effort that keeps it alive, and looks to what surely is a bright and exciting future.
Minnesota Furs is dedicated to building a safe community and providing educational opportunities for furs everywhere, but focused centrally in Minnesota. This includes providing regular meetings for members and supporting parties to gather together, educational experiences covering a variety of topics, volunteer chances to help support interests that are in line with the interests of many furs, and a chance to help show the positive and unique aspects of furry culture.
Social gatherings include events like furry bowling, fursuit romps, bi-weekly meetups at a few different locations, twice yearly picnics in the spring and fall, and several other community-led events. Educational endeavors have been expanding to include a new scholarship program, plans for a mentorship program, regular panels and discussions about a variety of skills both useful to general furs and about ways to express the unique talent and abilities of furs. Volunteering is also a huge part of the Minnesota Furs mission, assisting at many large events throughout the year, especially Como Zoo’s ZooBoo event.
The members of Minnesota Furs have a broad ranging skill set from event organization, negotiation, publications, business endeavors, and organizational skills. The non-profit hopes to help grow these skills both on a personal level and a community level to improve existing efforts and expand into new ways, providing a chance for the betterment of all. Minnesota Furs is dedicated to a vision of the future where furs are just another facet of life for local communities, assisting and spreading its message and support throughout Minnesota, and beyond.