Youthprise strives to reduce disparities with and for Minnesota youth. The rich cultural and ethnic diversity of Minnesota and the ingenuity of our young people position our state to thrive in an increasingly global society. But racial disparities significantly impact young people’s opportunities and our future prosperity. As our population diversifies at an expanding rate, the burden grows to ensure our next generations are positioned to succeed.

Founded in 2010 by The McKnight Foundation, Youthprise invests in the future of Minnesota by investing in youth. We work to shift the trajectory for underserved young people. Guided by a strengths-based approach, Youthprise works to transform how funders, institutions, providers and communities work with youth. Youthprise works on multiple levels: supporting nonprofit organizations that serve youth; aligning efforts through citywide and statewide initiatives; and providing opportunities directly to young people. Grounded in a commitment to addressing racial disparities, we strategically combine fundingcapacity buildingpolicy advocacy, and research and authentically engage young people in our governance and operations. Young people are embedded across all areas of our organizational work as staff, and half of our 20 member board is between the ages of 16-24. We employ a youth/adult co-chair model at the board to ensure that our strategy is set by the people most impacted.

We leverage public and private resources in order to make targeted strategic investments in nonprofit youth-serving organizations; citywide, regional and statewide networks; and youth-led initiatives.

Capacity Building
We help small to mid-size organizations, and citywide and regional initiatives achieve greater impact through creating access to peer learning opportunities and supporting technical assistance to promote best practices in non-profit management.

We support funders, organizations, and government agencies in leveraging youth voice in the design, implementation and improvement of programs.

Policy Advocacy
We advocate for policy and systems changes that address huge disparities that face Minnesota youth and create additional opportunities for underserved youth.

We engage youth and communities in research and lead rigorous evaluation projects that identify best practices.


Youthprise acts as a tipping point for systems change. We take action when:

  • There is an innovation with potentially significant impact that needs incubation or leadership;
  • There is an existing program or initiative the has promise but needs acceleration;
  • There is a need to create a better way of doing business that is more efficient; or
  • There is an opportunity to provide administrative and collaborative support for small and mid-sized community-based organizations, especially those based in communities of color.

Our work is guided by a strength-based holistic youth development approach that values the whole child in the context of their family, community and broader society. We are intentional about examining policies, practices and programs through a racial equity lens to address the disparities faced by youth of color and other disconnected youth.

Download an infographic about Youthprise.