Guest Blog Post from In Progress

Published on November 20, 2012 | Written by

We anticipated Youthprise’s first round of grant making in May 2012 would help us build connections with a broad range of organizations – allowing us to learn from each other and leverage our investment. In addition to providing general operating support, Youthprise grants help youth-serving organizations to strengthen their own capacity to offer quality programs, pilot innovative approaches, and participate in professional development.

Working in partnership with other policy makers, funders and stakeholders to ensure all Minnesota’s youth thrive, I wanted to share a recent email from one of the first 101 grantees – In Progress. Everyone at Youthprise is excited play a role in In Progress’ growth and success. And, thank you to their executive director Kristine Sorenson for calling out two of the Youthprise team – David Kim and Maya Beecham – both integral members of Youthprise’s culture of innovation and collaboration.

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As submitted by Kristine Sorenson, In Progress

In Progress, a small nonprofit arts center dedicated to paving the way for new voices in the field of digital arts, works in partnership with youth, communities and schools to develop opportunities for young people to develop their skills as digital storytellers. They are an example of the investments Youthprise is making to reduce barriers to participation in programs beyond the classroom and to increase the number of youth benefiting from high-quality activities.

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you all for the support Youthprise has given to In Progress. I can’t express enough the positive impact Youthprise is having on our small organization. The group that came last night to the Mobilize the Power of Youth Video Awards event at the MOA event are still getting to know one another. They represent artists that have been around for a very long time and those that have just entered the doors in the past weeks and months. Last night they all felt united, they felt proud, and they felt honored to be recognized with other organizations like Cookie Cart.

In addition to last night’s event, David Kim has been working with a couple of our artists to design some dialogues around media literacy. The artists have reported back with excitement and enthusiasm which is not always how thing go when we start new programming partnerships. Our artists felt respected by David and also felt that he is an open and willing partner in the planning process. David is an exceptional listener, is thoughtful and adaptable — all qualities that are noticed and appreciated.

I also want to say how great it is to see Maya Beecham as an integral leader at Youthprise. I first met Maya when she was just a teenager. Maya – back then you were quiet, talented and dedicated to your friends. You were also showing your talents as a spoken word artist and poet. It is just so “cool” to be able to point you out to our youth artists and be able to say – “Maya started as an artist the same way you are today.” You are a living example of success and purpose and your role at Youthprise has brought an immediate sense of trust to Youthprise

To the rest of you that I am just getting to know – In Progress is ready to learn and excited to see what is put in front of us next. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to youth in our state and for the support you have shown to our organization.


Kristine Sorensen, Executive Director – In Progress

To see some snapshots of how your support is playing out daily – please visit our photo journal at

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