Youthprise Board Approves $2.1 million in grants

Published on May 24, 2012 | Written by

For Immediate Release

Contact:    Karen Kingsley, Youthprise
612-564-4858 ext 5

Youthprise awards $2.1 million in grants to organizations serving youth in high-quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom

Grantees to join learning community to improve quality and expand access to learning opportunities during out-of-school time.

Minneapolis, Minn. (May 24, 2012) – Youthprise announced today that its board of directors has approved $2.1 million in grants to organizations throughout the Twin Cities to support Minnesota youth to learn, lead and grow.  As an intermediary in the field of out-of-school time, Youthprise is committed to championing learning beyond the classroom for all Minnesota youth and paying special attention to youth who have been underserved.

“Youthprise exists to accelerate leadership and innovation in the out-of-school time field,” explained Youthprise president Wokie Weah.  “Making sure our youth have great learning opportunities during the more than 2,000 hours they have outside of school each year is a top priority.  We view the achievement gap as a result of an opportunity gap and we’re working to fill that gap.”

The 101 organizations receiving Youthprise funding will form a learning community that will advance the out-of-school time field in Minnesota by coordinating efforts to improve program quality, exploring innovative approaches to expand access to learning opportunities, promoting racial equity in the out-of-school time field and mobilizing communities around a shared policy agenda for youth.

Added Weah, “With this first round of grantmaking, Youthprise is building connections with a broad range of organizations so we can learn from each other and leverage our investment.  We want to tap into the richness of Minnesota’s diversity to ensure that all Minnesota youth thrive.”

Grantees reflect Youthprise’s commitment to supporting programs that reach Minnesota youth at the greatest risk of experiencing disparities in opportunity. Recent research shows that:

  • An “opportunity gap” in access to high-quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom exists, especially for low-income and youth of color.
  • Afterschool and out-of-school time is an ideal venue for helping youth develop to their fullest potential and build 21st century skills that will help them succeed in school, work and civic life.

“We’re excited to apply the support from Youthprise to help us create meaningful work experiences for young people and continue to improve our program quality,” said Gunnar Liden, executive director of grantee Youth Farm and Market Project.  “Youthprise funding will help support Youth Farm in five neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis where youth build leadership skills by growing, cooking, eating and sharing healthy food in their communities.”

Youthprise’s grants to Expand Access to Quality Learning Opportunities are one-year investments to 101 organizations in the metropolitan area. A full list of organizations receiving funding is available at Grants will contribute to organizations’ sustainability by providing general operating support to strengthen their capacity to offer quality programs, pilot innovative approaches, and participate in professional development.

In addition to grant-making, Youthprise acts as a convener and catalyst for systems change in the out-of-school time field in Minnesota.  As the home of Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance, Youthprise works with partners throughout the state to raise awareness of how youth and our community benefits when young people have opportunities to learn and to lead beyond the regular school classroom.

“Youthprise works to bring together resources and people to identify and scale great programs and strengthen systems and policy so that all Minnesota youth thrive,” says Kit Hadley, Youthprise board chair.  “We anticipate our investments will reduce barriers to participation and provide access to high-quality opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.”

MORE on Youthprise: Youthprise was founded in 2010 by The McKnight Foundation to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Youthprise works collaboratively with municipalities, funders, policymakers, program providers, youth and parents to ensure that all Minnesota youth, especially young people who are traditionally underserved, have access to affordable, quality learning opportunities during out-of-school time. For more information on Youthprise, visit

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