Culturally Grounded Wellness for Youth in the Twin Cities Region

Program Overview

The Twin Cities Metropolitan area, often lauded for its quality of life, still grapples with deep-seated disparities disproportionately affecting Indigenous youth and young people of color. Neighborhoods like North Minneapolis, the East and Westside of Saint Paul, parts of South Minneapolis including George Floyd Square, and historic communities like Rondo and Frogtown have faced significant challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of George Floyd's murder. These communities suffer from economic hardship, underinvestment, and higher crime rates compared to other parts of the region.
The pandemic has also cast a light on mental health, especially for young people. Young people experience these hardships in their own unique ways and have shared the need for safe spaces to connect with their peers. According to Mental Health America (Davis et al, 2022) “Nonclinical and community-driven approaches are especially important for youth, as they are most comfortable turning to their peers, often motivated to support their friends, and aware of rapidly changing youth culture.”
Non-clinical mental health services encompass a variety of supportive care that do not involve traditional therapy. Examples include (but are not confined to):
  • Peer support groups
  • Meals
  • Hotlines and helplines
  • Self-help resources (books, apps, websites)
  • Wellness activities (yoga, meditation, exercise)
  • Community programs (workshops, classes)
  • Creative arts therapies (art therapy, music therapy)
  • Peer counseling and mentoring
  •  Sports (participating, attending a game)
  • Spiritual support (drum circle, praise dance)
If it brings joy , connection and friendships so that young people are connected, heard, feeling belonged and supported its aligned!

Grant Program

Youthprise envisions a Minnesota where the outcomes for youth are not determined by race, geography, or socioeconomic status. In alignment with this vision and recognizing the existing challenges, we have partnered with the Minnesota Institute for Trauma-Informed Education (MITIE)* to bolster non-clinical, culturally centered, and community-based healing and wellness programs for youth of color. MITIE's role will be to support the collection of data points that paint a full picture of how each organization is contributing to the health and well-being of youth of color in the community through engaging in continuous improvement cycles, reflective and restorative practices, storytelling, and asset mapping. Together our focus is on addressing the gaps in access and availability of such programs in the Twin Cities Metro areas.
Through this 18-month grant program, we will provide financial support of up to $75,000, prioritizing small organizations with annual budgets of $750,000 or less that are led by people of color and dedicated to serving youth of color. Additionally, selected organizations will benefit from capacity-building support through a cohort model**. This model is designed to facilitate feedback, foster the sharing of learnings, and harness collective expertise as part of a broader initiative aimed at understanding and enhancing nonclinical supports for the health and well-being of youth identifying as youth of color.
*MITIE was founded to develop, support, and advance the field of trauma-informed and trauma-engaged education. The Institute was launched in May 2021 as a joint partnership of the University of St. Thomas School of Education and Morrison Family College of Health.
**The schedule for participation will be developed collaboratively once grantees have been selected.

Grant Priorities

In addition to prioritizing small organizations with annual budgets of $750,000 or less, led by people of color and dedicated to serving the youth of color in the Twin Cities metro, this opportunity focuses on bringing joy, connecting individuals, building friendships and relationships through healthy, cultural, traditional, joyful so that young people are connected, heard, feeling belonged and supported. We have selected two priorities learn more about your organization's practice:
  • Racial Equity: The elimination of racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, practices, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of young people of color.
  • Mental Health/Wellness: Non-clinical, culturally centered, and community-based approaches that address gaps in availability, as well as work that increases access to mental health and well-being services for underserved communities statewide.

Evaluation and Continuous Improvement

MITIE will guide the work in partnership with the selected organization to address the needs directly. Below is a concise review of the theory and definition of continuous improvement cycles from the guidebook and toolkit “Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement” by the Education Development Center.
“What is Continuous Improvement? Continuous improvement is an applied science that emphasizes innovation, rapid and iterative cycle testing in the field, and scaling in order to generate learning about what changes produce improvements in particular contexts (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2015). The outcomes of each cycle inform the revision, development, and fine-tuning of practices. You might be familiar with similar approaches such as practitioner-action research or instructional rounds. An equivalent approach in the corporate sector is six-sigma. The commonality across continuous improvement methods is that you are essentially creating and testing solutions to address problems as you try to get better at improving your daily work practices.
Continuous improvement explores three essential questions:
• What problem are we trying to solve?
• What changes might we introduce and why?
• How will we know if a change is actually an improvement?

Eligibility Criteria

  • Eligible applicants include 501(c)(3)* youth, community-based, and economic development organizations, as well as local units of government and public school districts.
  • Organizations must be located within the Twin Cities region.
  • Organizations must align with our values of centering youth, advancing equity, and promoting safety and healing.
*Eligible applicants also include organizations described above that have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in lieu of a 501(c)(3) status.

Reporting Requirements

In compliance with the grant terms, grantees are required to report in the following ways:
  • Quarterly Reports
  • A Site Visit facilitated by Youthprise.

Awards Amount

  • 20-25 local youth-serving community partners (subgrantees) to be selected.
  • Organizations can request up to $75,000.


Here is our anticipated timeline for this grant program.

RFP Opens


RFP Closes


Application Review

5/28/2024 - 5/30/2024

Application Notification


Grant Term

18 months

*We will make every effort to adhere to the timeline as presented and will leave space for flexibility as needed.

To Apply

To Apply, complete an application via our grant portal. Applications must be submitted by Monday, May 27th at 11:59pm. If you need help completing your application, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to support you every step of the way. Contact us directly for guidance or if you require an alternative submission method.

*Please note that we do not have 24-7 support available. To avoid any complications, please ensure you allow enough time to submit your application prior to the deadline.


Contact Program & Grants Manager Cora Marquez