Capacity Building

The Capacity Building Funding will not be offered in 2018 or 2019. Please check our website for a funding announcement in the second quarter of 2019 regarding general operating support.
Each summer, Youthprise releases an RFP for Capacity Building Grants that provide funding to Twin Cities based non-profit youth-serving organizations.


In the shifting political landscape it is crucial that we support the communities most impacted by disparities and address the systems that perpetuate them in the state of Minnesota. Youthprise, a youth-centered philanthropic organization, is uniquely positioned to act as a catalyst for policy and systems change, working with and for Minnesota youth to reduce racial disparities in the areas of Learning & Leadership, Economic Opportunity and Health and Safety. You can read more about our approach here.

Now more than ever, the field of philanthropy has to be responsive to young people and community needs. This year we used key findings from Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) reports conducted by young people across Minnesota to inform the criteria for our Capacity Building grants. This includes investing in organizations that are led by the communities they serve, organizations that center youth in decision-making and organizations committed to dismantling structures of oppression, in particular racism, that hinder young people’s ability to live healthy and vibrant lives.

In light of this, we are announcing a new focus area in our 2017 Capacity Building grantmaking cycle. This year, we will be supporting organizations in the following areas: Capacity Building & Systems Change.

  • Capacity Building: We will continue to focus on building the capacity of organizations in the Twin Cities metro area serving middle school and high school aged youth in the areas of Learning & Leadership, Economic Opportunity and Health and Safety. We believe capacity building projects should help nonprofit leaders, youth-serving staff, and organizations test ideas and approaches and develop skills, knowledge, capabilities, and resources to make their work more effective and therefore more impactful to the youth they serve. However, we understand organizations are not all the same and have different needs based on multiple factors. Therefore, we will rely on applicants to tell us why their particular projects qualify as capacity building and how these projects will result in a more effective organization with a greater impact on youth.
  • Systems Change: The impact systems have on youth, their families, and their communities can determine the type of life opportunities available to them. Far too often, systems that have the greatest impact on immigrant, LGBTQ, and minority youth have negative consequences that limit their life opportunities and create barriers to success. Projects that focus on systems change will challenge the status quo through intentional strategies designed to affect the root systemic causes of problems impacting youth. Once again, we will rely on applicants to tell us what systems are having negative impacts on youth and what role their projects will play in addressing root systemic issues and what will be different as a result of the implementation of the projects. We understand that systems change is hard and requires a sustained effort in order to be successful. We further understand that a one-year project with limited funding is not likely to achieve the ultimate long-term goal associated with the system, therefore, we will also consider projects that are focused on planning for systems change, organizing for system change, or developing leadership and leadership skills for systems change that have youth and young people at the center.
Program Information:
  • $365,000 is available for funding in 2017;
  • We expect to award 15 to 20 one-year grants that will range in size from $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000;
  • Projects can begin on either 12-17-17 or 1-1-18. However, projects must be completed by 12-31-18;
  • Applicants can apply to be an Accelerator organization and receive an additional $10,000. We expect to award 3 accelerator grants to join the current cohort which includes The Sanneh Foundation, MIGIZI Communications, Ka Joog, and Tamales and Bicicletas;
  • Projects must be focused on capacity building or systems change activities that are youth-focused and racial equity-centered;
  • Award notifications will be delivered the week of 11-20-17;
  • Eligible applicants are current and former Youthprise grantees only.
Review Process:

In addition to our focus areas, we are also shifting our process. As a youth-centered organization, we have to be flexible. This means testing and innovating philanthropic processes and approaches, soliciting feedback from partners and grantees and working with young people to develop the most effective solutions to the problems they face. Youth philanthropy has been a core tenant of our work from our inception, and based on feedback from young people, this has evolved over the years.

This year our grant review process centers youth in the decision-making. We will be inviting young people from our YPAR Network to lead the grant review process and the grant review panels will make recommendations for funding to the Youthprise board. Also new this year is the video application process supplemented by our online application form. Applicants will create a video application up to seven minutes long that will describe their organization, project, how it fits with the focus area, and how the project addresses racial inequality. Submitted videos will remain the property of the applicant organizations.

You can find the link to the full RFP here with guidelines and instructions for our video application process. Stay tuned for grantee information session dates and locations.

The submission deadline has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

Contact Maurice Nins at with any questions.

Full RFP Guidelines and Instructions (PDF)

2018 Grantees have been announced!

Read about our 2018 Capacity building grantees

You can also read about our previous grantees: 2016 Grantees 2015 Grantees2014 Grantees, and 2013 Grantees.