Learning & Leadership

Our Health & Safety focus area promotes the learning, leadership, and social-emotional development of youth and seeks to shift how programs engage youth in leadership and governance.

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Youthprise promotes the learning, leadership, and social-emotional development of youth and seeks to shift how programs engage youth in leadership and governance.

Given that Youthprise was established to “increase the quality, quantity, sustainability, and innovation of beyond the classroom opportunities for young people in Minnesota,” Learning and Leadership can be said to be our original focus area.

Within the area of Learning & Leadership, Youthprise’s goals are to:

  • Increase opportunities to build academic skills
  • Increase opportunities to build social-emotional development
  • Increase connections to caring adults and mentorship opportunities
  • Increase connections to school or other academic settings
  • Increase civic engagement
  • Increase leadership opportunities, including participation in formal leadership structures


Design Thinking

Design Thinking has been used in many different areas at Youthprise. From creative budgeting, strategic planning, and coordinating staff meetings, Design Thinking has taken on a youth-centered approach to internal decision making. In addition, Youthprise expanded its Design Thinking process to contract with external partners looking for innovative ways to engage youth in decision making.


Disrupt is a workshop series created by youth and adults to help reimagine your work to be more inclusive, creative and impactful. Using design thinking, youth participatory action research, critical race theory, and evaluation techniques; the series equip attendees with the tools to disrupt the status quo and develop solutions to the problems that confront their communities.

General Operating

General Operating grants provide funding to Minnesota based youth-serving non-profit organizations. The funding is focused on providing support for mission-related core functions that enhance organizational or programmatic operations. In alignment with our mission, Youthprise values organizations that are committed to dismantling structures of oppression that hinder the ability of youth to lead healthy and vibrant lives.

Minnesota Afterschool Advance

Minnesota Afterschool Advance (MAA) is a collaboration between Youthprise and Venn Foundation dedicated to helping families and students access affordable afterschool enrichment programs. MAA works with Minnesota families who meet eligibility requirements and expectations, and uses the powerful Minnesota K-12 Education Tax Credit to pay for educational supports and enrichments including but not limited to: tutoring, music lessons, art classes, and supportive distance learning technology.


Youthprise seeks to be active on a range of policy issues that impact Minnesota youth, especially those that face barriers to accessing quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom.Youthprise’s public policy functions are 1) Educating elected officials and stakeholders in the youth development field; 2) Advocating for policy change at the state, federal and local levels; 3) Engaging Youthprise partners (youth, communities of color, youth-serving organizations, intermediaries) in the policy process; and 4) Lobbying to influence specific legislation.

Youth on Boards

In partnership with the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI), the City of Northfield, and Northfield Public Schools; Youthprise helped to establish the Northfield Youth on Boards initiative. Youth on Boards trains young people to be Board members, places them on organizational boards in the community, and supports them throughout the experience through meetings and monitoring. This can be viewed as an extension of the work Youthprise has done with its youth-led board.


YBO is a youth-led grant-making initiative that channels money into projects that improve the quality of life for young people in their communities, shifted online. YouthBank is guided by 10 core values: 1) youth-led, 2) open to all young people, 3) promoting equity & justice, 4) participation & inclusion, 5) promoting understanding & respecting difference, 6) clear & fair methods of grant-making, 7) say it as it is, 8) developing young people’s skills & experience, 9) reflection & evaluation, and 10) celebration.


Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a community-based social justice research framework that inclusively supports the leadership and knowledge of youth most impacted by disparities to develop solutions for social, cultural, and political transformation. The Youthprise YPAR team is working to build a statewide network of YPAR practitioners through funding research projects in Minnesota and providing technical assistance.


Read more about our Learning and Leadership work below:


Plug into our work however you’re able! Here are ten suggestions to get you started:

  1. Donate to Youthprise to show your support;
  2. Join our mailing list to learn about upcoming opportunities;
  3. Follow Youthprise on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, or Twitter;
  4. Volunteer to contribute your time and skills or join a committee;
  5. Sign up to take our next Design Thinking or Disrupt class;
  6. Apply for funding through one of our current or upcoming RPFs;
  7. Contact your representatives and spread the word about our Policy priorities;
  8. Bring YPAR to your organization by purchasing a YPAR toolkit;<
  9. Sign up for MAA or spread the word to families in need;
  10. Or Contact us to ask questions, build a partnership, or learn more!

Learn more about our other focus areas

Learning & Leadership
Economic Opportunity
Health & Safety

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