Our strategic approach allows us to effectively execute our mission by increasing learning, leadership and economic opportunities, as well as enhancing the safety in the communities of Minnesota’s disadvantaged youth.

Our Mission:

We increase equity with and for Minnesota’s indigenous, low-income, and racially diverse youth.

Our Vision:

We envision a Minnesota where outcomes for youth are no longer predictable by race, geography, or socioeconomic status.

“Marcus Pope, Youthprise’s President, works closely with the Board of Directors to execute Youthprise’s strategic priorities. He provides oversight for all organizational areas including grantmaking,…”

Marcus Pope

“As the first and former President of Youthprise, Wokie Weah provided executive leadership and vision, worked in partnership with the board of directors and brokers…”

Wokie Weah

President Emeritus

Our Impact Areas include:

Learning and Leadership

Promote the learning, leadership and social-emotional development of youth and seek to shift how programs engage youth in leadership and governance.

Economic Opportunity

Create opportunities for economic prosperity by supporting programs and initiatives that build workforce skills, promote youth entrepreneurship, and expose youth to career pathways.

Health and Safety

Promote the holistic health and safety of young people by meeting basic needs and ensuring young people are safe and not criminalized in their communities.

Guiding Values


Ensure youth voice, participation, and leadership in processes and decisions.


Advance equity and inclusion, disrupt systems of oppression.


Ensure long-term financial sustainability and economic independence.


Advance our reach by telling our shared story and expanding relationships.


Youthprise was founded as a nonprofit philanthropic intermediary in 2010 by the McKnight Foundation with an original mission to champion learning beyond the classroom so that all Minnesota youth thrive. With guidance from an illustrious advisory committee and a founding Board of Directors, McKnight encouraged Youthprise to listen to the voices of young people, to give them a seat at the table, and to build programs and systems that are responsive to their needs — and guided by their ideas.  Youthprise’s first and current President, Wokie Weah, was hired in April of 2011.  A full leadership team was on board by November of 2011 and Youthprise publically launched in January of 2012.

Since launching, Youthprise has leveraged its financial, political, and relational capital and expertise in youth development to increase funding for Minnesota youth programming and promote innovation in how our communities work with youth. As a philanthropic intermediary, Youthprise is designed to invest more than just money. Youthprise partners with youth and youth service organizations to share knowledge, capture lessons learned, and spread best practices to advance outcomes for young people throughout Minnesota.

Youthprise has granted over $30 million to youth initiatives, provided training and technical support to over 100 youth organizations, and successfully lobbied for over $3.1 million in direct state appropriates to support key initiatives advancing of our mission, and championed youth on boards including our own. In 2017, Youthprise established a youth-adult co-chair model as well as increased the proportion of youth between the ages of 16 and 25 on the board and committee member and leadership to fifty percent.

Click here to learn more about our strategic framework and approach

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