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 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 $50 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 members and leadership to fifty percent.