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Education & Learning

Program Background: Youthprise


High-quality, accessible youth programs are essential for strong communities. Aiming to expand upon learning and development opportunities for young people, McKnight recently helped establish Youthprise, a new youth funding partner based in the Twin Cities. The stated mission of the organization is to champion learning beyond the classroom so that all Minnesota's youth thrive.


For 15 years, The McKnight Foundation was a major supporter of the out-of-school time (OST) field in Minnesota. In early 2010, the Foundation’s Board of Directors began to explore the feasibility of transferring its youth out-of-school time portfolio to an independent entity (intermediary) to ensure that the Foundation’s impact in the field could continue to grow. After testing the idea with knowledge leaders and other successful out-of-school time intermediaries around the country, a local advisory council representing key stakeholders in the out-of-school time field was formed to shape the concept. In November 2010 a Board of Directors was formed for the new intermediary, and in March 2011 Youthprise was named and granted nonprofit status.

As an intermediary, Youthprise is committed to harnessing the collective ideas, resources and capacity of the Minnesota community — including youth — to promote more systematic approaches to delivering and supporting high quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom. In June 2011, the highly respected Youth Community Connections came under the Youthprise umbrella, bringing with it the collected wisdom gathered from an extensive history in the field.

With ongoing funding from McKnight and others, Youthprise aims boldly for the vision that Minnesota will lead the nation in accelerating leadership and innovation beyond the classroom. Strategies include promoting best practices, engaging young people, funding good ideas and programs, and strengthening statewide policy.