Mission, goals and values.

Our Mission

The mission of Youthprise is to champion learning beyond the classroom so that all Minnesota youth thrive.

Youthprise was founded by the McKnight Foundation in 2010 to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. We strategically combine funding, capacity building, policy advocacy, research, and youth engagement under one roof. This unique combination creates efficiencies, accelerates implementation, and maximizes impact.  We seek to align efforts across city, regional, and state systems that impact youth. Youthprise has the flexibility to leverage additional resources and to innovate by testing and investing in new approaches. We elevate youth voice in decision-making about programs, policies, research, systems and philanthropy and are driven by a focus on racial equity and addressing the disparities faced by youth of color and other disconnected youth.

Youthprise invests in awesome young people and builds the capacity of the programs and systems that support them.

As an intermediary, we act as an incubator, connector and relationship broker, forging connections between community-based organizations, schools, funders, public agencies, youth and adults. We convene stakeholders; provide training, coaching and technical assistance; and link organizations doing similar work. A central tenet of our work is a commitment to racial equity and working to address the disparities faced by youth of color and other disconnected youth.

To achieve our mission, we partner with innovative organizations and creative thinkers who are making lasting, positive changes in the lives of young people. We believe in the power of catalytic philanthropy, so we look for high-leverage opportunities to maximize our impact by convening the right players and supporting the right projects. We take calculated risks and innovate by testing and investing in new approaches.

Our Strategic Goals

To pursue our mission, Youthprise focuses on three strategic goals.


Build credibility of Youthprise as a knowledgeable intermediary to accelerate leadership and innovation in the field.


Develop coordinated sustainable systems that provide access to high quality expanded learning for underserved and under-engaged youth.


Authentically engage youth in the design and implementation of quality expanded learning programs, policy, systems, philanthropy, and research and evaluation.

Our Values

  • We believe in creating access, sparking innovation, striving for quality and shooting for sustainability.
  • We believe that complex social issues require aligned systems that are accountable for working together to improve the lives of young people at the margins.
  • We believe influence across a social system must be cultivated over time and organized around shared purpose to achieve impact
  • We believe in verifying our best thinking by collecting data and in adjusting our strategies based on evidence.
  • We believe that investing deeply in smaller organizations with innovative approaches and capacity to scale up will realize the greatest impact for young people.
  • We believe that racial equity is foundational to our mission. We have a tremendous opportunity to build the impact of the field by helping organizations and their boards to understand complex racial issues and work effectively in a multi-cultural environment.



Our Investors