A Brief History

The McKnight Foundation

For 15 years, The McKnight Foundation has been 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 the organization received its 501c3 nonprofit status and trademarked the name Youthprise. That same month, the Board appointed Wokie Weah to be the organization’s first president. In June 2011, highly respected Youth Community Connections, Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance, came under the Youthprise umbrella, bringing with it history and wisdom about the field.

Youth Community Connections

Planning for a statewide afterschool alliance began in 2001 through conversations with leaders in the youth development field who wanted to ensure access to high quality afterschool programming for Minnesota youth. When state funding was eliminated for afterschool programs in 2003, the field was galvanized on behalf of young people in Minnesota and the group formalized its goals and purpose. In 2005 staff were hired for Youth Community Connections and the program moved into the University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Youth Development.

As the McKnight Foundation and some of those same leaders began to create Youthprise, they saw it as the perfect place to magnify the work of Youth Community Connections. In June 2011, Youth Community Connections formally moved to its new home with Youthprise, which now coordinates Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance. The Supporting Youth Success policy framework developed by Youth Community Connections provides a strong foundation for Youthprise’s efforts to create seamless learning systems that link learning inside and beyond the classroom.

Exploratory Advisory Council

Ann DeGroot, Executive Director, Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board
Aretha Green-Rupert, Program Officer, The Otto Bremer Foundation
Barb Yates, Executive Director, Resources for Child Caring
Carol Thomas, Learning Supports Supervisor, MN Department of Education
Christine Ganzlin, Senior Program Officer, The McKnight Foundation
Craig Luedemann, Executive Director, YouthCARE
Dale Blyth, Director and Associate Dean, Center for 4-H Youth Development
Donna Gillen, Executive Director, youthrive
Erika Binger, Board member, The McKnight Foundation
Jennifer Peredia, Commissioner, Second Shift Youth Commission
Jeron Mariani, youthrive leader
Joyce Walker, Professor and Youth Development Educator, University of MN
Kari Denissen Cunnien, Second Shift Coordinator, City of St. Paul Mayor’s Office
Kevin Overson, Program Administrator, The McKnight Foundation
Latoya Balogun, Minneapolis Youth Congress
Laura LaCroix Dalluhn, Executive Director, Youth Community Connections
Maureen Hartman, Youth Development Director, Hennepin County Library System
Maurice Nins, DMC Coordinator, MN Department of Corrections
Neal Cuthbert, Vice President of Program, The McKnight Foundation
Shakiela Dillard, YouthCARE alum
Soukasavath Nantharath, Youth Representative
Yvonne Barrett, Program Officer, The Saint Paul Foundation


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