The History of the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota

On June 14, 2016, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and seven other U.S. women’s foundations announced our commitments to launch Young Women’s Initiatives in our regions while onstage at the White House’s United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C.

The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota is a collaborative partnership between philanthropy, government, nonprofits, and young women aimed to ensure that young women (ages 12-24) have access and resources to increase their economic opportunity, safety, and health. The Initiative is modeled after the successful Young Women’s Initiative of the New York Women’s Foundation and New York City Council, launched in 2015.

In March 2016, our board approved a $4 million investment over the next five years to launch and operate the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (Initiative). Through the Initiative, we seek to end disparities in outcomes for young women (ages 12-24) in Minnesota. We will focus on young women of color and other young women facing the greatest disparities in outcomes, including those living in greater Minnesota, the disabilities community, and LGBTQ youth.

Recommendations will be informed by research, expertise of participating stakeholders, and direct input by young women. As part of the research that will inform and build the Initiative, the Foundation is hosting a series of Listening Sessions to hear directly from young women about the barriers to equity they face, and their solutions, hopes, and dreams for the future.

The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota is a collaborative initiative of philanthropy, government, nonprofits, and young women to:

  • Provide comprehensive analysis of services.
  • Conduct needs assessment which results in a shared public document of recommendations in five key areas: health; anti-violence; economic and workforce development; education; and self-sufficiency and mobility (income supports, childcare, supportive housing, foster care and child welfare).
  • Generate an Action Plan (and Girls Agenda for Minnesota).

The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota is anchored in our values, principles, and vision to create a world of equal opportunity where women and girls – and all people – hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives. It builds on the work we have done already and continue to do, and leverages the best of what we have learned through our MN Girls campaign: that cross-sector partnerships are critical for deeply affecting systemic changes.