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Apply to Join the WFMN Innovators

WFMN Innovators

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) believes in the leadership and ideas of young women in our state. Young women of color, American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities, between the ages 16-24, are invited to apply to become WFMN Innovators. Applications are due January 7, 2020.

Through the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota’s WFMN Innovators program, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota provides microgrants of $2,500 directly to young women (ages 16-24) to support their leadership and to drive their ideas and solutions that advance key recommendations in the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (YWI MN) Blueprint for Action. Last year, WFMN awarded microgrants to 33 WFMN Innovators, representing a total investment of $82,500.

“We are thrilled to support the leadership and ideas of the WFMN Innovators, who are not only the leaders of tomorrow – they are leading in communities across Minnesota today. Through their work together and with the Young Women’s Initiative, the WFMN Innovators are creating a more equitable Minnesota. Together, we are driving economic opportunity, safety, and leadership for all young women in our state.”
— Lulete Mola, WFMN vice president of community impact

What is a WFMN Innovator?

WFMN Innovators will receive a $2,500 grant to support innovative problem-solving grounded in the Blueprint for Action, the series of recommendations created in partnership with young women from eight communities across the state and informed by WFMN Listening Sessions. Proposals will identify applicants’ innovative problem-solving aligned with moving forward the Blueprint recommendations. Released in 2017 with the Governor’s Office of the State of Minnesota, the Blueprint for Action comprises 20 recommendations for achieving equity in outcomes, access to equal opportunities, and safe, prosperous lives for all young women in Minnesota.

2020 Program Year Focus

The 2020 cohort of WFMN Innovators are to align their projects and ideas with the following specific Blueprint for Action recommendations that work to build pathways to economic opportunity, improve safety and well-being, and promote a state of leadership with and for young women.

  1. Recommendation 5: Enhance Career Pathways—Ensure young women have opportunities and pathways to high-skill, high-wage careers and jobs; increase participation in STEM fields and technical careers; and increase opportunities and pay for young women in female-dominated employment sectors.
  2. Recommendation 17: Prevent Violence through Healthy Relationships—Educate young women and men about healthy relationships, harmful narratives and norms, and promoting positive self-identities to reduce violence.
  3. Recommendation 9: Develop Young Women Leaders—Develop the capacity of young women for political and civic leadership. Note: Special consideration will be given to applications advancing recommendation 9 for projects and leadership development addressing climate change.
  4. Recommendation 3: Reframe Harmful Narratives—Promote messages that ensure young women can experience the world without limitations.

What do I need to apply?

Through an online grant application that includes a video submission, WFMN Innovators will be selected based on articulation of project proposal, community voice, lived experiences, and commitment to community-building and leadership. The application period closes on January 7, 2020. 

Interested in applying?

Who can apply?

Eligible candidates will:

  • Identify as a young woman between the ages of 16-24. Our definition of young woman is anyone who identifies as a woman and is inclusive of cisgender, transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender non-binary people.
  • Residence and impact in the state of Minnesota.
  • Priority given to young women identifying with one or more of the following communities: Black/African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Disabilities, Greater/Rural Minnesota.
  • Citizenship is not required.

Application includes:

  • Resume
  • Project outline
  • Project budget
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Video submission link

How can the WFMN Innovators grant award be used?

Think creatively! How can this microgrant uniquely help move your leadership and ideas forward? How can it help you be more effective in the impact you want to make?

Funds are paid directly to participants to support their leadership for innovative problem-solving based on the Blueprint for Action. The funds must be used within 12 months. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Start or continue a social change initiative
  • Design and pursue a personal learning plan
  • Attend a conference and share learnings with community for impact
  • Organize an event for impact
  • Supply resources to organize people for advocacy
  • Research
  • Travel as part of greater learning and share learnings in Minnesota for impact

What does it mean to be part of a cohort?

The WFMN Innovators will engage in quarterly convenings for leadership development, advocacy, and building community to scale their leadership and project impact. The convenings will give young women an opportunity to support, develop, and scale their leadership and ideas.

A WFMN Innovator says:

“The funding I received as a WFMN Innovator was a direct investment in my ideas and an opportunity to develop my goals to create more representative leadership and support networks in Greater Minnesota,” wrote WFMN Innovator Cheniqua Johnson in a blog post about her experience attending the She the People Summit —the first national summit of women of color in politics. “By gathering with powerful women leading change, I am inspired to move forward and – despite the odds – continue to thrive with my passion to make a difference,” she says.

What is the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota?

Launched in 2016, the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (YWI MN) is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment and public-private partnership with the Governor’s Office that centers the leadership and solutions of young women of color, American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities. The goal of YWI MN is to create a Minnesota where every girl thrives and is the champion of her own life.

Have more questions?

As you prepare your application, please contact Brook with questions by email or phone:

Brook LaFloe
Reatha Clark King Fellow | YWI MN Program Manager

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