Equity and Impact By Design
Since 2015, we’ve produced more breakthrough research on the well-being of young women of color, launched the Young Women’s Initiative, directed grants to nonprofits and individuals, and worked with powerful leaders and young women to advance equity.
In 2015, in partnership with the White House Council on Women and Girls, we hosted the very first young women’s listening session.
Since then, we formed the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota Council of cross-sector leaders from government, business, higher education, philanthropy, and the community, whose role – in partnership with the Young Women’s Cabinet – is to sequence the Blueprint for Action and catalyze resources to move the recommendations forward.
In 2016, we launched the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota in partnership with the Governor’s Office, centering 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.
In 2018, we awarded our first grants to organizations working in the intersecting areas of economic opportunity, safety, and leadership with and on behalf of young women and girls.
In 2018, we launched the first cohort of WFMN Innovators, 22 young women who received WFMN funding to support their leadership and to drive their ideas and solutions that advance key recommendations in the Blueprint for Action.
invested in 58 organizations, 80% led by women of color.
78 “I Believe in You” grants, direct investments in WFMN Innovators.
engaged as members of the Young Women’s Cabinet to build their leadership and ground the Young Women’s Initiative in their lived experiences.
10 original research reports published focused on young women’s leadership and solutions.
“I need a supportive environment and a community that respects who I am and supports my dreams and tells me that, ‘You know, I can change the world and I’m powerful.’”
Ling DebellisYoung Women’s Cabinet
“Give me time, give me patience, give me resources. Allow me to heal and understand what it feels like to be impacted and also creating impact.”
Khadra FiqiWFMN Innovator
“I need to have a strong support system and advocates who are on my side to push me forward so I can accomplish new challenges.”
Katelyn VueYoung Women’s Cabinet
“Being with these women gives me confidence that it is only a matter of time before we start taking those leadership steps to become the change we seek in our communities.”
Oluwatobi OluwagbemiYoung Women’s Cabinet
“What do I need to thrive? I need support more than anything. It’s what makes an authentic leader. I think that with support, giving it and receiving it we can change the world together.”
Alexis MurilloWFMN Innovator
“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.”
Maya TackaberryWFMN Innovator
Young Women’s Cabinet
Co-led with the Governor’s Office, the 32 young women on the Cabinet ensure that the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota remains grounded in young women’s lived experiences and their community-specific challenges and solutions. YWCA St. Paul is funded by WFMN to provide leadership development and payment to the young women who share their influence and perspective on grantmaking committees, advocacy at the Capitol, through narrative shifting communications, and as a cohort dedicated to creating a Minnesota where every young woman thrives.
Young women are the future of Minnesota. That’s why we’re making direct investments in the ideas and solutions of the WFMN Innovators – 23 young women (ages 16-24) whose leadership advances key recommendations from the Blueprint for Action.
The Innovators program incorporates mentoring and coaching at each step and is being replicated by the eight women’s foundations participating in the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives.
Black Visions, a direct service community partner, is coordinating 15 coaches representing YWI MN’s target communities who have extensive professional experience working with young women. Coaches mentor the Innovator cohorts through one-to-one coaching and convenings on project management, process and professional and leadership development.
YWI MN is committed to strengthening the infrastructure of organizations serving young women. To that end, WFMN awarded $580,800 in grants to 20 youth-serving organizations working in the intersecting areas of economic opportunity, safety, and leadership with and on behalf of young women and girls to advance Blueprint for Action recommendations.
Teen Tech Centers
WFMN approached Best Buy to use a gender lens in programming at their Teen Tech Centers to increase pathways for young women into STEM fields. We partnered to invest in young women-focused programs at two Minneapolis Teen Tech Centers located in communities experiencing the greatest barriers to STEM careers. The centers increase hands-on exposure to STEM subjects and provide mentorship, professional training, and networking that will help young women feel prepared for the workplace.
The Women’s Foundation is the founding member and host of the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives. Women’s foundations across the country are leading young women’s initiatives in their communities – and replicating the successful WFMN Innovator program – so young women everywhere can thrive.
Together, we are building a powerful, cross-sector movement led with and by young women driving solutions and change now, community by community, across Minnesota.
You can make a difference for young women in Minnesota with a gift today.