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YWI MN Impact

Changing Minnesota –
For Good

When Black, Indigenous, and young women of color have pathways to economic opportunity, Minnesota will thrive. When Black, Indigenous, and young women of color are safe, Minnesota will thrive. When Black, Indigenous, and young women of color are seen in leadership in every sector, Minnesota will thrive.

The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota won’t just change the lives of young women. It will change Minnesota. For good.

YWI MN Innovators

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 Executive Council for the Young Women’s Initiative with 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.

“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.’ “

Ling Debellis
Young Women’s Cabinet

$2.5 Million

invested in 58 organizations, 80% led by women of color

105 “I Believe in You” grants

direct investments in WFMN Innovators

91 Women

engaged as members of the YWI 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

Leaders in Driving Change

Young Women’s Cabinet

Co-led with the Governor’s Office, the 25 young women on the Cabinet ensure that the Young Women’s Initiative 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, and as a cohort dedicated to creating a Minnesota where every young woman thrives.

Meet the Cabinet

WFMN Innovators

Young women are the future of Minnesota. That’s why we’re making direct investments in the ideas and solutions of the WFMN Innovators – 33 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.

Meet the Innovators

Innovator Coaches

Black Visions, a direct service community partner, coordinates 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.

Executive Council for the Young Women’s Initiative

The Executive Council for the Young Women’s Initiative comprises cross-sector leaders from government, business, higher education, philanthropy, nonprofits, and Minnesota communities. The Executive Council is critical to the overall success of the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota. Learn more and meet the council.

Field Partners

YWI MN is committed to strengthening the infrastructure of organizations serving young women. To that end, WFMN awarded $514,000 in grants to 17 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 to increase hands-on exposure to STEM subjects and provide mentorship, professional training, and networking that will help young women feel prepared for the workplace.

National Partnership

The Women’s Foundation is the founding member 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.

National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiative

Celebrating Young Women of color & Indigenous Leadership

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.