Grants of $2,500 and in-kind services to Minnesota young women for projects and activities that encourage leadership development. Proposals should demonstrate how they will reduce or eliminate barriers, achieve gender and racial equity, and increase access to opportunity. The purpose of the program is to invest in the leadership, ideas, and initiatives of young women as well as to provide meetings that promote advocacy, leadership development, and building community. The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota is a statewide initiative to create a Minnesota where every young woman thrives.

Through the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, the WFMN Innovators program will provide microgrants directly to young women (ages 16-24) to fuel their ideas and support their development as leaders with leadership convenings.

  • Monetary Investment: Investment in the leadership, ideas, and initiatives of young women to bring their Blueprint for Action ideas to life or continue their work in the areas of economic opportunity, safety, and leadership. This grant is paid directly to young women to support innovative problem-solving grounded in the Blueprint for Action, the series of recommendations based on research and listening with more than 500 young women and community leaders across Minnesota.
  • Leadership Convenings and Coaching: WFMN will engage young women in online and in-person convenings for leadership development, advocacy, and building community. The convenings will give young women an opportunity to support, develop, and scale their leadership and ideas. This leadership development includes direct professional coaching to support Innovators in their grant-funded projects and deepen their leadership for the long term.

WFMN Innovators will receive a one-time grant. The funds are paid directly to participants to support their leadership for innovative problem-solving based on recommendations 5, 17, 9, and 3 in the Blueprint for Action (see Supporting Documents below). Examples of projects could be executed in the following ways:

  • 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.

WFMN Innovators in this cohort will align their projects and ideas to the YWI goals based on the following Blueprint for Action recommendations.:

  • Build pathways to economic opportunity: (Recommendation 5) Ensure young women have opportunities and pathways to high-skill, high-wage careers, and jobs; increase participation in STEM field and technical careers; and increase opportunities and pay for young women in female-dominated employment sectors.
  • Improve safety and well-being: (Recommendation 17) Educate young women and men about healthy relationships, harmful narratives and norms, and promote positive self-identities to reduce violence.
  • Promote a state of leadership with and for young women: (Recommendation 9) Develop Young Women Leaders: Develop the capacity of young women for political and civic leadership; (Recommendation 3) Reframe Harmful Narratives: Promote messages that ensure young women can experience the world without limitations.

WFMN Innovators’ grant recipients are required to participate in four quarterly convenings hosted by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Additionally, all selected participants are required to participate in a learning and evaluation process that will include surveys and interviews. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Foundation will host these convenings virtually.