Launched by the Northland Foundation in 1990, the overall goal of the KIDS PLUS Program is to improve the well-being of children and youth in northeastern Minnesota. Prior to creating the program, the Foundation conducted extensive research to identify the best approaches to address children and youth issues in the region. The model for community organizing and engagement that Northland developed and has refined over the years has gained national recognition and been the basis for two successful statewide initiatives.
Today KIDS PLUS consists of a family of programs that supports children and youth from birth to adulthood. Underpinning this work is the understanding that by connecting kids with caring adults from all sectors of their community, great things will happen!
The KIDS PLUS focus areas are:
The Foundation’s Grant Program complements KIDS PLUS by dedicating approximately 60 percent of its annual grant funding to support efforts that strengthen children, youth, and families. The knowledge and years of experience the Northland Foundation has in working directly with communities has contributed to a broad array of opportunities, programs, and resources throughout the region.
Building resources for children and youth
The Northland Foundation, along with the 26 KIDS PLUS Communities and 12 Early Childhood Coalitions, has leveraged $25 million dollars in resources to benefit children and youth.
Engaging young people in leadership opportunities
Thousands of young people are engaged in meaningful leadership roles in their schools, organizations, and communities.
Strengthening local capacity to support children, youth, and families
More than 40,000 young people and 20,000 adults have worked together to identify specific local needs and design activities and programs to meet those needs.
Creating opportunities for young people to build friendships with older adults
Through initiatives such as AGE to age: bringing generations together and the Reading Pals program, community members of all ages bridge the generations to break down barriers,learn from one another, and create change.
Establishing partnerships to sustain children and youth programming
The Northland Foundation and the network of KIDS PLUS and Early Childhood Communities have developed public and private partnerships at the local, state, and national levels to promote long-term sustainability.