Through the KIDS PLUS Community Planning Process, the Northland Foundation offers technical assistance and support to help communities identify the needs of young people and find ways to meet them. Since 1991, a total of 26 sites throughout northeastern Minnesota have participated in this process in order to transform their communities into better, more nurturing environments for children and young people.
Through a grassroots process guided by the Northland Foundation KIDS PLUS staff, all ages and sectors of the community come together to review what resources are already available locally to support children and youth, gather input about unmet needs and ideas for making improvements, and galvanize the community into action.
The results have been astounding. Each of the 26 sites has maintained a strong focus on serving the needs of their young people, establishing creative ways for children to have positive out-of-school time experiences and connect with caring adults. Countless projects and programs have been carried out within the 26 KIDS PLUS Communities, from homework help to youth-run business ventures, volunteer service and beautification projects, peer and adult mentoring, reading programs, and many others. Communities have leveraged their KIDS PLUS status and grants from the Northland Foundation to successfully raise millions of additional, outside dollars to help underwrite their work.
A strong learning community has also been developed among the 26 KIDS PLUS Communities which helps enhance local and regional capacity to support children, youth, and families. The KIDS PLUS Regional Alliance of Communities meets on a regular basis to: