The Northland Foundation launched the KIDS PLUS Program in the early 1990s with one idea in mind: to more actively improve the wellbeing of children and youth in northeastern Minnesota. Since then, KIDS PLUS has blossomed into a whole family of initiatives to help communities in the region support the healthy development of children and young people, from birth to adulthood.
Youth In Philanthropy
The Youth In Philanthropy Program is a unique grantmaking board that engages 7th through 12th grade students from around the region, guided by adult mentors, to gain hands-on experience with philanthropy and volunteer service. Community and school groups as well as youth-serving nonprofit organizations may submit grant applications, written by children and youth for projects driven by children and youth, for consideration by the current Youth In Philanthropy Board members. There are three grantmaking rounds per year with deadlines of October 1, January 1, and April 1. The youth-led board awards up to $1,000 per grant to support projects in northeastern Minnesota and Superior, WI. Check out recently awarded grants! Since 2001, Youth In Philanthropy has granted more than $480,000 and provided thousands of children and youth with resources to participate in after-school enrichment, environmental learning, community beautification, and much more. Visit the Grants Apply/Report page to access the Youth In Philanthropy Application & Budget Form and Final Report Form, along with our Grant Information and Checklist to help applicants think through their project idea and application.
Youth Leadership Academy
The KIDS PLUS Youth Leadership Academy was created in 1998 to help young people develop the skills and capacity to serve their communities now and in the future. Each year, approximately 50 ninth-graders and 10 to 15 volunteer adult mentors joined together in a series of interactive workshops that helped build relationships and sharpen their leadership, communication, and team-building abilities. This nine-month intergenerational program concluded with a community service project in the spring that was chosen, planned and carried out by the participants. The project empowered the young people to use their newly honed knowledge and skills, promoted the strength of youth-adult partnerships, and helped community members to view youth as amazing resources and leaders. More than 1,200 young people and 375 adult mentors from Hibbing-Chisholm; International Falls; Cloquet-Fond du Lac; the Quad Cities of Virginia, Mountain Iron, Eveleth, and Gilbert; Duluth; and Superior were part of this program.
KIDS PLUS Communities
Beginning in 1992, the Northland Foundation conducted the KIDS PLUS Planning Process in 26 northeastern Minnesota sites to connect kids and community. Through a series of guided steps, KIDS PLUS has helped participating communities to rally people of all ages and backgrounds. Together, they identified their local strengths and gaps related to the needs of children and youth, then developed creative ways to support the wellbeing of young people. Over the years, KIDS PLUS Communities have implemented countless projects and programs, from youth-run businesses to after-school tutoring to intergenerational dances and community picnics. Beyond the resources provided by the Northland Foundation, KIDS PLUS communities across the region have leveraged their KIDS PLUS status to raise millions of additional dollars to sustain and expand their local efforts.