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KIDS PLUS programming for young people develops leadership with support from funders, donors, and volunteer mentors

Youth In Philanthropy Program

The KIDS PLUS Youth In Philanthropy Board had another successful year helping young leaders gain board experience while promoting community engagement and volunteerism. The Board, made up of high school students, awarded 17 grants totaling $15,460 to youth-led projects across the region.

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The young people of the Youth In Philanthropy Board

awarded 17 grants to children- and youth-led projects

from all across the region.

Their grantmaking was made possible by support from the Minnesota Power Foundation, as well as a grant from the Scott and Holly Martin Family Foundation that was matched by other members of the Northland Foundation's Emeritus Trustee Group.

The board included 16 high school students from Cloquet, Duluth, Ely, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Hibbing, McGregor, Moose Lake, Superior, and Two Harbors with guidance provided by five adult mentors: Jamie Adams, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Brad Flynn, ALLETE; Cheryl Meld, McGregor KIDS PLUS/Something Cool, Inc.; Tim Stratioti, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland; and Dan Thewis, Two Harbors High School.

The youth and mentors held grant meetings in October, January, and (virtually) April to review and make funding decisions on grant requests for up to $1,000 each written by children and youth.

“These young people put an impressive amount of thought and care into their decision-making. The program, with support from adult mentors, helps them develop their skills throughout their time on the board," said Tony Sertich, Northland Foundation’s President.

“As the pandemic intensified needs in our region this spring, they chose to award an unsolicited grant to a regional food bank, putting their deepening understanding of community and philanthropy into action.”

Twin Ports Youth Leadership Academy

For the 22nd year, the KIDS PLUS Youth Leadership Academy joined Duluth and Superior area students with adult mentors to build their capacity as leaders. A total of 47 ninth graders and 15 mentors participated in monthly workshops to develop their confidence to be leaders and strengthen their community knowledge, teamwork and communication skills.

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Due to COVID-19, the 2019-2020 Twin Ports Youth

Leadership class will safely complete their service

project this fall for the children living at the Steve

O'Neil Apartments.

The youth participants selected the Steve O’Neil Apartments for their 2020 service project. Originally the service project was to be completed in the spring, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The students are now planning a safe, socially distanced project that will benefit the more than 70 children living at Steve O'Neil Apartments, whose families have experienced homelessness.

"This fantastic group of young people missed out on the service project and their year-end banquet to celebrate their accomplishments," said Lynn Haglin, Northland Foundation's Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director. "We are so pleased they are extending their leadership experience into this fall."


Special thanks to those whose support enables the Northland Foundation to offer this program, which costs $1,600 per student per year, at no charge to the participants.