Minneapolis, MN

Dear Minneapolis Grant Seeker,

I appreciate your interest in Carolyn Foundation.

After two years of low demand for our grants, the Minneapolis Middle School Youth category has become much more competitive. Last cycle, we could only fund 50% of the requests received, even though all of the proposals met our minimum requirements. While we don’t know for sure, we expect the demand to remain high in the coming cycle. To support the development and health of community-based organizations, we encourage BIPOC-led organizations with budgets of less than $1-1.5 million dollars a year to apply.

As we have to decide among excellent proposals and all other things are equal, we will give preference to:

  • Programs where the leadership and staff reflect the students they serve. Students benefit from seeing leaders that look like them and share lived experiences.
  • Programs that develop deep, meaningful, and supportive relationships between young people and caring adults. Organizations with stable, well-trained staff will be rated more highly than those with revolving staff and volunteers.
  • “High Dosage” programs: Programs that meet often, for a significant time, and an extended duration will be rated more highly. For example, a program that meets several times a week for two hours throughout the year will be favored over a program that is one hour a week for six weeks. Programs that work with young people over multiple years may receive higher ratings.
  • Programs that demonstrate active youth voice, engagement, and leadership are more highly rated than those that provide adult-directed services or activities for youth. On the Youth Engagement Continuum, we prefer organizations that offer youth development and leadership opportunities over youth services.

Evaluating grant requests is never an easy comparison. Each organization has different strengths; we do our best to understand and value those. This list is to help you understand the factors we consider as we compare your request with others.

Our Middle School Children & Youth grant round opened on June 15, 2023. Click here to preview the application form, and follow this link to apply. The deadline to apply is August 15, 2023, and grants will be paid in early 2024.

Please read our specific school-based program and community-based program guidelines.

To help you understand our thinking about our our criteria, please read these articles about research-based program design for middle school-age youth:


Becky Erdahl
Executive Director

July 10, 2023