Minneapolis, MN

Dear Minneapolis Grant Seeker,

Thank you for 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 help you decide if you want to apply, we are sharing more about our evaluation criteria, assuming we have many high-quality applications fitting our minimum standards. Please read these articles about research-based program design for middle school-age youth:

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

  • Programs that are “high dosage” meet often, for a significant time and for an extended duration. For example, a program that meets several times a week for two hours throughout the year will be rated more highly than a program that is one hour a week for six weeks. Programs that work with young people over multiple years may be rated more highly than those that don’t.
  • Programs that demonstrate active youth voice, engagement, and leadership are likely 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 over youth services.   Programs where young people help set the agenda are often more engaging and developmental than those that don’t.
  • Programs that develop meaningful, supportive relationships between young people and caring adults will be rated higher than those that don’t. Organizations with stable, well-trained youth development staff will be rated more highly than those with revolving volunteers.
  • Programs that develop skills, interests, or passions are more highly rated than programs that merely provide safe places to hang out.
  • Programs where the leadership and staff reflect the students they serve will be rated higher than those that don’t. Students benefit from seeing leaders that look like them and share lived experiences.

Evaluating grant requests is never an easy comparison.  Each organization has different strengths and we do our best to understand and value those.  This list is to help you understand the things we are talking about and reflecting on as we compare your request with others.

Our Middle School Children & Youth grant round will open on June 15, 2023. You may apply here. The deadline to apply is August 15, 2023, and grants will be paid in early 2024.


Becky Erdahl
Executive Director