The mission of the Sundance Family Foundation is to accelerate youth development and strengthen family stability.

Sundance has had a strong interest in Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) programs—defined as youth-centric, youth-led nonprofit enterprises that include community engagement, social-emotional learning (SEL), and workforce readiness. About 50+ YSE programs currently operate in the greater Twin Cities metro area. Youth are learning social and emotional skills, and community engagement along with 21st Century workforce skills that will lead to their prosperity and independence.

Yet, youth living in low income areas, and youth in communities of color are facing 16-23% unemployment while the average unemployment in Minnesota is 3.2%.

It is now time to focus on creating Earn & Learn pathways. We must no help create a youth focused workforce development strategy that brings all of our youth into exciting careers and livable wages that can both support their families and help them thrive.

Sundance celebrates the 85 Honorees who are currently earning and learning with 65 Community Champions: employers who are hiring new employees at livable wages and paying for their training as they acquire Nationally recognized certificates and degrees. This effort takes a village, one that is being created by many visionary partners.

Sundance is instrumental in:

1. Building Data Capacity: A Completed a 36-month project with Wilder Research support a YSE model to increase personal agency, build social capital and the workforce readiness skills needed for 21st Century InDemand careers.  Nonprofit cohort members developed logic models, evaluation plans, installed or refined  databases, and collect verifiable evidence-based data. As a result of this work, cohort members could gain access to state and federal dollars that they were not able to access.

2. Bridges and Pipelines: Sundance is helping YSE organizations, the Minneapolis Foundation and GreaterMSP track YSE alumni to ensure that these students find meaningful career paths.

3. Innovative Supports: Sundance is working with scores of public and private sector employers who are helping youth gain and retain employment or early entrepreneurial ventures. Supports include specialized training programs like the one at Hennepin Tech and St. Paul Police Department, Internships and Apprenticeships by Genesys Works and Upturnships, and community engagement activities by organizations like Elpis Enterprise, Urban Roots and Dream of Wild Health.

4. Communicating Bold Innovations: Starting in 2016 Sundance began convening teams of manufacturers, trades, journey, and union representatives with community and academic leaders to build new networks. In 2019 Sundance began creating a documentary on the Earn & Learn efforts of dozens of organizations in the Twin Cities. This film is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2020. Keep an eye on this and social media channels.

5. Wunderkammers: Community Tech and Training Exploratoriums, have been providing unique hands-on career exploration for youth. Wunderkammers were produced in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Vadnais Heights, and Maplewood. Youth engaged with technician in the private and governmental sectors which a focus on jobs available in governments and cities.

Sundance is changing its grantmaking process and dates:

Click HERE for Further Details on Our Application Page

Grants requests are not accepted for International Projects.

Contact Information

Phone: (612) 822-8580


Sundance Family Foundation
944 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105




Click HERE to download the White Paper outlining the Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) model: combining workforce readiness with social/emotional and community engagement that helps youth and young adults also develop personal agency and social capital.

Sundance Supports an evidence-based approach to sustainable investing.  Read the white paper here!

Youth Social Entrepreneurship: Advancing the Field

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