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

Sundance has moved its focus to young adults 18-24+ who are entering the workforce.

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. These fabulous programs support career exploration and work readiness skills for thousands of youth age 14-18 in the Twin Cities.

Yet, youth living in low income areas, and youth in communities of color are facing 4-6X times the average Minnesota unemployment rate of 9.9%. In short, the education, finance and economic disparities which put Minnesota in the very last quartile of all states in the US are persistent. 

It is now time to focus on creating Earn & Learn pathways. We must now  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. (Note: this is the United Nations Sustainable Development Strategy 8.b.1)

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 3-year data gathering and reporting cohort with Wilder Research found that the Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) model for youth 14-18 increased personal agency, built social capital and provided the workforce readiness skills needed to advance. Youth explored various careers and learned personal finance skills.  The Nonprofit cohort members refined their logic models, evaluation plans, installed or refined  databases, and collect verifiable evidence-based data. As a result of this work, many cohort members have gained access to state and federal dollars that they were not able to access before the project.

2. Bridges and Pipelines: Sundance has been working to connect youth service nonprofits to training and employer partners so that young adults 18-24 can move to middle-skill careers.

3. Innovative Supports: Sundance created data gathering tools (a modified WIOA Workforce Readiness Survey, a Youth Retrospect Survey, an app for use with Salesforce, and hours of technical assistance to nonprofits.

4. Communicating Bold Innovations: In 2019 Sundance began creating a documentary: Breaking the Statistics 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. Zoomerkammers: A COVID version of our Wunderkammers: These Community Tech and Training Exploratoriums, have been providing unique hands-on career exploration for youth. During COVID, we reformatted them to become Zoomerkammers that featured youth readiness and support programs, short-term training opportunities, and employers. Many of the employers have entry-level starts that lead to middl-skill careers with salaries and benefits that help families thrive.

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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