Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

Sundance Family Foundation is a nimble and progressive local private foundation with a mission to “strengthen youth development and support family stability.” Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is an investment strategy that focuses on Environmental, Social and Governance criteria (ESG) to measure sustainability and ethical impacts of investments in a company or business. A triple bottom line investment looks for impact in these three areas, using internal and external screens as a broad set of concerns that measure return on investment. Factors such as employee discrimination policies (an internal screen) and avoidance of investing in traded companies with perceived social harm such as tobacco production (external screen) are examples of filters used for ethical decision making inherent in Socially Responsible Investing. This vehicle for driving philanthropic impact is endorsed by numerous investment houses throughout the world, as well as the U.S. based Mission Investors Exchange.   A glossary of Socially Responsible Investing terms compiled by the Mission Investors Exchange can be found here.  As well a downloadable PDF document funded by the H.B. Herron and developed by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors is available here.

Social Responsible Investing Definitions

Socially Responsible Investing is similar to Mission Related Investing (MRI). MRI is a type or subcategory of an SRI. Both consider social, environmental and financial returns, employing various methods to achieve these returns. However, MRI is individually targeted to each individual organization’s specific mission, and, is actively using investing as a means to furthering the individual organization’s mission. The institution’s core values are directly connected to its financial activities.

The Mission Investors Exchange (MIE) provides resources for foundations and other organizations that use investments as tools for achieving their values based philanthropic goals. MIE is a resource for more than 200 foundations and other organizations.

Founder and Sundance Family Foundation President Nancy Jacobs along with an engaged Sundance Board of Directors, strives toward triple bottom line impact as the Foundation adheres to a values-based, empowerment model of philanthropy. This investment strategy is also exemplified through Sundance’s supportive grantmaking to Youth Social Entrepreneurial (YSE) organizations, and through its work to develop the YSE Twin Cities ecosystem. Sundance also works to leverage community initiatives by joining forces with philanthropic, private and government partners.

Values Based Investing (another term for Socially Responsible Investing) can be advanced through other methods which Sundance also employs including:

  • Program Related Investments (PRI) and other community loans
  • Purchasing economic goods and services from local vendors, especially those from under-resourced communities
  • Banking through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and joint capital investments
  • KIVA International micro financing and other loans and programs that connect entrepreneurs in developing countries through the Internet with their local lenders
  • Microfinance loans

The Sundance Family Foundation has joined the ranks of national leaders by investing the largess of the Foundation’s assets into triple bottom line Mission Investment Funds. Click here to discover a bit more about social impact investing around the country.

The impact of Sundance’s strong investment policy has served the foundation and the global community in four important ways:

  1. Sundance’s mission investments leverage grantmaking impact by actively investing corpus dollars into domestic and global funds that create community redevelopment, including housing and job creation
  2. Sundance’s investments give Shareholder Advocates powerful advocacy opportunities to expose unethical corporate policies and practices, and promote internal and external social changes in historic and profound ways through proxy voting, direct dialogue with corporate executive leadership, influencing the development of public policy, and positive impact on company policies, practices and performance. Their effective influence on corporate change produces industry-wide positive improvements
  3. Socially Responsible Investing enhances the impact of the Foundation’s grantmaking dollars exponentially by investing in community redevelopment efforts
  4.  Sundance has secured a financial Return on Investment (ROI) that is consistently commensurate with or exceeds standard market rate benchmark indices


The Minnesota Council on Foundations published an article in the Spring 2014 Newsletter featuring the Sundance Family Foundation as follows:

The Sundance article in Giving Forum:

SRI Investing: A View from an Investment Manager piece:

Both articles are linked from the Spring 2014 Giving Forum page on the MCF site:


How to Develop a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Program for Your Foundation


The Sundance Family Foundation was established to support and strengthen family stability worldwide and has a particular focus on supporting projects that encourage youth social entrepreneurship.  In the summer of 2009, Sundance embarked on a quest to incorporate socially responsible investments into their investment program.  Socially responsible investing (SRI), also known as sustainable, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing, is any investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social good.  Sundance wanted to invest their assets more in alignment with their core values and to make a positive impact on the world with their investments.  This is a recap of how Sundance has pursued this socially responsible investment strategy over the past several years in collaboration with an independent, fee-only registered investment advisory firm.  Both parties have learned much as they have built an investment program for Sundance that is in alignment with their mission, their core values and their socially responsible investment (SRI) mandate.

The Sundance investment committee decided to search for an investment advisor to help them to develop a socially responsible investment program.  They wanted to pursue a comprehensive and disciplined investment approach to ethical investing which combines prudent investment management (including diversification to manage risk and the objective to earn market returns) with the equally important goal to “do good” with their money.

Allodium Investment Consultants is an independent fee-only registered investment advisory firm based in Minneapolis.  Allodium understands that socially responsible investment preferences are by definition going to be unique to the core values that are present in a foundation or endowment investment portfolio.

Initial Inquiry at Allodium

In September of 2009, Allodium was approached by Sundance to help with socially responsible investing.  Sundance wanted to develop a socially responsible investment strategy and to get their investments in alignment with their core values.   In the initial call to Allodium, the Allodium team agreed to help Sundance to clearly define and document the socially responsible goals and preferences of the Foundation.  In a subsequent meeting with the Sundance investment committee, Allodium listened to the needs of the organization and agreed to help Sundance to clarify their investment objectives and to help them to design and develop an investment program that would get their investments in alignment with their SRI investment preferences.  Sundance shared that they wanted to “do good” with their money and “avoid the evil” by not funding companies that are destroying the world.  They wanted to use their money to make the world a better place.

Allodium worked with Sundance to help them to define what they meant to pursue “socially responsible investments”.  Allodium uses a values questionnaire that helps an investment committee to clarify and define each investor’s unique socially responsible investment preferences.   Allodium summarized the results of the completed questionnaire for Sundance and developed a matrix of the key socially responsible investment preferences to avoid and/or to emphasize.  From the analysis of the socially responsible investment questionnaire, the Allodium team learned that the socially responsible investment priorities for the Sundance investment committee revolved around making investments in companies that are protecting the environment, promoting economic development and community development as well as providing financing for low income housing, while at the same time “screening out” companies that have poor business practices that harm society at large.

The primary benefit provided by the investment consultant at this initial stage was to listen to the investment committee, to document what they said and to reflect back to the investment committee what they were saying.  Allodium was then able to develop an investment plan that was tailored to the needs of the Sundance Family Foundation.

Allodium believes that fiduciary investors can balance socially responsible investing with fiduciary best practices.  While listening to the priorities of the Sundance investment committee, Allodium documented two specific investment goals for Sundance:

  1. Broad diversification.  The investment committee defined broad diversification as a key goal and wanted to implement as many socially responsible investment strategies as could be achieved within the parameters of investing with broad diversification to manage investment risk.   Allodium strives to help fiduciary investors to fulfill their fiduciary obligations under the law.   This decision to diversify by asset class helped the investment committee to fulfill their fiduciary duty to be prudent in their investment decision-making process.
  2. Competitive Market returns.  The investment committee did not want to add socially responsible investment strategies at the expense of achieving market returns.  The investment committee wanted to incorporate socially responsible investments while earning competitive, market returns on their investments.

Successful investing has a lot to do with the concept of avoiding mistakes.  Socially responsible investment strategies may actually lead to an investment decision-making process that minimizes the number of problems related to the environment, social issues like work place policies and corporate governance.   A socially responsible investment strategy may actually lead to a reduction in certain types of investment risk over time.  If socially responsible investing actually reduces the number of problems in an investment portfolio, this reduction in mistakes could potentially lead to enhanced investment performance over long periods of time.

At this point in the process, the Allodium team drafted an investment policy statement for Sundance that documented the investment objectives for the Foundation as well as a specific paragraph that described their socially responsible investment mandate.

Phase One:  Equity Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Allodium is independent of the traditional Wall Street banks and brokerage firms to eliminate the conflicts of interest related to proprietary investment products.  This allows Allodium to search for investments that are in alignment with the unique investment goals and preferences of investment committees using an open architecture approach that includes all possible investment options for the foundation.

The initial thrust of the Sundance SRI Investment strategy was implemented primarily with domestic equity mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) because the domestic equity asset class has the most choices for SRI investments.  The Morningstar database currently has approximately 27,000 individual investment choices in their mutual fund and exchanged-traded fund universe. Of that fund universe, only 466 funds are currently categorized as SRI choices (approximately 2% of the fund choices).   The challenge at this point was to help the Sundance investment committee to develop a process to screen the SRI investment managers to identify a smaller set of suitable investments for the foundation.  Allodium used the fi360 Toolkit ( to screen the specific funds on nine due diligence criteria to reduce the fund choices to a more manageable subset of the SRI fund universe.

SRI investors can choose from both active investment managers and lower cost passive investment managers.  In the course of the due diligence research process, Allodium found active domestic large cap SRI equity investment managers at established SRI investment firms such as Parnassus Investments and Calvert Investments.  The due diligence research also uncovered several passive strategies such as exchange traded index funds from investment companies such as iShares and low cost institutional mutual funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors.

The international equities asset class proved to be more difficult due to a limited number of high-quality choices but investment firms like Boston Common Asset Management have introduced commingled accounts and mutual funds to provide international equity exposure for SRI investors.  These new vehicles provide SRI investors the opportunity to diversify with international equities to help to manage investment risk with broad diversification.

At the end of phase one, Sundance had accomplished 13% exposure to pure SRI investments.

Phase Two:  Fixed Income Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

After the initial implementation phase with domestic and international equity mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, Sundance wanted to be more proactive with their fixed income investments.  Their focus turned to professional investment managers who would be more active lending in low income communities that would encourage community development and redevelopment.  Allodium was able to identify several mutual fund managers who were making investments in low income communities to provide more capital to urban areas that need low cost capital.  Community Capital Management and Access Capital Community Investment are fixed income investment firms that provide investment capital in urban areas that need funding for low income housing and urban redevelopment.  Sundance learned that some of the best impact investments with high social impact happen to be in the fixed income arena.

To complement the community redevelopment funds that focused on proactive investment in low income urban communities, Sundance also wanted to find fixed income investment managers that would be able to screen out poorly rated investments similar to the screening out process that the SRI equity managers were using.  Allodium was excited to uncover unique SRI fixed income strategies from both mutual fund companies like Praxis and separately account managers like Breckinridge Capital Advisors that provided the capability to screen out specific types of unattractive investments.

At the end of phase two, Sundance had increased their exposure to 30% SRI investments.

Phase Three:  Professionally Managed Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs)

Up until this time, primarily mutual funds were being used by the Foundation due to the ease of access to mutual funds subject to relatively low investment requirements.  The Sundance Family Foundation received a major contribution to the foundation in 2013 that allowed for the investment committee to consider new types of investment vehicles such as separately managed accounts which have higher minimum account sizes but which also have the ability to invest in individual securities that are more in alignment with the SRI objectives of the foundation.  Interest in moving beyond mutual funds and into separately managed accounts (SMAs) took shape when Sundance learned that a separately managed account manager like Breckinridge Capital Advisors for fixed income could not only screen out investments that did not pass environmental, social and governance (ESG) screens but that they actually had the capability to target their investments in specific geographic areas and or sectors of the economy that could provide high positive impact in ESG factors.  Separate account managers have a much greater opportunity to invest in individual companies that are cooperative in SRI shareholder resolutions and collaborate with socially responsible investors.

Sundance felt that they had fulfilled their fiduciary obligations by building a broadly diversified and socially responsible investment portfolio, but the Sundance board of directors wanted something more – to have even more positive impact on society and the environment with their liquid assets.  The Sundance investment committee challenged their investment advisor to seek out professional investment managers who would be able to engage in shareholder advocacy and public policy work.  Sundance had built a portfolio that was good at screening out unattractive investments but the investment committee wanted to pursue a more proactive socially responsible investment strategy with more social impact.

Sundance Family Foundation learned how to generate high impact with shareholder advocacy in a liquid investment strategy by utilizing separately managed accounts.  Sundance learned about the methods that can be used by impact investors to effect positive social change through shareholder advocacy by engaging the professional investment management firms that are engaged in shareholder advocacy for impact investors.  They learned that they can leverage the power of stock ownership to promote social and environmental change by engaging in shareholder advocacy for environmental, social and governance factors.

Allodium learned about practical socially responsible investment solutions via networking with other foundations and endowments both in the local community and also at national investment conferences.  Also, in October, 2013, Allodium attended the annual SRI Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado with the primary objective to identify the professional investment managers engaged in shareholder advocacy.

Working with Allodium, Sundance was ultimately able to identify and retain a number of professional separate account managers who are actively engaged in shareholder advocacy which includes proxy voting, filing shareholder resolutions, engaging in company dialogues and influencing the development of public policy.  Client-centric SRI solutions include separate account managers at Trillium Asset Management, Zevin Asset Management and Breckinridge Capital Advisors.  Sundance understands the benefits of separately managed accounts and has been fully engaged with the opportunity to engage in shareholder advocacy and the opportunities with the separate account managers to add emphasis to a particular investment sector.

After implementing the SRI separately managed accounts and adding to existing SRI mutual funds and ETFs, Sundance had achieved 80% SRI exposure and was positioned to investigate the opportunities in more illiquid impact investment strategies.

Phase Four:  Illiquid Impact Investments

The Sundance committee has challenged Allodium to find illiquid investments that will have even greater positive social impact, often called “double bottom line” or “triple bottom line” investments.  Liquid investments are typically publicly-traded, daily liquid investments like mutual funds, exchange traded funds, index funds, and individual stocks and bonds which are easy to liquidate and easy to benchmark with common market benchmarks and indices.  Illiquid investments offer some interesting opportunities for high impact but also might create difficulties with minimal daily liquidity, a lack of valuations at daily market prices and higher costs.

Sundance is interested in exploring the potential to have even greater social impact with illiquid impact investments.  Allodium has recommended that Sundance compare the benefits of liquid versus illiquid social impact investments.  While there are some disadvantages to illiquid investments, high impact investors may want to incorporate high social impact investments into their portfolio.

High impact, illiquid investments are the new frontier and provide some interesting opportunities for socially responsible investors who want to have a great positive impact on the world with their investments.  Allodium has been monitoring illiquid impact investment databases such as Impact Assets and Mission Investors to search for unique investments that are in alignment with the Sundance SRI mandate.

Illiquid impact investments are sometimes high cost, may provide low returns and a lack of disclosure that may lead to a lack of transparency that makes prudent investment decision-making more difficult.  Also, the lack of historical performance data may make this type of investing seem like a venture into a highway turnpike in the middle of a dense fog.  It is appropriate that investors move with caution and be deliberate to minimize the chances for costly mistakes.

Sundance decided to limit their initial allocation to illiquid, high impact investments to 10% of their overall portfolio and to insist upon at least quarterly valuations to provide for some opportunity to monitor the investment performance of these investments.  They decided that it is important to have performance data on illiquid impact investments and to receive periodic investment reports with accurate valuations so they can track progress and make informed decisions about their investments.  Allodium also recommended a diversified and professionally-managed portfolio of illiquid high impact investments to provide some additional risk management to minimize the risk of loss.


Socially responsible investing is becoming main stream and practical.  This is clearly a burgeoning field and the future of investing will incorporate the ideas being developed by leading socially responsible investors.  Leaders in the nonprofit community like Sundance are leading with their actions.  You can also pursue investment strategies that are in alignment with your core values.  You just need to take the first step.

Nancy Jacobs is the co-founder and President of the Sundance Family Foundation which supports family stability both globally and locally, as well as projects that encourage youth social entrepreneurship.

The Sundance Family Foundation is harnessing and deploying 90% their capital into Socially Responsible Impact Investing strategies that do good for more.


Manufacturing Careers and Summer Opportunities for Youth


Making Wonder in Manufacturing: Sundance tour of Fab Lab and Manufacturers

A combined effort by a number of partners launched the first Sundance Manufacturing Tour for program managers in youth-serving agencies. Quite often, nonprofit managers have had little opportunity to see manufacturing. As a result, they are not able to refer youth towards this career path.  However, all that changed when on March 24, 2016 managers and youth got to be “Willie Wonkas” in factories of wonder for a morning.

Herold Precision Manufacturing (sheet metal fabricators) in White Bear Lake was our first stop. Pat Herold explained how he and his brothers grew up in the business that now employs more than 100+ people. Small groups of managers and youth toured the manufacturing floor, and were amazed by the myriad of fun things to do with turrets, lasers and press brakes.  “I can see myself working here,” stated one of the youth. Jim said that they are willing to hire anyone who is willing to work. They hire engineers and workers who can advance through the training provided right in the shop.  Go to Jim says that they will hire workers who may have had a few mistakes in their lives. They are eager to give workers a second chance. Next stop was the MME Group where we met Brian Bussmann and his crew.  MME employs 90+ workers. MME is a box build contract manufacturer with an automated assembly, clean room sterilization services, inventory management, and logistics. MME Group specialized in highly regulated medical device production. Program managers got to see quality control, plastics welding, and devices as small as drop of water. They talked with employees on the floor about their jobs, how long they had been there and what they liked most. Employees were pretty unanimous that they liked working in small teams, and that their assignments changed from week to week. No one was bored. MME Group also hires everyone from youth out of high school to trained engineers. MME Group is seeking tool and dye operators.

Lunch was at Century college with a presentation by Kim Johnson  about their new Manufacturing Certificate Program this summer. For about $500 this 6-week course provides 4 certificates which will allow students to enter manufacturing at a higher level. More information coming.

A tour through the Century College Prosthetics and Orthotics by AdonessTurner with the HOPE Careers Consortium showed managers and youth a variety of positions as Fitter Technicians, Orthotic and Prosthetic Technicians,  Practitioners and Assistants and a pathway leading to Concordia College. These technicians bring a better quality of life to those living with disabling conditions of the limbs, spine, and partial or complete limb loss. The field is growing, and salaries are very attractive.

The final stop was Century College’s new FabLab (Digital Fabrication Laboratory), a center to explore 21st Century Skills in a “hi-tech tinkers” workshop for inventors and people who have a need to design, prototype and build things. Managers and Youth got to see projects being developed using laser engraving, vinyl sheet cutting, a 3D powder-based rapid prototyping machine and a ShopBot (4’ x 8’ CNC Router).

Everyone came away with a sense of wonder and awe, and new possibilities regarding careers for youth. Our sincere thanks to Ling Becker  from Vadnais Heights Community Economic Development, Jill Greenhalgh Century Foundation Director

Results of this tour include: a connection between Urban Boat Builders, Herold and the FabLab to make certain parts, and to bring youth to the shop floor and to the FabLab. Several of the youth are inspiring their peers to think about entering these programs at Century. And all program managers realized more profoundly, that linking their successful programs to actual work opportunities for youth makes sense.

Urban Ag Lab Open House and Spark-Y Summer Internship

Spark-Y empowers youth through hands-on education rooted in sustainability and entrepreneurship. The Spark-Y program exists in 12 area high schools. The Spark-Y enterprise is located at 4432 Chicago Ave. S. Minneapolis.

Additionally, Spark-Y is looking for self-directed and reliable members of the community to apply for their summer intern position. If there are youth that are interested in the urban agriculture movement, entrepreneurship, and vermicomposting (composting with worms) and other innovative urban farming tech, please click HERE for more information, and click HERE to apply.

*Aquaponics is the field of growing organic greens and produce in water vs. soil, utilizing nitrogen deposited in water by fish, to feed and grow the plants.

Save The Date
Sundance Family Foundation will hold an exhibit of the YSE Wunderkammer @ the Northeast Metro Expo

More info to come

Salesforce Nonprofit User Group Meeting 4/6/16

In an effort to aid any YSE Collaborative member  transitioning to the CRM platform, Salesforce, or to help answer any questions you might have as an established user, please consider attending this local, nonprofit user group. We meet from 8:30 am to 10:30 am at Open Book Literary Loft (parking in rear).

Attendees of the group identify as either “in need of help” or “can provide help” by wearing the appropriate sticker. You are encouraged to come with any questions you have or problems you are facing. If you simply have a design idea or a desired outcome but don’t know how to produce it, that is also a perfect reason to attend.  Attendance is free, and so are  answers to your questions!

Please click HERE to RSVP or follow this link:

We’re going to Summit Academy; Wanna Come?

In an effort to learn more about Summit Academy and the affordable vocational programs they offer, the Sundance Family Foundation is taking a tour of their campus and programs. You are invited to join us.

This is an informal tour. It will run less than 90 minutes. We will experience the general information session and take a quick tour. It is our hope that this tour will help develop better points of connection between Summit and the YSE field, and meet people that can best direct youth to and through practical certificate programs that quickly lead to livable wage jobs.

If you are free that morning, interested in joining us, or just in the neighborhood and want to treat yourself to a 90 minute stroll, please consider joining us.

There is no need to RSVP. We will meet at the 935 door of the Summit campus (connected to the parking lot) at 9:50 am and head in shortly after for the 10 am meeting.

935 Olson Memorial Hwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Ask for  and join the information session in case of late arrival


Free EMS Training to Increase Diversity in MPLS Services

From April 1st to the 18th, the Minneapolis Fire Department will be taking applications  for selection in a free Emergency Medical Service certification. Applicants must be 18 to 30 years old, meet a household income guide, and a few other requirements. For more information everyone is welcome to attend an information session. Click HERE for a schedule of informational meetings, and click HERE to apply.

Follow this link for more information

Building Our Alliances Together

Don’t have anything to do for spring break? Well, we have something for you! We at Urban Boat builders are hosting a kayak build for five days at our workshop that is located off the greenline Raymond Avenue Station. You will be given a $100 gift card at the end for your participation. Within those five days not only are we building a kayak but we will also be doing workshops that are based on LGBTQIA+, Racial Equality, and Immigration barriers.We are looking for youth participants from the age of 14 – 20 who are interested in learning more about their communities and expanding their knowledge on these three main points.

2288 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55114
April 4 – 8, 2016
9 am – 2 pm OR 11:30 am – 4:30 pm
April 9: Boat Launch 12 – 3 pm

Apply At:

Contact Urban Boat builders at:
Office: 651-644-9225
Cellphone: 651-399-0386
Email: maila@urban



Northside Funders Group has launched a bold North@Work initiative to provide skilled vocational training, personal and situational support, and career placement with cultivated partners, for 2000 black men in North Minneapolis.

This innovation directly engages the rampant unemployment experienced on the Northside, and is offering a real solution to a drastic problem.

Participants will be selected from referrals from friends, churches or other trusted networks.

For more information in the program, please click HERE

Sundance Production Sewing Tour With Sisterhood and Dunwoody

Commercial Sewing is a growing field offering a variety of opportunities. The job spectrum ranges from traditional “9-5” factory settings under 21st Century conditions to independent contractors setting their own hours. There are even coalitions of trained sewers that collectively bid on one-time industrial orders (custom bags, industrial tarps, etc.) with the work (and profits) split among members. The industry makes everything from blouses to tents, and works with heavy canvas or leather to the lightest silks. Industrial sewers can find themselves putting together cushions for inexpensive patio furniture, wedding gowns, or high-end hand bags.

The industry is growing, and looking for workers.

Later this month, youth from Pillsbury United Communities, principally from the Sisterhood Boutique and other YSE organizations, will be touring the Industrial Sewing Program at Dunwoody, followed by a local industrial sewing facility. This is a part of the Sundance Family Foundation/YSE Wunderkammer Initiative, to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity in youth as they explore traditionally dismissed vocations that are growing in opportunity and security.

Free Summer Camp -Grades 8 to 12 at the

Digital Fabrication
And Manufacturing Laboratory at Century

 Youth in grades 8 to 12 are invited to attend these free 3-D Digital Fabrication Workshops at Century College’s 3-Day Production Summer Camps. You can follow this link for more information, or for registration go to:

Summit Academy

Program Information Session
Every Wednesday
10 – 11 am


YNPN Scholarships for Career Development: YNPN-TC provides scholarships for members to attend career development events hosted by MCN, MAP for Nonprofits, AFP, and MACC Commonwealth. To be notified of scholarship opportunities, become a member of YNPN.

Century CollegeInformation Sessions

East Campus session focus on Technical Programs, West Campus session focus on general educational options

Tuesday, April 5East Campus, Rm 2271

1 – 2:30 pm or 5 – 6 pm

Thursday, April 21

East Campus, Rm 2271

1 – 2:30 pm

Tuesday, May 3

West Campus, Rm 2290

1 -2 pm or 5 – 6 pm

St. Paul College Open House and Power of YOU!
Information Session
Wednesday, April 13

5 – 7 pm


Consumer Financial Education Grants: The Rose Foundation will fund nonprofits that work to educate individuals on financial management through coaching, group training, and research. Applicants can request up to $100,000 in funding. Applications are due on April 8.


College is expensive, and the decision to go to college is not a small one. However, there is a way to get an associate’s degree for $0 in tuition cost, and a bachelor’s degree for only $15k, though the Power of YOU program and the Two + Two Scholarship at Augsburg.

Describing the Power of YOU program, the Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s website says it:
…is a program that makes college available tuition-free. Power of You funding covers the cost of tuition and fees after your state and federal grants are applied for two years or up to 72 credits at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and Saint Paul College. POY funds do not pay for books and transportation costs. The Power of YOU supports as many students as possible based on student need and funds available for the programSaint_Paul_College_logo

MCTC_logoIn a nutshell, nearly every senior that will graduate in May this year, from an approved area high school, is able to attend a one of two fantastic community colleges with no tuition.

The program does not cover books and transportation, but there is also the cost to the student’s social and emotional life. But what makes this program so powerful is the way the recognize these hidden cost to college success. PoY students participate in cohort workshops that build skills in communicating with professors, navigating the school’s computer system, etc. These workshop are for PoY students only, and the administrators try to foster a brave space in which the youth can ask foundational questions which might be embarrassing in other spaces.

Another innovation in student connection is the PoY approach to student advising. Every PoY student in assigned an College advisor. These advisors work solely with the PoY student base. There are regular student-advisor meetings scheduled throughout the semester, and the advisors are available for scheduled appointments. However, a MCTC, to foster less formal relationship (a feeling of greater support and trust), the advisor spend time in the PoY Lounge. This space is available only to PoY students. It has computers and quiet spaces not available to the general student body. The PoY students are able to see their advisors outside the advisor’s office, sharing the same space as the student. In this environment, it is often easier to ask the simple questions that would be missed in scheduled sit-down appointments. The simple, “how do you turn this in?” or “I can’t figure out that” sort of questions can be brought up by naturally popping into conversation. Many of these small moments can build the trust needed for larger ones. The student is better positioned to asked questions about fears and hopes–honest sharing of goals.

PoY has a refreshing community engagement practice. PoY students are required to participate in 20 hours of community service each semester they are in the program. Often, they are directed to volunteer with organizations they have a personal or potential professional interest in. However, if the young person just wants to get their hours done, there are a number of fun and enriching way to fill their volunteer requirement right at the school. MCTC always needs help in their community and outreach events. This more casual option in important to students that might have transportation issues, or need more time to focus on their studies or tutoring. They are still learning by giving back, but it is not taking away from their more traditional learning.

After completing the PoY program, the student can be eligible for the Two + Two Scholarship at Augsburg College. This is a VERY restrictive course study, but, for the right student, it is an incredible opportunity.

To be eligible for this second program, the PoY student has to follow the “Auggie Plan” in their course work. This strict two-year class schedule has to be work out with a PoY advisor (who is in communication with the office of admissions at Augsburg) soon after acceptance to the PoY program. The Auggie Plan involves classes at MCTC that will fill Augsburg graduation requirements. Another drawback to this route is it often does not allow for any remedial classes. Auggie plan candidates would be expected to enter the PoY program at a college level.

The Auggie Plan allows for the awarding of the Two + Two Scholarship, which requires the then PoY grad to take out a $15,000 loan for tuition, over two years ($7500 a year), with the rest of the tuition costs covered by the institution and grants through FAFSA. $15,000 is still a lot of money, but it’s smaller than $35,000 or the average student debt from the class of 2015 (a number is only raising), and $139200 (the current cost of four years at Augsburg).

This four year option (or college in general) is not for everyone, it is only one of many opportunities for personal development, and is not the only path to find a fulfilling life.

Additionally, it must be noted that if a student is completing a GED this year (even with their original class) they are not eligible for the Power of YOU program. Also, if a young person has spent some time after graduation working or enjoying life, they are also not eligible for this program. In order to be eligible for the program, you must graduate or have been a student the same year as your fall enrollment. (i.e., graduate spring 2016, start MCTC fall 2016).

The window of opportunity for the student is small, and the line for available fund is filling up. If you know of a young person that would be a potential candidate (Eligibility Requirements HERE), please direct them to this opportunity. MCTC offers FAFSA workshops, Information Sessions, and the Advisors are happy to help with the young people and their families with the application process.

Please visit these sites for more information:

St. Paul Power of YOU!
St Paul Application
MCTC Power of YOU!
MCTC Application

YSE Tech and Training Expo at Youthprise Summit

images-1Sundance Family Foundation is hosting the Tech and Training Expo at the Youthprise Summit on October 15, 2015 at the Mn History Center. Interactive exhibits at Tech and Training Expo will feature post-secondary schools and trade programs in prosthetics, robotics, welding, filmmaking and commercial sewing that appeal to YSE youth looking for accessible 21st Century career paths. Info on scholarships, apprenticeships and 100% job placement will be provided. Registration for this event is now closed.

cocoandbreezyCoco & Breezy, Twins from Apple Valley who went to New York City to launch their eyewear and wearables fashion lines will be featured at the Youthprise Youth Summit October 15, 2013 at the MN History Center.

Manufacturing Month (see schedule here) in October is filled with opportunities to take groups of students from your YSE programs to various plants in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota Area. Here is an inspirational film: find out more. To apply for funds which can be used to cover transportation costs to manufacturing plants please contact Jamiee Meyer of Dream It, Do It. at 218 755 2206

Blue|1647 will be supporting a Hackathon at the Science Museum on October 16th-17th. This event provides urban youth in grades 7th-12th a chance to participate in building a prototype APP to resolve a community problem. No programming experience is needed, but this is a 24-hour commitment. Contact Paul Kramer at Sundance.

Sundance welcomes the New Sector Fellow Paul Kramer to Sundance. A recent graduate from University of Minnesota Paul is looking forward to learn how to create spaces that support the lives and stories of this community.

Sundance Advances Youth Social Entrepreneurship

Sundance White Paper Advances the Field of
Youth Social Entrepreneurship

Sundnce Card FrontFebruary 24th, 2015–Sundance Family Foundation is releasing its white paper, Youth Social Entrepreneurship: Advancing the Field by Dr. Tina Kruse of Macalester College to garner support for this innovative new approach. The paper guides grantmakers, practitioners, and policymakers as they create funding and resources for this vibrant but not adequately defined field of youth development. Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) programs combine personal and business skills, youth social and emotional learning, and community leadership opportunities.

The Sundance Family Foundation has been assisting more than twenty local Youth Social Entrepreneurial programs over the past seven years. Sundance supports Youth Social Entrepreneurship by identifying and growing innovative, approaches for youth as they are guided to take their place in the economic growth of low-income neighborhoods. “We believe that these promising programs work to ‘put poverty out of business,’” states Sundance Family Foundation Co-founder/President, Nancy Jacobs.

With the publication of this white paper, Sundance is taking a leadership role to enhance the ability of the nonprofit sector to support the amazing work of these high-impact organizations.

The Need for Definition and Funding

_MG_8002The field of Youth Social Entrepreneurship is not yet well defined or adequately funded. Currently more than 90% of identified Youth Social Entrepreneurship programs around the country specifically target low-income or otherwise marginalized youth.

Successful YSE programs often struggle to receive the funding that they need from local and national foundations and government units because they are so complex. In the best of these programs, youth are not only working at their jobs, but are also engaging in the community and acquiring a gamut of social and emotional skills.These programs allow youth to think expansively and creatively about very bright futures for themselves.

Advancing the Field Through Research

YSEVenn DiagramPreliminary research evidences YSE programs as innovative social solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, foster civic engagement, service and volunteering, and eliminate disparities facing communities and their youth.

The white paper prepared by Tina Kruse, PhD, Educational Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, brings her experience working and teaching in disciplines relating to urban youth development to this field. The paper provides the needed definition, framework and common language. Dr. Kruse draws on her previous analysis of 30 Youth Social Entrepreneurial programs throughout four regions of the country. Together with her research team Dr. Kruse creates a framework for YSE. She discovered that approximately 75% of the programs reviewed have an Economic Transformation emphasis which focuses primarily on youth job skills and business development.  The remaining 25% emphasize Community Transformation which focuses on positive change in a targeted community.
“Most YSE programs have some combination of these three defining elements, youth development, social entrepreneurship and community development, but not in equal quantities,” states Dr. Kruse.

A Call to Action

A 9-point call to action encourages increased funding, research, and a national expansion of these very effective Youth Social Entrepreneurship programs.

You can read the Youth Social Entrepreneurship: Advancing the Field White Paper by Dr. Tina Kruse by clicking on the Flipbook below:

You can download a pdf copy by clicking on the link below:

SFF White PaperFinal3.1



YSE-MN Gathering Jan 27, 2015 at Urban Roots

 Youth Social Entrepreneurship Collaborative Presents:

Hope to see you tomorrow Jan 27, 2015 at Urban Roots

Join Us on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
4:00 for Dinner and Mingling
4:30 to 6:00, 2015 Planning session
Special Guest: Tina Kruse PhD, Educational Psychologist; Senior Lecturer of Educational Studies at Macalester College will be speaking about her research in YSE.
Event Location:  Urban Roots at 463 Maria Avenue, Suite 207, Saint Paul, MN  55106.


Over a light supper, we will discuss how the collaborative can be meaningful to you in 2015. Your voice is important! This is your opportunity to share what would be helpful and meaningful for you, staff and teens and deciding how we can make that happen. Youth are invited.

Have questions? Send me an email.

Marit Mechels

YSE Coordinator

About the YSE Collaborative

The Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) Collaborative is a group of Twin Cities youth designed, youth-led businesses or community social initiatives that are dedicated to giving youth the opportunity to build assets, entrepreneurial skills and engage in their community. Together we provide a platform to share tools and best practices, network and build relationships, and promote the field of youth social entrepreneurship. The collaborative is generously supported by the Sundance Family Foundation.



Youthprise Change Fellows Application Open!

Youthprise 2015 Change Fellows Application Now Open!

Expanding our learning and investments in young people

Youthprise Change Fellows are young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who are stirring up currents of change in their communities in Minnesota. Fellows participate in a process that equipsNancy Wong Photography, LLC them with the tools they need and a network of support to implement their ‘big idea,’ launch an expanded learning (out-of-school time) program, or set their innovative solution in motion to address a critical issue in their community. The initiative can be a new concept or an existing model.

Change Fellows is a key strategy for Youthprise in 2015 – making a deeper investment in young people reflecting our commitment to finding and investing in initiatives that accelerate learning beyond the classroom. By being innovative and valuing youth engagement, the Change Fellows initiative not only provides youth with authentic opportunities for leadership and professional experience, but also creates opportunities for young people to actually make changes they deem important in their communities.

Applications due January 23, 2015 at 5:00pm CST.

For more information go to the website or here:

Youthprise at Orchestra Hall–energetic, powerful, moving

By Cleveland Miller, Sundance Family Foundation Intern

Energetic, powerful and moving are some of the words that could describe the Youthprise event on October 18, 2014. The event started promptly at eight o’clock in the morning at the Orchestra Hall, which is an amazing building. People were greeting each other and were excited to see what would unfold. The inspiring youth leaders in our community were drawn to this event because of the positive messages about this Youthprise conference. The messages were that there are different ways to teach students and to communicate in our community. The messages were attractive to youth leaders and worked!

We were here to explore these positive messages and techniques, and to find ways to implement them in our own lives. Not only did I get to see so many people I know, but I also got to meet some extraordinary new people, and they got to meet me. I would say that energy and a bold sense of being powerful were evident as we moved from one speaker to another.

One of the most impactful speakers and role models was Roberto Rivera. His  speech about Hip Hop(e), demonstrated how hip hop music and life skills could help students learn in a different way. Roberto spoke passionately about how he overcame problems in his life because he was a person of color in a school that did not value him, and did not provide support for the way he learned. They discredited his intelligence because he learned differently from the other students. His life’s path was on a downward spiral. Roberto almost committed suicide because he was so tired of his life and how he was living. At his lowest point, he began to believe in himself again. He was positively influenced to make something of himself. He then went to college and to Harvard Graduate School. Roberto finish his talk about how he started a Hip Hop(e) group in Chicago, and how he wants to bring his vision of hope to Minneapolis and other places in Minnesota.

Speakers at a beautiful setting, great food, and enthusiastic young people made the Youthprise conference at Orchestra Hall a grand success, and one that should be held annually.

MN Impact Center Launch: My Experience Story-Telling

Cleveland Miller and Khadra Fiqi-StorytellersBy Cleveland Miller, Sundance YSE Intern

This past Thursday I was asked to be a Youth Social Entrepreneurship storyteller at the inaugural event to launch the Minnesota Impact Center at Macalester College. At this event many people from nonprofits, civic groups, businesses, mosques, churches and temples all around the city talked about their lives and how they made decisions to combine business with social impact. It was great to see people of all different races, communities and cultures gather together. At the program unique people in our community talked about what social impact meant to them, and what they felt they needed. Before the storytelling started, speakers talked to the huge crowd of more than 400 people. Mayor Betsy Hodges and leaders from the community gave their opinions about what our city needs when it comes to combining increased business opportunities with social and emotional progress. Many people came to this event to hear the spectacular stories that I and 30 other storytellers would tell to small groups of 12-15 people each. Khadra Fiqi of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf and I were probably the youngest speakers there. I started by speaking for Cookie Cart, telling people about how Cookie Cart changed my life. Also, I talked about the Youth Social Entrepreneurship Collaborative (YSE), a movement which helps nonprofits and businesses that work with teens throughout the Twin Cities area.
My story started when I told people about my life after I came to Minnesota. My family didn’t have much when we moved here. We lived in a shelter for a long time when we got to Minneapolis. So, I got a job at Cookie Cart to help my parents pay for the apartment that we had gotten. Thanks to my job I got to help my parents in their time of need. Cookie Cart helped me in other ways than just giving me a job. They gave me leadership skills, sent me to Minnesota Business Venture hosted by Minnesota Best Prep where I was a company CEO. They gave me guidance in resume writing, and being a team leader. I became a highly regarded “Blue Shirt” youth manager. Cookie Cart taught me skills that are part of why I am who I am. Cookie Cart also gave me experiences, and a caring community that I will never forget. From Cookie Cart, I was then hired by the Sundance Family Foundation as an intern. Sundance gave me that very important support to continue working after high school and is helping me move from “blue collar” to “white collar” work, allowing me to be skilled in both areas.
Connecting me with two jobs that are so wonderful has changed my life. My job with the Sundance Family Foundation is helping me to conceptualize and plan for my dream job of having a clothing line with one the most amazing young people of color, Amirah Coney. After telling my story I got to talk with some of the influential people in the community. Getting their business cards and encouragement was awesome. This event was so impactful because people like me got to tell stories that sometimes never get heard.