Sundance Family Foundation is advancing a multi-faceted system of youth workforce development targeting young adults (age 18-24+).


Sundance is advancing an Earn & Learn model that supports young adults (18-24+) as they move from career exploration, to training, supportive job entry, on-the-job retention services, apprenticeships and mentoring to middle-skills careers with sustainable wages. This changes both the grant application guidelines and process for awarding grants to nonprofits.

Application Process
Sundance is returning to a simplified, less cumbersome grants process that does not include a Letter of Inquiry. Applications for grants are accepted electronically beginning May 1st of the year and ending on June 2. The Sundance Board and staff then review the grants, schedule site visits, and write up reports for presentation at the Board Meeting. This meeting will occur anytime between August and October with decisions made by the end of October.

The Earn & Learn model can be used by nonprofits with Youth Social Enterprises (YSE) that work with young adults (age 18-24+) and that provide supportive job entry, job retention, and training or that provide these with a partner. Earn & Learn programs for precariously housed young adults, and young adults facing additional challenges where attaining and retaining an entry-level job is the end goal are also invited to apply.

Why the Switch to Earn & Learn?
The Youth Social Entrepreneurship model provides youth (age 14-18) support as they advance their social/emotional development, community engagement and workforce readiness skills. These skills included increased confidence, personal agency, entrepreneurial problem solving, team-building and ethics.

The Earn & Learn model focuses on the needs of young adults (age 18-24+) who are entering the workforce. Often these youth are out of high school, disconnected from guidance counsellors and career navigators. The needs of these young adults have become more stark as the pandemic and economic downturn of 2020. Moving these young adults into short-term industry recognized credential programs that lead to  middle-skills careers requires partnerships and systems building between nonprofits, governmental agencies, employers and post-secondary training institutions. Sundance is using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to help create this specific workforce development system (SDG 8.b.1) and attain SDG and other goals by 2030.

Grant Guidelines
Grant applications will show evidence of partnerships and demonstrate that as a result of these supports, youth are in an industry-recognized training program, a post-secondary institution, or employed in a career pathway to achieve a middle-skills career. Some applicants will be able to support all 6 steps of the Earn & Learn process while others will focus on a few of the steps but will show how, with partnerships, young adults will attain middle-skill careers.

Geographic Area
Sundance Family Foundation focuses giving to organizations whose programming benefits the residents of the following Minnesota and Wisconsin counties: Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Chisago, Polk and St. Croix.

While applications are not accepted for geographic areas outside of those identified above, from time to time, the board may choose to fund a grant outside of this geographic area or priorities.

Applications are accepted starting May 1 – June 2, 2021.

Apply Now


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