Youth Leadership Initiative

A nonprofit organization

$3,035 raised by 44 donors

38% complete

$8,000 Goal

The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) cultivates the next generation of diverse, multicultural leaders to advance racial equity and social justice. 

By developing young people's leadership abilities, they become the catalyst for justice and transformation in the systems that impact young people, their families and communities. YLI’s approach: 1) We’re positioning youth of color to be leaders and decision makers who will represent their communities and break oppressive and 2) We’re providing training to other organizations to share knowledge grounded in anti-racism, inclusion and equity to shift how systems and adults see, understand, work with and support young people. 

With your support, we're able to...

  • Invest in the transformative leadership journey of 30+ BIPOC high school youth from the Twin Cities Metropolitan.

  • Tackle barriers such as transportation to ensure young people can attend the program.

  • Support our small but mighty team of staff and volunteers to train our youth leaders, design program curriculum and partner with other youth organizations.

Elevating Youth Voice and Leadership

We operate an 8-month social justice-centered leadership program that activates the leadership of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx and other high school youth. Key activities and learning areas are:

  1. Leadership Retreats: Youth explore concepts such as leadership and inclusion/exclusion, as well as participate in experiential and team building activities. Youth also discover their strengths and learn more about their values, aspirations, and leadership and communication styles. For each retreat, YLI works with consultants from the Hmong Odyssey, Mexican Border Crossing, and Underground Railroad to facilitate cultural simulations, which are instrumental to strengthen empathy, acknowledge oppressive histories and systems, deepen connection to our common humanity, and foster racial healing. 
  2. Cultural Sessions: Youth explore identity, discuss the influence of culture on leadership, and examine social inequities. In culturally specific cohorts, youth delve into their heritage, discuss stereotypes and prejudices, share their experiences, learn about the contributions of their cultural group, and find ways to be a change agent in their cultural community.

    Action Teams: The teams are organized around social justice issues that the youth have identified and each team develops a service project to address the issue. Youth learn to work together to design and implement their projects, as well as directly impact the community and be agents of change.
  3. Youth Mentor Team: Supports staff with program recruitment, curriculum design, activity facilitation, and youth participant mentoring, as well as serve as role models demonstrating positive multicultural leadership.

Organization Data


Organization name

Youth Leadership Initiative

Tax id (EIN)



Education Community

BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving




5500 38th Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55417

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