May News and Updates

Get to Know our Spring Grant Recipients

Dear ABF Community,

Our spring grants are out! On May 11, we had the pleasure of telling 140 girls across Minnesota that they received an Ann Bancroft Foundation Grant. These grantees come from 24 counties and represent every grade from Kindergarten to 12th. The plans for each grant are as unique, exciting, and wide-ranging as the grantees themselves. From basketball to publishing, from STEM to dance, from travel to language learning, the activities range over 19 categories.

Every grantee has a unique and amazing story. 18-year-old Cloie wants to use her grant to make a cookbook. She is a baker and entrepreneur, selling her creations at a local farmers market since age 14. Cloie plans to name her cookbook "Gather: The Foods that Made Me." In her own words, she wants to "share my story of how my family's love for food and gathering around tables planted a seed dream that was watered and nourished with dedication, commitment, and hard work.

33% of this cycle's grantees come from Greater MN, outside of the 6-county metro area. One of these recipients is 16-year-old Jorja from Rochester. With her grant, Jorja plans to fund her program Youth In Law, which connects high school students with mentors at the Olmsted County Government Center. Jorja says "I want to ensure that all communities have access to mentorship and hands-on experiences in public service careers, which are often only accessible through personal connections." She has dreamed of being a lawyer since childhood and wants others to experience the mentorship that helped her nurture those dreams.

Congratulations to every one of the talented, inspiring Spring 2023 grant recipients. We at ABF are so excited to see what you dream of next.

Madeline is a 10th grader from Winona. Her grant will fund a trip to YMCA's National Judicial Competition. When she grows up, Madeline dreams of becoming a United States Senator.

"One goal of mine is to be an influential advocate for women of color and women's rights all around the world. I believe this activity will help me achieve my goals and dreams because I am offered an opportunity to immerse myself in the knowledge and processes of our country's legal system."

Ava's grant will fund an academic trip to Savannah, Georgia. While there, Ava will have hands-on learning experience with Georgia's ecosystem, fueling her ambition to help the environment. This will be 16-year-old Ava's first expedition outside of Minnesota, expanding her horizons through travel.

"I hope to discover a new passion that will merge my current love of improving the environment. Embracing this opportunity to visit higher-education schooling options and explore east coast aquatic eco-systems in person could quite possibly uncover what will inspire my life's work."

Warm Welcomes at ABF

Springtime has brought fresh changes to the Ann Bancroft Foundation! We are excited to share expansions to our staff and additions to our board. Read about our newest members below.

Meet LaCora Bradford Kesti, Our Newest Board Member

LaCora is the Vice President of Community Impact at the Women's Foundation. Hailing from Minneapolis, LaCora Bradford has over two decades of experience living, volunteering and working in the Twin Cities metro area. Previously, she worked for the federal government at the Corporation for National and Community Service as a Program Officer and the African American Leadership Forum as the Program Director for Collective Impact. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with family, going on bike rides, walks, and salsa dancing.

Read LaCora's Seven Leadership Lessons Here

Meet our New Director of Development, Amy Eppen

Amy began her role as Director of Development in April, bringing extensive experience in nonprofit development and higher education. In her previous role, Amy served as Director of Development for the Dakota County Technical College Foundation. The Ann Bancroft Foundation welcomes Amy onto our team.

Learn more about Amy

Introducing our Communications Specialist, Leah Prinz

Leah graduated from Macalester College in May 2023, majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. She has worked with a variety of nonprofits, including The Advocates for Human Rights and the Minnesota Historical Society. We are excited to have her as our new Communications Specialist.

In Case You Missed It

Annual Event Recap

Did you miss our annual event in April? Or do you just want to revisit the good memories? Visit our event recap page for photos, videos, and more from last month's annual event. Be sure to save the date for next year's celebration on April 25, 2024.

Event Recap

ABF at the Bakken Museum

Back in March, ABF staff participated in the Bakken Museum’s Women in Science event. Kids got the chance to meet women working in the STEM field and get inspired about their futures. We asked girls to share their thoughts about themselves and the world. Check out some responses here!

Stories we Love!

Sweet Success

[Via StarTribune] If you have a sweet tooth, head over to Tooth Fairy Candy Store on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul. Aretta-Rie Johnson opened the shop in April to educate young Black girls about entrepreneurship. Check out Johnson’s thoughts on her store.

Read the Article

Supporting Our Youth

[Via MPR] In 2022, a record number of Minnesota youth reported struggles with mental health. Luckily, there are ways we can help. Check out this MPR segment to learn strategies for supporting teen mental health

Listen to the Recording

Upcoming Opportunities

Target EPIC Awards

Do you know a girl or non-binary youth in grade 8-12th that's engaged, passionate, innovative, and curious about the STEM field?  Consider nominating them for Target’s EPIC Awards. Use the form to nominate yourself or someone else!

Learn more & sign up here

Summer Fashion Workshop

This summer, St. Catherine University invites high school students to explore the world of fashion from design principles to merchandising techniques. The five-day Summer Fashion Workshop is open to students in grades 10-12 who identify as women, nonbinary, or genderqueer. 


[Via Sun This Week] Want to know more about a Trailblazer Fellow's plans with her grant? Read this article to hear about Bukunmi Oka and her experiences with ABF.

Read the Article

[Via Press & News] Hear from a 2023 Trailblazer Fellow, about the impact of a cohort. Kate Brandli talks about how ABF has helped her dream big.

Read the Article

Where Is Ann Now?

Iconic Minnesotan explorer and our founder Ann Bancroft got a profile in Minnesota Monthly this May. Check out Ann's thoughts on her life and accomplishments. On ABF, Ann says "What we have realized is that when we share those stories, and we empower a girl, they oftentimes empower a family, and then they impact a community."

Read the Article

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Did you know that high school girls reported experiencing “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the last year” at nearly twice the rate of high school boys? Join the Ann Bancroft Foundation and NAMI-MN on May 30, 2023, at 6:30 PM for a free workshop on mental illness. 

Register Here

Thank you for supporting our work! We are grateful to everyone who invests in girls alongside us. With your support, we can empower girls to make all of our futures brighter.

DONATE: Invest in girls – and help shape the future of our world.
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