"Little girls with dreams become
women with vision"
Happy #WomensHistoryMonth. At the Ann Bancroft Foundation, we aim to continually celebrate girls and women for their tremendous contributions to their families, communities, and the ways they honor themselves. Please join us in celebrating women’s achievements and empowering girls today, this month, and always.

For this month, we bring you the voices of some of the women at ABF. We asked three questions, and we hope you enjoy reading their answers. Please don’t hesitate to share your answers with us as well. 
If you were applying for an ABF grant in your youth, which age and what experience would you have pursued?
How have you stayed resilient and joyful for the last 24 months?
When was the last time you failed at something, and the biggest lesson in that failure? OR What's a risk you’ve taken recently and the biggest lesson in it for you?
1. I would have applied for a grant when I was 16 years old. At that time I was writing and making art all the time growing up in Wisconsin. I would have used a grant to attend classes at the Milwaukee College of Art and Design or a writing workshop. 
2. My family and I have made a practice of playing outside as much as possible. We’ve done lots of hikes, canoe trips, downhill and Nordic skiing, and even got a cool old motor boat to explore the lakes and rivers. I’ve gotten back into making art and deepened my learning about somatic coaching and how to feel resilient in our bodies.
3. I proudly fail all the time! My life is a practice of trying new things and taking risks. In my work I have to ask people for things all the time, in creative practice you must experiment, in relationships and community and learning you have to always be stretching yourself. Currently, my role at ABF is brand new and feels like a great, invigorating space to learn – inevitably fail – and continue to grow.
Betsy is ABF’s new Development Director.
1. If I were applying for a grant at age 10, I would ask for support to be a helper in my local vet's clinic. I thought I wanted to be a vet and wanted to be around medicine and animals. 
2. Certainly family and close friends. Staying in touch. I feel privileged that I can walk in my woods and in the park system near my place. Being physical and in nature is a very grounded place for me. Reading and painting to push the creative aspect of my life while in a sea of ambiguity. 
3. I feel I fail at things all the time. Failing to bring the list of “to do’s “ down with more time open to me during COVID. But in terms of big failures - the lesson is to try and not dwell or live in regret. Force putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. 
Ann is an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker, philanthropist, and the Founder of ABF. 
1. When I was young, growing up in Iowa, I had an opportunity to travel to France with my class. An ABF grant would have been a confidence booster and significant source of financial support! An added benefit would have been less time earning money in the fields, detasseling corn!
2. Some days felt (and feel) overwhelming with worries and anxieties about our community, my teenage children, health and systemic inequity. In these moments, I did my best to rest and focus on the basics like brushing my teeth! I also believe small actions have big impact so adopted some practices including; exercise, meditation, sharing baked goods with neighbors, connecting with friends and family in creative ways.
3. I fail every day! I say the wrong thing in a meeting, misread my partner’s intentions, forget to return a phone call, overspend my budget – and I could go on! Some failures are more consequential than others, however, I’ve learned a few things about all of them: 1. I can choose to see failure as an opportunity to learn; 2. I can be kind – to those I’ve disappointed and to myself! 3. I can take myself a little less seriously. We are all human! 

Jackie is the chair of the ABF Board of Directors and a Global Data Management executive at Cargill, Inc. 
1. I’d have applied around age 15 for a possible space camp. I was obsessed with being an astronaut. Or around age 17 when I first moved to the US from Ghana and wanted to make friends. So perhaps any camp would have been an opportunity to make friends.
2. I often say, “joy is an act of resistance”. Being silly with my children is joyful; intimate dinners with friends is joyful; long walks with the sun beating down my face, grabbing a cup of dirty chai from my favorite coffee shop, and many other little things that make every day worth cherishing.
3. Recently, I thought to a role I wanted in 2020 but was rejected for it. In that moment, it felt like failure. I sit in gratitude today that I wasn't selected or I probably wouldn’t hold this seat at ABF today. A “no” doesn’t have to be a rejection. It just means preparation (or protection) for what's down the road. And down the road is truly where you might belong, in ways you may not even imagine. I am where I belong!!

Ethelind is the Executive Director of ABF.
1. I did apply for a grant and received one in 2018 to play travel volleyball! It was a tremendous opportunity to improve my play and lead to playing for St. Kate's.

2. I have stayed resilient and joyful by prioritizing my mental health, learning to improve my self-talk, and giving myself grace in tough situations. 

3. A big risk that I've taken lately is leaving a position to pursue a different job without knowing the outcome yet. This season of my life brings many changes for me because I'm preparing to graduate in a year and learning to step out of my comfort zone into new opportunities and experiences. My biggest takeaway is there is no growth in comfort, be willing to take risks and that will be rewarded. 

Lauren is a 2018 Trailblazer (grant alumna), a member of the St. Catherine University volleyball team, and the 2022 ABF intern.
1. I did apply for and receive a grant in middle school! I used my grant to attend a math and computer science focused camp. I encourage girls to pursue experiences that push their boundaries and help them grow in a way that is meaningful to them.
2. My most joyful days were filled with conversations with friends and family, time in nature, and evenings spent escaping into a good book. On those days when I was struggling the most, I planned events like camping trips and other outings for the future. Even though I later had to cancel some of them, the act of planning those events brought me joy.
3. One thing I started doing during the pandemic was more arts and crafts. Learning a new skill as an adult – in my case watercolor painting – provided a space where I was able to remember that failure is both acceptable and a necessary part of growing. It also reminded me that time spent doing something you enjoy, regardless of the end result, is still worthwhile and productive.
Ana is a current ABF board member, an ABF Trailblazer (grant alumna), and a senior public policy advisor at Minnesota Power.
Don't Miss the 25th Anniversary Celebration
It's our 25th birthday! And we are celebrating with a renewed commitment to reaching more girls as we help address some of the challenges they face today, with the outcome of significantly increasing their chances for future success.

Our evening promises inspirational performances, exciting auctions, and the presentation of the ABF Impact Award to Jan Malcolm, our first board chair.

Join us. Thursday, April 28, 2022 | 5:30 – 9:00pm | The Depot Minneapolis. Purchase tickets or sponsorships here.
Spring Grant Application Is Open
Our spring grant cycle closes in a month. Know a girl whose dreams should be supported or who should be encouraged to take more risks? Encourage them to apply 

The grants are open to all Minnesota girls in grades K-12 to pursue wide range of activities and experiences including sports camps, music lessons, cultural heritage projects, horseback riding, dancing, travel, writing classes, STEM programs, and so much more.
New Staff
Meet Betsy Altheimer, ABF’s new Development Director. She is a coach, fundraising strategist, writer, visual artist, collaborator and advisor. In her role as Development Director at the Ann Bancroft Foundation, she is responsible for strategic planning and day-to-day management of the fundraising activities, including the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of institutional and individual donors.

It is her greatest joy to partner with inspiring humans as they do incredible things.
Blu Dot Announces Open Studio for Youth 9-12 to Inspire the Next Generation of Designers:Open Studio consists of bimonthly design workshops created to spark youth’s interest in design and show them all the ways it can be a part of their lives, now and in the future. Free and open to all between ages 9 and 14, workshops will take place in our stores and cover everything from fashion design to furniture design.”
Submissions for Future Rising Fellows Now Open: Girl Rising is seeking the next cohort of Future Rising Fellows, changemakers ages 17-24 from all over the world. During the year-long Fellowship, they receive financial, professional, and creative support, participate in monthly convenings, and storytelling workshops, and create narrative work about gender equity and climate change.
More Teenage Girls With Eating Disorders Wound Up in the ER During the Pandemic: A new C.D.C. study underscored the mental health issues facing teenagers in the past few years.
Women’s History Milestones: A Timeline: From a plea to a founding father, to the suffragists to Title IX, to the firsts female political figures, women have blazed a steady trail towards equality in the United States.
Did you miss our January and February newsletters?
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