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The Northland Foundation established the KIDS PLUS Program in 1990 in order to take a more proactive role in improving the well-being of children and youth. Thanks to cooperation among caring adults, energetic youth, and engaged communities throughout the region, northeastern Minnesota has become a state and national leader in valuing and nurturing our future generations.


YIP board
2009-2010 board members Annie and Sam review a grant proposal as adult representative Kelli Millslagle looks on.

Youth In Philanthropy Celebrates 10 Years of Empowering Young People

The story of KIDS PLUS Youth in Philanthropy is written by the young people whose lives it has touched. Angela Johnson is one of them. Angie was a tenth-grade student from the small town of McGregor when she joined the very first Youth In Philanthropy Board in 1999.

Angie Johnson“I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve on the Board. High school is really a critical time for a young person. Youth in Philanthropy reinforced for me the kind of person I wanted to be, and probably helped me make decisions that shaped me into that person,” Angie explains.

It is exactly what the Northland Foundation hoped the program would accomplish: that 8th through 12th graders in rural northeastern Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, could hone their leadership skills, experience the rewards and responsibilities of grant-making, and be empowered to be change-agents in the community.

During the past decade, more than 50 students like Angie Johnson have awarded in excess of $200,000 to support 206 different projects carried out by youth organizations, community volunteers, school groups, and youth-serving nonprofits all across the region. The most important outcomes, however, can’t be measured in numbers.

“Whatever work I undertake in the future will involve 'doing good' for others, or I won't be fulfilled. I think a lot of that conviction has to do with my years in Youth In Philanthropy,” Angie concludes.


KIDS PLUS has evolved into a diverse array of initiatives that galvanize communities around the needs of children and young people, from infancy to adulthood.