Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families

Photo: Hiawatha Academies

Our Goal

We seek to assist children and families living in poverty to attain equitable access to academic, social development, and mental health/wellness opportunities and systems that are inclusive and center their human dignity and humanity thereby providing the potential for an educated, informed, and liberated student, parent, and community.

Our Beliefs

To achieve this goal, we believe:

  • Children and their families are resilient, resourceful and have a wealth of knowledge on how to improve their lives and shape the world they want to live in.
  • Education is key to helping children, families, and communities overcome poverty.
  • Knowledge, history, experience, and perspectives of children, families, and communities are at the heart of ensuring every child feels safe to learn and grow to shape their own path in the world.
  • Culturally relevant ways of learning and innovative practices grounded in strong outcomes of engagement and accountability to the communities are essential.
  • Academic achievement and social emotional and mental well-being happen through a comprehensive network of quality home, school, and community support.
  • There is a strong interconnectedness of academics, social and emotional learning, and mental health.
  • Work grounded in racial equity ensures race, economic status, gender identity, multilingual, sexual orientation and/or ability are viewed as assets.
  • A strong ecosystem that includes direct services and systems change work that includes education leaders, advocates, and policy work will produce lasting outcomes for children, families, and communities.
  • Continuous, intensive, and relevant support spanning consecutive years along the continuum of learning for children (ranging in age from prenatal to 18) produces effective and sustainable outcomes.


Why this is important

For far too long Minnesota has been known as a state with some of the greatest disparities in education, livable wage jobs, homeownership, and health outcomes between people of White descent and Black, Indigenous/Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Latinx/Latine/Latino/Hispanic.

Promoting equity in education for ALL children is essential and promoting racial equity in education is a pathway to justice. Racial equity is the gateway for ensuring that ALL children and families living in poverty are honored and celebrated in just and inclusive ways that allow for them to learn and thrive in their education and beyond. In the words of Angela Glover Blackwell, “Centering blackness doesn’t leave anybody out. What it does is center the root causes that are killing everybody.”

Photo: Northside Achievement Zone

Our Partners

We are interested in partnering with nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and public schools that directly serve or strengthen systems that directly serve children and families living in poverty in the 7-county metro area.

We prioritize organizations centering equity and culturally relevant ways of learning and innovative practices grounded in strong outcomes of engagement and accountability to the children ages prenatal to 18 and their families. We prioritize organizations that are centering Racial Equity both internally and externally and organizations with leadership and boards that are reflective of the community served.

Our desire is to support:

  • 501(c)(3) organizations providing direct services to populations with at least 60 percent of people living in poverty, as defined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • We welcome unrestricted or program requests from organizations.
  • We will consider program/project support for public schools (district or charter) serving a population with at least 80 percent of students receiving free and reduced lunch.
  • 501(c)(3) organizations strengthening/changing systems that serve people living in poverty.

Photo: WE WIN Institute, Inc.

We partner with organizations that:

  • Engage beneficiaries in design
  • Center student voice and engage families and community as essential partners.
  • Directly support children in social and emotional, academic, and mental health/wellbeing
  • Change, create and/or improve systems to create pathways for children to have equitable access to social and emotional, academic, and mental health /wellbeing resources
  • Partner with home, schools, and communities
  • Provide consistent, sustained and asset-based support over multiple years
  • Work toward outcomes
  • Demonstrate quality


Although the following strategies may complement our overall Foundation goal, they fall outside of our desired focus: Research, Nonecumenical organizations or programs, direct religious activities or organizations that receive a significant source of funding from sectarian solicitations, special events or sponsorships, and support to an individual.

Our Committee

James C. Burroughs II


Susuga Leiataua
Dr. Robert Jon Peterson


Sheila Williams Ridge


Samantha N. Diaz


Rinal Ray


Dana Mortenson


David Mortenson


Katie Mortenson


“There’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together.”

Photo: Northside Achievement Zone