Dear ABF Community –

For 26 years, girls in Minnesota have turned to the Ann Bancroft Foundation (ABF) to invest in their dreams, and nurture their confidence, pride, and self-advocacy. Our founder, polar explorer Ann Bancroft, launched ABF with the belief that providing direct grants to girls would support life-changing experiences, helping girls build the confidence and character they would need to weather challenges they faced in the moment and throughout their lives. 

As we look ahead to the next 26 years and beyond, I’m excited to share our new strategic plan that will carry us forward with purpose. In short, our commitment to investing in girls and increasing access to transformative experiences remains unchanged.

Staying true to our mission and vision, we will continue to support all who identify as girls to live their dreams and imagine something bigger. To do this, we will strengthen and grow our direct grants to girls and deepen the mentorship and ongoing development opportunities that connect our community to life-long friendships and support

This work has already begun; in 2022, we launched our Trailblazer Fellowship, which allows previous grantees (Trailblazers) to apply for a new grant to fund a dream as head starts on their road to independence, college, and career. We are also increasing our traditional Ann Bancroft Foundation grants from $500 to $1,000. We will also build a narrative practice to amplify the stories of impact and inspiration that demonstrate the transformational impact of our efforts and girls' dreams. 

Our new strategic priorities will ground and frame internal conversations and the external work of ABF. They are: 

  • Helping girls build skills to navigate the challenges they face today, and 
  • Laying the foundation for future successes that strengthen our communities.

These are ambitious priorities; we encourage girls to imagine something bigger and we must do the same because girls need us now, more than ever. 

Existing gender disparity gaps continue to widen, and data shows that girls (grades K-12), especially from historically excluded communities, have been among those most impacted in health, safety, and education. We believe every girl should have the chance to live their dream and reach their full potential, and we see our grantmaking, mentorship, and ongoing development opportunities remaining central to our efforts to disrupt the harmful effects of gender inequities. 

This strategic plan was informed by the vision and leadership of the Ann Bancroft Foundation, as well as the Ann Bancroft Foundation community – Trailblazers, staff, board and committee members, parents, mentors, donors, activity providers, and peer and partner organizations – while maintaining the cultures and values of our founder, polar explorer Ann Bancroft. 

As always, we will center and amplify the voices of girls, listening to the dreams they see themselves, and surrounding them with a supportive network that encourages their confidence to dream. We’re committed to listening to and learning from our communities, recognizing the importance of gender inclusivity and fostering a sense of belonging

As we implement this plan in the coming years, we will continue to be accessible to our community. Our team is eager to answer any questions you may have. Please join our upcoming strategic plan virtual townhall on March 22 (register here), celebrate with us during our upcoming annual celebration on April 13 (more below), and invest in our mission.

As we move forward together, we are excited to realize new and expanded impacts to transform girls' lives and strengthen our communities. 

In joy, partnership, and gratitude

Ethelind B. Kaba

Executive Director

Read our Strategic Plan 
Register for our Virtual Town Hall 

You're Invited: 2023 Annual Celebration

Thursday, April 13, 2023

The Depot - Minneapolis

Join us to celebrate and honor the threshold of bravery that girls cross every day when they choose to Imagine Something Bigger for themselves.

Impact Award Honoree: Gloria Perez, Women's Foundation of Minnesota.

We sold out last year, so purchase your tickets early.

Get tickets or become a sponsor

Our Spring 2023 Grant Cycle is Now Open

Now Accepting Applications

The Ann Bancroft Foundation Spring 2023 grant cycle is officially open through April 1, 2023. Our grant amount will increase with this cycle. 

The grants are open to Minnesota girls in grades K-12 to connect them to opportunities beyond their everyday worlds. The possibilities are limitless, from horseback riding to starting a business to community gardening to pre-college trips to camps to exploring music and art lessons!

Know a K-12 Minnesota girl with a dream? Please spread the word and encourage them to apply.

We’re Here to Help

Email us if you have any questions about the application process and what it takes to receive a grant. 

Learn more and start an application

Leadership and Staff Updates

Meet Our New Board Chair,

Laura Fingerson

In her words: "This is my fifth year on the board! My first year was in 2019, and I co-chaired the program and granting committee, which meant I got to read and evaluate the grant applications. I loved learning about all the dreams Minnesota girls have and the amazing activities girls are doing with their time and energy. I still read and evaluate grant applications and hope to continue doing this for a long time!

ABF is growing! The number of girls we serve is growing, and the amount of financial support we are granting our girls is growing, our IMPACT is growing. We have a new strategic plan, we have new and longtime donors who believe in Minnesota girls."

We asked Laura for seven lessons she'd give her younger self. 

Read Laura's seven lessons here

Meet our New Program Coordinator, Lauren Skar

Lauren has been part of the Ann Bancroft Foundation community for a long time, first as a grantee in high school and then as a Program Intern in 2022. In January 2023, Lauren joined full-time as a Program Coordinator. 

Read Lauren's blog on the Power of $1000 on increasing our grant size. 

The Power of $1,000

Meet our New Program Intern, Melanie Vang

Melanie joined the Ann Bancroft Foundation in January to support our granting processes and Trailblazer events. Melanie is a first-year at St. Kate's, majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Spanish. 


Learn more about Melanie


In case you missed it:

(From MPR) Winter Play: How polar explorer Ann Bancroft finds magic in the winter. Want to know Ann's key to surviving the winter months?


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