To Celebrate 25 Years: Ann Bancroft Foundation Launches New Grant Initiative

The Ann Bancroft Foundation deepens its commitment to previous grantees, sustainable change in the lives of MN K-12 girls and a bigger impact on progress towards gender equity for Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN (October 11, 2022) – The Ann Bancroft Foundation (ABF) announced today that it is launching a new grant pilot program in honor of its 25th Anniversary year. The inaugural 2022 Ann Bancroft Foundation Trailblazer Fellowship allows previous grantees (Trailblazers) of an ABF grant and who are currently in 9th to 12th grade to apply for a new grant to fund a dream as a head start on their road to independence, college and career.

The Ann Bancroft Foundation Trailblazer Fellowship (Trailblazer Fellowship) is a cohort experience allowing for individual grants up to $2,500 paired with a network of support and development opportunities through connections to mentors, cohort fellows, and other services to fuel dreaming and turn those dreams into realities. As part of the Trailblazer Fellowship experience, Fellows will commit to a year-long cohort experience with no more than four cohort meetings. The Trailblazer Fellowship experience prepares Trailblazers to dream bolder as they prepare for the next stage after high school and deepen significant gains in their ability to succeed. The experience allows Trailblazers to thrive through connection, confidence, creativity, individuality, risk-taking, and courage.

The Urgency to Positively Impact Girls

Without a doubt, the last few years have impacted everyone, and existing gender disparity gaps continue to widen. In Minnesota, data shows that girls (grades K-12), especially from historically excluded communities, have been among those most impacted in health, safety, and education. In addition, data from the CDC shows that adolescent mental health-related ER visits have gone up 31% during COVID-19. Girls accounted for a 50% increase in suspected suicide attempts; boys experienced a 4% increase. Minnesota girls need us now more than ever. Thankfully, we know that self-efficacy is one of the protective psychological barriers known to mediate the effects of traumatic events. We also know that the Ann Bancroft Foundation grants allow girls to participate in activities and experiences that increase self-efficacy and equip them with the skills needed to thrive and believe in their ability to be unstoppable. For that reason, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and beyond, we are renewing our commitment to reaching more girls across all counties in Minnesota and deepening support and engagement to help them meet the challenges they face today while equipping them with tools for future success.

Executive Director, Ethelind B. Kaba, says, “Girls and gender-expansive youth are incredibly powerful. We know that and they know that! What they need is more investment and support from us all to realize their power, center their experiences and fuel the dreams they imagine for themselves and our world. At the Ann Bancroft Foundation we are committed to leveraging our role as a grantmaker to girls and gender-expansive youth into building transformational systems of support for girls across the state of Minnesota. The Trailblazer Fellowship pilot will help us to begin shaping that work. We cannot wait to see what our community of powerful girls do.”

How It Works

Eligible applicants must have previously received a grant from the Ann Bancroft Foundation. They must identify as a girl or gender expansive youth, be a Minnesota resident at the time of application, and be currently enrolled as a high school student in the 2022-23 school year (9th12th grade). Each applicant is guided through the application process by an adult mentor of her choosing. Mentors can include teachers, coaches, extended family members, family friends, or community leaders. Ann Bancroft Foundation grants are based on several factors, including need which can include, but is not limited to financial need, a personal or family challenge and other barriers.

Minnesota girls grades 9-12 (including those who identify as cisgender, transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender non-binary people) interested in applying for a grant can learn more at

25 Years of Supporting Minnesota Girls

Since 1997, ABF has awarded more than $2.5 million to 5,300 Minnesota girls in grades K-12. The organization also connects girls to mentors who provide guidance, encouragement, and friendship at a critical time in their lives. The grants are investments that have an immediate and lasting impact. These grants are about more than giving girls just money. For many, it is the first time someone believed in them, heard their dream and took a stand for them. Each ABF grant opens the window to a world of possibilities, providing a young Minnesota girl an opportunity she may never think existed.

For interview opportunities, please contact Kelly Plummer at 651-206-9852 or

The Ann Bancroft Foundation inspires and encourages girls to imagine something bigger. The foundation strives to build confidence and offer tools that will allow a girl to go after her dreams and feel supported along the way. Through grants, mentorship, and ongoing development opportunities, the nonprofit organization is giving Minnesota girls strength to achieve their full potential. Ann Bancroft Foundation exemplifies the spirit of explorer and educator, Ann Bancroft, whose leadership and personal and historic achievements have inspired all people to take on new challenges. Learn more at

About Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams. Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist, Ann believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams. Bancroft organized and led the first all-woman expedition to Antarctica, becoming the first- known woman to reach both Poles across the ice. In 2001 Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arnesen became the first women in history to cross Antarctica’s landmass.