Laura Beier Jun 22, 2021 10:12:37 AM 7 min read

Learning and Giving Back Together

The Twin Cities has long been a center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and small ideas that lead to big companies. As Minnesota becomes more diverse and a new generation of young entrepreneurs takes center stage, their work uplifting underserved communities has never been more important.

Programs like Fourth Generation, which is put on by our Resource Partner the Minneapolis Foundation, exist to support these up-and-coming changemakers. Fourth Generation offers hands-on experience in philanthropy for a diverse group of rising leaders who care about local issues and want to make a bigger impact. 


About Fourth Generation:

Since 2010, Fourth Generation has raised $493,000 to address critical issues such as mental health, youth homelessness, resources for immigrant populations, criminal justice reform, and climate justice.

“Every year, we come together to understand and invest in community solutions to a complex problem,” said Emily Lamberty, Chair of Fourth Generation’s advisory board.

Fourth Generation is composed of entrepreneurs and young professionals in fields ranging from the law to social services. Every year, they come together for monthly meetings where they connect with peers, develop leadership skills, and learn about effective giving while addressing a community issue that they choose together. 

After a kickoff meeting in the fall where they vote on a topic for the year, they research it, hear from local experts, conduct fundraising and pool their own contributions, and invite nonprofits to apply for grants.


This year’s grants:

Fourth Generation recently capped off its 11th grantmaking cycle by awarding $80,000 in grants to eight local nonprofits working to advance economic justice: 

  • ASIAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION focuses on increasing economic opportunities for Asian Americans.
  • BUILD WEALTH MN works to change the mindset of communities facing challenges caused by current economic conditions, as well as other factors fueling poverty in their neighborhoods.
  • CENTRO DE TRABAJADORES UNIDOS EN LA LUCHA is a worker-led organization whose members organize, educate, and empower each other to fight for a voice in their workplaces and communities.
  • EXODUS LENDING provides trapped Minnesota borrowers with a just pathway out of payday loan debt and toward financial stability.
  • JEREMIAH PROGRAM works to disrupt the impact of poverty on families led by single mothers through a two-generation approach – investing in a mom’s vision for her future and the education of her children.
  • MNI SOTA FUND provides training and access to capital to promote homeownership, entrepreneurship, and financial skills in American Indian communities throughout Minnesota.
  • NORTHSIDE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY NETWORK advances the efforts of lower-income entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis and surrounding communities.
  • UNITED RENTERS FOR JUSTICE convenes Minneapolis tenants to analyze their housing problems, strategize, organize, and mobilize around solutions to create affordable and dignified homes.

“This year’s topic couldn’t have been more urgent during this historic time,” said Julia Ruther, Fourth Generation’s Grantmaking Chair. 

Fourth Generation is currently accepting members for its next grantmaking cycle, which starts in September. To learn more, go to


Other programming:

The BETA Cohort is another example of programming for the innovation community that shares resources, uplifts underrepresented founders, and shares the stories of Minnesota founders.

Applications for the Fall 2021 BETA Cohort open on June 25 — learn more about the program here.

Check out our blog on resources and programming in the Twin Cities for femme-identifying founders to learn more about organizations working to create space for more women in tech.

Learn more about local resources and programming for historically underrepresented founders in our BETA Explore recap blog.