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Purpose Driven Paychecks for Youth

A high school student is fixing a part on a car as a part of Career Academies programming

United Way Staff


The RFP is now closed. Thank you for your interest in the Purpose Driven Paychecks for Youth funding initiative.


The vision of Career Academies at Greater Twin Cities United Way is to unite public education and employment systems so that all students in Minnesota have access to wealth building and purpose driven careers. We do this through convening a community of practice, providing technical assistance, and investing in promising strategies and solutions. 

The Purpose Driven Paychecks (PDP) funding opportunity seeks to fill the gap that exists in our current school-to-employment ecosystem and will invest in partnerships focused on expanding the number and/or the quality of career pathways aligned work experiences for young people.  

For the 2024-2025 cycle we will award 8-10 grants for a period of 12 months with an average grant size of $50,000. Public and charter schools in partnership with businesses, youth employment organizations, and/or career pathways intermediaries serving students are encouraged to apply. Funding is available statewide.

IMPORTANT: Greater Twin Cities United Way has recently changed its funding portal to the software system Andar. To access this funding opportunity (and subsequent GTCUW funding opportunities), you will first need to register for an Andar account linked to GTCUW, which you can do by following this link to the portal registration form. Once you have submitted this registration form, you will receive an email within three business days directing you to log in to your new Andar account portal, where you will complete the full PDP application. If you have already submitted this form and completed your account registration, you can follow this link to access your account and the full application. Please refer to this one-pager for further details on how to register for your Andar account and navigate the portal.

Start a New Application

Key Dates for Applicants

Andar Portal Registration OpensJanuary 3rd, 2024
Application OpensJanuary 8th, 2024
Applications DueFebruary 9th, 2024 at 5 pm CST
Applicants Notified of Grant DecisionsMarch 2024
Grant Term BeginsJune 1st, 2024

Funding Eligibility

Organizations must meet the eligibility requirements to be funded. Please see the full RFP for additional priority criteria to strengthen your application.

  • Your Lead Organization is a 501c3 or 501c6, has a fiscal sponsor who has a 501c3 or 501c6 or is a public school district or charter school.
  • Your partnership serves youth ages 14-22 with a primary focus on students currently enrolled in high school.
  • At least 50% of students supported by these funds, identify as:
    • Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander and/or a Youth of Color
    • Family income level is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (may use Free and Reduced Lunch data to verify this criteria if available)
    • Live with a disability that presents significant barriers to employment
  • Your partnership includes at least one public school district or charter school AND at least one employer partner.1
  • Your partnership is already in place and has a history of working together.
  • Your public school district or charter school partner has existing career pathways 2 through which they are preparing youth for work experiences.
  • Your partnership’s student work experiences pay at least $12.50 (stipend or hourly) for a minimum of 40 hours per individual student experience.
  • Lead organization or the fiscal sponsor has an annual budget of at least $250,000.

For any special considerations related to these criteria, or any other questions related to the application process, please contact us at

1Additional partners are welcome and can include youth employment organizations, employer associations, service cooperatives and/or other partners. Please note that listed partners will be included in general grant communications.

2Career pathways are defined as a sequence of educational and work experiences aligned with high-wage, high-demand career fields that include access to college credit, rigorous and relevant coursework, and related work experiences.

Funding Priorities 

These criteria are not required but your partnership will be scored based on how well they meet these criteria. Partnerships that score highest will be most competitive for funding. 

  • Your partnership and use of funds primarily focuses on a specific population of young people (i.e. Black, Indigenous, Students of Color and/or youth living with a disability). 
  • Your partnership provides high-quality work experiences for youth OR you plan to work toward high-quality work experiences as part of the grant program. 
    • Greater Twin Cities United Way's Career Academies defines high-quality work experiences aligned with career pathways as latticed and stackable, allowing for youth to advance in one career field or transition to another, increasing in pay or experience. These work experiences should include:  
      • $15/hour starting pay and at least 40-hours per experience 
      • student choice in their design (e.g., students choose their own pathway and provide feedback to improve program quality) 
      • Meaningful certification or credential 
      • guaranteed employer benefits upon completion of the program (e.g., hiring priority, tuition support, etc.) 
      • employers demonstrating a commitment to youth development (e.g., mentorship, connections to professional networks, etc.) 
  • Your partnership’s work experiences are aligned to high wage, high demand career pathways within your local area
  • Your partnership’s career pathways represent student voice in their design (e.g., student advisory group regularly provides feedback on program design). 
  • Your partnership can demonstrate or is working toward a long-term, sustainable approach to high-quality, youth work experiences. 
  • Your partnership is bringing forth creative solutions that have the potential to influence the field of career pathways toward more equitable outcomes for youth. Examples include but are not limited to cross-sector programming (e.g., agriculture and business), culturally specific approaches, or multiple touchpoints within the partnership (e.g., guest speakers, intern hosts, teacher externships). 

Rubric Breakdown

Area of Assessment% of Total Score
Student Focus25%
Strength and Approach of Partnership20%
Sustainability of Work20%
Career Pathways Programming10%
Quality Youth Work Experiences25%

For any special considerations related to these criteria, or any other questions related to the application process, please contact us at

To make applications easier for applicants, we have provided a Word template of the application: Purpose Driven Paychecks Year 3 Application. Applicants MUST submit their application in their online Andar portal to be considered for funding. 

About the Author

Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive. Together with our partners, we’re meeting immediate community needs while transforming inequitable systems in the areas of housing, food, education and jobs.

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