From local government officials to philanthropic stakeholders to Living Cities staff, this story is one in a series that demonstrates the impact Living Cities has across the U.S. — connecting individuals and highlighting successful initiatives.

Marcus Pope
Vice President of Youthprise

In order to promote equity in our state, we need to uplift young people in a deep way and prepare them to lead today and into the future.

Although I was born in Minnesota, my family has deep roots in Mississippi. Seeing the disparity in the North while having a sense of the South’s historical roots raised my level of consciousness and influenced my commitment to equity. I wanted to work in a space where I could have the opportunity to actually make a difference for my state, my community and our youth — which I’ve found at Youthprise.

After nearly 10 years of working with Youthprise since our founding by the McKnight Foundation, I am looking forward to transitioning from my role as Vice President to President at the end of the year. Our work is centered around increasing equity with and for Minnesota’s indigenous, low-income and racially diverse youth. And we do that through helping others serve more and serve better. By mobilizing and investing resources, advancing knowledge and best practices and advocating for change, we are making progress towards a more equitable Minnesota — all alongside our state’s youth.

We are seeing rich diversity among our youth cohorts and in order to promote equity in our state, we need to uplift young people in a deep way and prepare them to lead today and into the future. I’m excited about our work with Living Cities and to learn from their expertise and ability to influence equity on a systemic level. Through Living Cities, we now have the opportunity to network and learn from individuals across the country that are dealing with the same challenges and working towards similar goals. Being a part of this learning community has me excited for our future and our ability to break through our nation’s disparities across every outcome area.

Published: March 18, 2021