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New Women’s Foundation of MN Funding Supports Debate as Leadership

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Grants $25,000 For Today & Tomorrow’s Leaders In Debate

middle school debaters

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota has partnered with the MNUDL for over a decade now. We’re happy to announce that, through their newest grant cycle, our debate programs have been selected for $25,000 of funding!

Through their Young Women’s Initiative-Investing in the Field grant, the foundation is supporting organizations at the forefront of intersecting areas of economic opportunity, safety, respect, and leadership on behalf of and with young women to advance their YWI Blueprint for Action.

Learn more about how our debate programs impact young women: 

Boosting Confidence, Building Skills in Every Season

Financial Literacy Debaters

There’s significant progress to be made before women’s voices are heard and perceived as equal to their peers. Women have been historically underrepresented in debate, just as they have across all halls of power. But through dedicated advocacy from women leaders in the speech and debate community – including some of our league’s own competitors – more students of every gender are gaining access to this transformative activity. 

We are grateful to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for joining the effort to increase access and amplify the voices of all students. Young women, like Eavha of Patrick Henry High School, will gain confidence, critical thinking, and communication skills at a time we need it more than ever: 

“I’d like to be more confident. I’m very small – I’m like 5’3”, I’m tiny – and the world is very big! Sometimes it’s easy to feel very small and insignificant. I want to feel confident, to feel bigger. I want to be more comfortable with myself. That’s why I debate. When I watch other debaters, I think, ‘I could be just like that. Let me on the stage, let’s go!’” 

Creating spaces to celebrate the gifts of young women in debate takes both vision and support. The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota has made our women-centric debate programming possible over the years, including The Advocacy Unit, all-girl debate programming at Laura Jeffrey Academy in St. Paul, and our newest programming, Financial Literacy Leadership Debates. 

 

Women-Centered Debate in Action: Financial Literacy Leadership Debates 

Financial Literacy Debater
Debaters from our Financial Literacy Leadership Debates learn from women leaders in the financial sector.

First piloted Spring 2019, our Financial Literacy Leadership Debates aim to close the gender gap in the financial sector by building the leadership and financial knowledge of young women and nonbinary debaters.

This initiative was inspired by other urban debate league programs in Chicago, NYC, and the Bay Area, where student financial literacy increased by 35%. Participants learn financial literacy fundamentals while researching specific decisions they will soon face, like taking out student loans and purchasing a car. Competitions are judged by women leaders in the financial industry. 

In 2019, students learned basic financial literacy principles through the question: after graduation, should you purchase a car or take public transportation? Students were excited to learn this empowering information, applicable to everyday life. Chiamaka of Como Park Senior High School told us,“Before, I didn’t know a lot of this information. Now I can say, ‘Here’s what I want. You’re going to cater to my needs because I’m the boss and it’s my money and I know what to do with it.”

With this new funding by the Women’s Foundation of MN, more young women and nonbinary students will know better strategies to manage their money – providing new skills and self-sufficiency.

 

In these uncertain times, gaining access to confidence, critical thinking, and clear communication skills is critical for all students. Ensure young women continue to access our programs by joining our monthly giving program, Advocates for Debate