Upcoming Events

 Highlight upcoming events including:
o Way to Grow fundraisers/gala
o IGNITE events
o Volunteer opportunities
o Community events that Way to Grow will sponsor and/or attend
o Events for Way to Grow families (i.e. Family Game Night, financial classes, etc)

Introducing Jearlyn + Jevetta Steele!

Introducing Jearlyn + Jevetta Steele! 1200 600 Way to Grow

Jearlyn Steele

Jearlyn is a member of the internationally acclaimed family, The Steeles, who have performed from Carnegie Hall to Brazil and to the Super Bowl Live Verizon stage in 2018. Recently, Jearlyn and The Steeles were a part of the 2022 (Prince) Celebration at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota. For more than a decade, she has been the Entertainment Reporter for Twin Cities Public Television’s award-winning political show Almanac interviewing local, national and international acts.

As a keynote speaker, facilitator and emcee, Jearlyn has inspired audiences around the country and the Caribbean.  Maintaining her four-hour Sunday night radio show called Steele Talkn’ on WCCO Radio 830AM, has been a joy for more than two decades.  Developing and delivering her TedX Talk in 2016 offered a revisit of her Personal Values Statement, which has emboldened her as a woman, mother, entertainer, and student.

Musically, she has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Prince, Mavis Staples and more.  She was a frequent special guest on the national radio broadcast A Prairie Home Companion performing duets with music greats Carole King and Elvis Costello. Her vocal talents landed her a feature in the Robert Altman film, A Prairie Home Companion starring Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones and Garrison Keillor.

Jearlyn has served on Boards for Chrysalis—a women’s resource center and the Ordway Circle of Stars, who unite children with the world of art. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Innovation in Ministry at Luther Seminary St. Paul, MN.

In 2016, an Honorary Doctorate degree was conferred upon her by the University of Indianapolis and in October 2019, she received an Emmy for narrator of the TPT documentary, Flour Power. Jearlyn is a mother of two and a grandmother of three.

Jevetta Steele

Jevetta Steele s a member of the internationally acclaimed musical family, The Steeles.

She is most noted for her Academy Award nominated performance of Calling You from the motion picture Bagdad Café, which is certified GOLD in several European countries. Miss Steele is an original cast member of the Broadway, national and international touring hit “The Gospel at Colonus”, a featured artist on 2 operas (“Dear Mrs. Parks” & “African Portraits”), a recipient of 4 Gold records and an author of 2 plays- “2 Queens-1 Castle…an autobiographical music” and contributor with Don Cheadle on “Point of Revue”.

Ms. Steele has recorded 4 albums, performed on many major theatrical stages while lending her voice to national artist the likes of Prince, The Sounds of Blackness, Natalie Merchant and more. Her voice can also be found on local/regional radio and television commercials.

#BeerForBetter: Join Us For A Night Out!

#BeerForBetter: Join Us For A Night Out! 2400 1256 Angelique McDonald

Way to Grow is excited to announce our partnership with Lakes & Legends Brewing Company as their February #BeerForBetter campaign recipients! On February 27, Lakes & Legends will be donating $1 of every beer sold from two of their specialty taps from 5:00–10:00pm. Stop by after work for happy hour or after dinner for a night cap and support Way to Grow!

Come early and visit with Way to Grow staff, get your adult crafting on and test your skills with some of our preschool curriculum activities, plus a surprise raffle! We promise, it’s a goodie! Mark your calendar and make sure that you bring a friend (human or four-legged). We can’t wait to see you there!


Beer for Better! Sponsoring Way to Grow


Thursday, February 27, 2020
5:00 – 10:00 pm


Lakes & Legends Brewing Company
1398 Lasalle Ave, Minneapolis

Our children’s health and education: the best investment we can make

Our children’s health and education: the best investment we can make 2560 1707 Ivy Marsnik

“It was an accident,” Arthur J. Rolnick, Ph.D. says of coming to focus much of his economic research on children. “Since we [at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis] found the way states conventionally promoted economic development to be fundamentally flawed, we argued that we have to rethink economic development in this country. That led us to ask: What sort of policies and what sort of public investments were best to promote local economies?”

“If done right, high-quality, parent focused, early childhood education programs that begin at birth can make an extraordinary difference in outcomes for both the child and society.”

On a quest to answer that question, Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, his co-author and colleague, soon found themselves reading up on longitudinal studies of early childhood education programs and the latest brain development research. The evidence to support how critical the first years of life are in building a successful future was astounding.

What they found were very high public returns when investment in early childhood began at birth, and high-quality, parent focused programming was maintained through the preschool years. As the longitudinal studies suggested, when master level early childhood teachers are combined with regular home visits and increased parent engagement, children impacted are much less likely to repeat first grade or be placed in special education. Furthermore, they are much more likely to read at grade level by the third grade, complete high school, get a good job, raise a family, and much less likely to commit a crime.

“Essentially, we can show that if we do a much better job in getting a child ready for school, that child is going to perform much better through his or her life.”

“We have to rethink economic development, think of it in terms of investing in human capital,” Art explains. “And when you go down that road, and when you start to think about how important worker development and the quality of a workforce is, it leads you to early childhood development, birth to five– that’s where we need to be investing.”

Hear more from Arthur J. Rolnick, Ph.D. at the Way to Grow Shine Celebration, Friday, October 27. Art, a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Art is working to advance multidisciplinary research on child development and social policy. He previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a senior vice president and director of research and as an associate economist with the Federal Open Market Committee. Art’s work on early childhood development has garnered numerous awards, including those from the George Lucas Educational Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Health, both in 2007; he was also named 2005 Minnesotan of the year by Minnesota Monthly.


Rallying for Minnesota’s Children – Advocacy for Children Day 2017

Rallying for Minnesota’s Children – Advocacy for Children Day 2017 960 638 Ivy Marsnik

Advocacy for Children Day celebrates early learning and gives parents, teachers, early care and education professionals, and communities from across the state an opportunity to stand up and be a voice for children. Led by the MinneMinds coalition, which Way to Grow is actively involved in, our staff and several families we serve are gathering at the capitol in support of equitable, child-centered, parent-directed, mixed delivery approaches to state policies affecting families and children. The 2017 policy agenda MinneMinds leads includes:

Ensuring Quality Care Through Parent Aware
  • Fully fund Parent Aware to continue the expansion of high‐quality early learning programs throughout Minnesota.
  • Support existing rated providers and grow from 3,000 programs to 4,400.
  • Ongoing support for rated providers and implementation of improvement strategies, with a priority on stronger recognition and incorporation of cultural competency.
Increasing Access to Quality Early Learning Through Scholarships
  • Increase funding and access of State Early Learning Scholarships for in need children birth‐to five to attend high quality early childhood development programs (Prioritize children with highest needs, including those facing homelessness and in foster care).
  • Complete efforts to fully‐fund scholarships for low‐income 3‐ and 4‐year‐olds to serve 7,000 new, at risk preschoolers.
  • Add funding for high priority groups for 0 to 2‐year‐olds (siblings, homeless, foster care, child protection) to serve 3,400 new, at risk babies and toddlers.
Assisting More Families In Need Through Home Visiting Programs
  • Increase access and funding for targeted home visiting programs to include 7,000 children in high poverty.
  • Provide community‐led solutions to high‐risk families to help stabilize them and give them a strong start.

What You Can Do

Attend the Rally

Join over 500 fellow early learning advocates as we fill the rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Activities for children begin at 9 am with the rally beginning at 9:30 am. From 11 am – 4 pm legislators will be available for visits.

Register Here

Submit a Letter and Children’s Art

Whether or not you are able to attend the rally, we encourage you to submit a letter to your senators and representatives and tell them why our state’s youngest learners matter to you. Greater Twin Cities United Way  will collect children’s artwork to accompany the letters submitted.

Mail your artwork to:
Lulete Mola
Greater Twin Cities United Way
404 S 8th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Download Letter Template

Meet with Legislators

Meeting with legislators can be easier than you think. Follow these simple steps:
1) Find out who your legislators are
2) Set up a time to meet
3) Identify your main message and a personal story supporting that message
4) Follow these tips for holding a successful meeting

Who is Dr. Steve Perry?

Who is Dr. Steve Perry? 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Looking to the Second Generation – How Transformative is Early Ed?

Looking to the Second Generation – How Transformative is Early Ed? 2560 1707 Ivy Marsnik

Imagine a three-year old girl, born into poverty. Her parents may not have finished high school and statistically, it’s even less likely anyone from her family has ever graduated college. Let’s say she defies the odds and graduates high school on time, but shortly after, she becomes pregnant. She seeks help and finds herself at Way to Grow. As she grows more confident in her ability to create a different path for her child, she decides to go back to school, becoming a first generation college student.

It isn’t easy. She will face many challenges; How can I afford school? Who will care for my child when I’m in class? What about transportation? Where will I find the time to work, study, and raise my child on my own?  The unfortunate reality is that a disproportionately low number of first-generation students succeed in college. However, there is a path forward.

Her daughter already has a childhood that looks much different than her own. She will reap the benefits of a childhood where her mother knows the importance of living healthy, reading with her child daily, and advocating for her daughter’s education. Her mother spends time with her to read and uses everyday experiences as an opportunity to teach. Her mother is involved in her school, and this little girl grows up knowing her mom is the number one advocate for her education. The bar has been raised. Education is no longer simply a choice, but an expectation. With this, a second generation is born. She learns to pick up the torch from where her mother left off, and continues to blaze forward on the path of educational attainment towards greater social opportunities – A hope we all share for our children.

Powerful isn’t it? The daughter in this story is more likely as a second generation college student to persist beyond three years of higher education, and that much closer to earning her bachelor’s degree; arguably the most important rung in the educational attainment ladder in terms of upward social mobility. This is why early childhood education and parent engagement matters. This is why Way to Grow matters.

Dr. Mary Dana Hinton, 15th president of the College of Saint Benedict will deliver a keynote address at the Way to Grow Spring Luncheon.

Join Dr. Hinton as she delves deeper into the power of the second generation >>

Way to Grow Presents Dr. Mary Hinton on the Key to School and Life Success

Way to Grow Presents Dr. Mary Hinton on the Key to School and Life Success 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

2014 Mary Hinton HeadshotMark your calendars! Dr. Mary Dana Hinton, 15th president of the College of Saint Benedict will deliver a keynote address at the Way to Grow Spring Luncheon. In a time of challenges, her one hope is to improve access to education – starting early, providing families with holistic support with access to intentional programs as a way to ensure success. We are excited to hear Dr. Hinton share her personal experiences and passion for helping families achieve success from prenatal through college.

Dr. Hinton earned a Ph.D. in religion and religious education with high honors from Fordham University, a Master of Arts degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Williams College. She has extensive administrative experience in Catholic higher education, national experience with non-profit K-12 education management and school development, and a philanthropic background in the corporate sector. Dr. Hinton’s scholarship focuses on African American religious history, religious education, and leadership, strategic planning, assessment, and diversity in the academy. She is the author of “The Commercial Church: Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America.”

Dr. Hinton is a member of the Minnesota Private College Council Board of Presidents, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation Board of Directors, the International Women’s Forum of Minnesota, and the Bonner Foundation Presidents’ Advisory Council. Since 2012, she has taught in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education doctoral program in higher education management.

Event details:
Way to Grow Spring Luncheon
at the Walker Art Center
Thursday, April 28, 2016
11:45-1:00 pm
This is a free event, however space is limited.
Save your seat today at waytogrow.org/events


The Shine Celebration Live Auction Preview

The Shine Celebration Live Auction Preview 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

The annual Way to Grow Shine Celebration is just weeks away and thanks to our generous donors, we’ve got some great items up for grabs!  There’s only one place you can get them, and that’s live at The Shine Celebration October 23.  So come on out for a night under the stars and toast to creating bright and shiny futures for many moons to come!

Lake Superior Yachting

Experience a yachting adventure on beautiful Lake Superior! Grab 8 of your closest friends and climb aboard a 38-foot Carver Yacht at Barkers Island Marina in Superior, Wisconsin. Sit back and enjoy a cruise through the Superior Harbor along Park Point and the Duluth shoreline. Down rigger fishing can also be arranged. Potential catches include trout, salmon, and walleye, however, no guarantees! Lunch and refreshments will be served.

Grand Luxxe Loft, Mexico

Grand Luxxe is the pinnacle of luxury. Enjoy playing golf on Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, luxury spa, fitness and shopping facilities, a butler and a private chef in addition to private beach and pool areas that are intimate and tranquil. It’s the kind of extraordinary vacation experience you want, and the kind of service you deserve and expect. The Grand Luxxe 2 bedroom loft hosts many amenities including: gourmet kitchen, Jacuzzi tubs, terrace with a dipping pool and more!

Home Away From Home – Asini Greece

Spend a week at the Kalithea home in Asini Greece. The name, which means “beautiful view” truly says it all. The house features a pergola including an outdoor oven and patio seating, perfect for kicking back and enjoying the views of orange groves in the valley while looking out over the Aegean Sea. The 3 bedroom, 3 bath fully furnished house sleeps six. Asini itself is perfectly located on the Aegean Sea near Nafplio, a small town famous for its marina, open air markets, and fabulous restaurants and bakeries.  Ten minutes away is Tolo, a city with lovely seaside beaches, shopping, restaurants and boat trips to the Greek Islands of Hydra and Spetzes.  Also nearby are the theatre at Epidaurus, Corinth, Mycenae, and several wineries and World Heritage sites. And, in case that isn’t enough, you may opt to enjoy a quick day trip to Athens!

 Minnesota Good Age Cover Terry John Zila
Pillsbury House & Chef Terry John Zila

The historic Alfred F. Pillsbury House is the perfect place to hold a party for 8! This recently restored residence was built by Alfred Pillsbury, whose father founded Pillsbury Co. Explore the old world charm of this limestone and mahogany English gothic-style mansion and treat your guests to an evening of fun with Terry John Zila. Chef Terry will create a culinary dining experience catered to your taste. Whether you prefer a cooking class, a five-course dinner, or a lively social event with passed appetizers, the choice is yours!

Vikings vs. Rams

This is not your average NFL experience! This package includes four tickets with exclusive M Club access and parking pass to cheer on the Minnesota Vikings as they face the St .Louis Rams, Sunday November 8. The M Club offers all-inclusive food and beverage selections in a warm environment and is the perfect place to gather before, during and after the game!

August 1969 Minneapolis Star Photo by Jack Gillis of members of the Minnesota Vikings football team's defensive line. L to R: Jim Marshall, Paul Dickson, Alan Page, Gary Larsen and Carl Eller. Marshall, Page, Larsen and Eller later became known as the Purple People Eaters. Star Tribune file photo is stamped Aug. 14, 1969, ran Aug. 23, 1969.
Dinner With a Legend

If you’ve ever wanted to have dinner with a legend, this is your chance!  Enjoy dinner for 6 with Jim Marshall and his wife. Jim Marshall is a retired American football player who played defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings (1961–1979) as one of the famed Purple People Eaters. At the time of his retirement, he owned the career records for most consecutive starts (270) and games played (282). Sanctuary’s Chef Patrick Atanalian brings creativity and excellence into a setting with a touch of the old world. Patrick’s new American Menu allows him to select from all America’s ethnic dishes to delight your senses.

 Twins Suite
Suite Seats

Cheer on the Minnesota Twins from a Premier Suite! You and 11 guests will be in the middle of the action in this suite located on the first base line. You’ll not only enjoy the great view of the game from private, outdoor ballpark seating, but you’ll also enjoy a spacious, climate-controlled interior lounge perfect for relaxing, eating, conversing and celebrating. Plush, more comfortable seating and high-definition televisions are just some of the features of these unsurpassed entertainment venues.

Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet to Release Final Plan to Eliminate Disparities for Minneapolis Children

Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet to Release Final Plan to Eliminate Disparities for Minneapolis Children 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

On Monday, May 18th at 1:30 p.m., Mayor Betsy Hodges and the Cradle to K Cabinet will release their final report which finalizes a plan to eliminate disparities for children in Minneapolis from birth to three years old. Prior to Monday’s release the Mayor and her cabinet met with over 200 community members in March and received considerable feedback over the internet to gather input on the recommendations and strategies for the final report.  The final report outlines policy, legislative and collaboration recommendations for 2015 and beyond.

The Cradle to K Cabinet is one of Mayor Hodges’ major initiatives, with a goal of eliminating disparities for children in the City of Minneapolis from birth to three years old. The Cabinet has been meeting since spring of 2014 and began accepting community feedback this past January. You can see a full list of cabinet members here.

WHAT:                 Mayor Hodges and Cradle to K Cabinet release final Cradle to K plan

WHEN:                Monday, May 18, 2015, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

WHO:                   Mayor Betsy Hodges, Co-Chair Cradle to K Cabinet Carolyn Smallwood,
Co-Chair Cradle to K Cabinet Peggy Flanagan, Members of the Cradle to K Cabinet

WHERE:             Way to Grow, 125 West Broadway, Suite 110, Minneapolis, MN 55411

RSVP:                   By 10:00 a.m., Monday morning, May 18, 2015 to:
Alexandra Fetissoff Alexandra.Fetissoff@minneapolismn.gov(612) 673-3825

Way to Grow Celebrates Historic Milestone

Way to Grow Celebrates Historic Milestone 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

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