An initiative of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation


Frequently asked questions

Thank you for wanting to know more about Opportunity Rising: Our promise to all our kids. Below you’ll find answers to questions about how an increasing lack of access to basic opportunities is preventing many low-income kids living in our country and in our community from reaching their full potential. You’ll learn how it is affecting them and what is being done in our community right now to increase opportunities for kids and their families.

What’s creating such a disparity in opportunities for low-income kids in our country?
  • Opportunity to achieve the American Dream is increasingly out of reach for millions of kids in the U.S.
  • This lack of opportunity threatens not only the well-being of young Americans but also the shared health and vitality of American communities.
  • According to Dr. Robert Putnam, political scientist, researcher and author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, fragile family structures, disappearing jobs and a diminished sense of community are moving us away from each other emotionally and narrowing our collective sense of responsibility for all “our kids.”
  • We need to narrow this “opportunity gap” so that all children in America have the chance to achieve their full potential.
How is the lack of opportunity affecting kids in Duluth and Superior?
  • In Duluth, 3,346 children are currently experiencing poverty (21.5 percent of 15,562 children under 18).
  • In Superior, 1,038 children are experiencing poverty (25.8 percent of 4,023 children under 18).
  • In the Twin Ports as a whole, 4,384 children are experiencing poverty (22.4 percent of 19,585 children under 18)
  • The barriers they and their families encounter include:
    • Transportation
    • Housing
    • Health care
    • Out-of-school programming activities
    • Childcare
    • Job training
  • There is a significant difference in school readiness found among kids in the Twin Ports—showing that the gap is beginning at the earliest levels of education.
What is being done to change this inequity?
  • The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation (DSACF) was motivated by the work of Dr. Putnam to act on behalf of our kids in Duluth and Superior.
  • They applied for and received a $1.5 million three-year grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to better understand and narrow the opportunity gap in the Twin Ports. The findings from data-gathering listening sessions and interviews found three areas of concern—education, parenting and community needs. Ten organizations with missions centered on helping children and families in the Twin Ports shared in the grant.
  • The DSACF has launched a large, impactful community wide Opportunity Rising Initiative to engage Duluth and Superior residents to actively participate in narrowing the gap in opportunities for our kids in the Twin Ports.
  • Dr. Putnam told us, “Minnesota and Wisconsin have a history, actually, on issues like this. This is the place out of which solutions to social problems have often come first. I’d like to nudge you to get in the game and begin thinking about how this problem can be fixed, first here but also nationwide.”
  • Our goal is to, one day, say that no matter where a child lives in Duluth and Superior, no matter what their family income or their ethnicity, they have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.
Is any progress being made?

In the year since the 10 organizations received their grants (2016), here’s how they’ve already reached families across Duluth and Superior:

  • 2,272 parents, caregivers and children have been reached through our grantees across Duluth and Superior.
  • 65 children received health services.
  • 202 family contacts have been made between parent coaches and teachers.
  • 109 girls and 84 boys participated in leadership development.
  • 60 teachers visited with parents in the homes of their students.

Over the next few years, periodic assessments of community perception, activities and grantee progress will be made.

What can I do?


When we rise for our kids, we all rise. So I promise to:

Recognize the growing gap between those with opportunity and those without

Initiate action to effect change, one life at a time

Share stories and resources with my family, neighbors and community

Empower all kids to have equal opportunities to live up to their potential, independent of place and race

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Our promise to all our kids

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