Welcome to Kinship Partners, serving Crow Wing County and parts of southern Cass County with offices in Brainerd and Crosby.

Providing intentional opportunities for meaningful connections
since 1986

Kinship Is Moving!

For 38 years, Kinship Partners has been providing volunteer-delivered mentoring programs to area youth. Through our foundational community-based programs and our school-based Lunch Buddies program, we have lived our mission of providing intentional opportunities for meaningful connections. Some of those connections have lasted a school year, some a few years, and many have become lifelong relationships spanning generations. Regardless of the duration, these relationships have created a lasting legacy for our partnerships and for our communities.

The landscape for nonprofits has changed a lot in the past four years, including shifting volunteer interests and donor engagement, and many nonprofits are reimagining how to best support our communities and those we directly serve. The Kinship board of directors and I feel the best way we can continue providing our impactful mentoring programs is to shift them to a larger entity with more resources and even greater community reach. The Brainerd Family YMCA has a similar mission and values to Kinship, and they have already been a community partner of ours, so we are moving our programs under the Y banner.

As with any transition, there will be some adjustments. Our community-based mentoring, the core program Kinship has offered where our mentors and youth enjoy self-directed activities out in the community, doesn’t fit within the Y framework, so we are sunsetting that program during this transition and will close out all matches by June 15th. Over the past few years, we have seen some natural attrition in community-based mentoring due to changing volunteer interests, so we had already been exploring alternatives to this program. To honor our matches, we are hosting a partnership closure event at our office on June 11th from 4 – 7 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to us at info@kinshippartners.org.

We are excited to share the YMCA will maintain the lunch-time school-based mentoring program that has been so popular for business professionals and retirees alike. Kinship staff will be transitioning to the Y and expect to continue serving both Brainerd and Crosby elementary schools with this program. It may have a new name and new home, but we’re excited to keep the structure of Lunch Buddies going. The transition of our staff to the Y will provide continuity of programming as well as expertise when developing new programs and enhanced mentor training.

In addition to administering Kinship’s school-based mentoring programs, the Y will also continue Kinship’s partnership with Crystal Cleaners and Hubbard Radio to provide Coats for Kids, the community-supported winter coat drive we have hosted each fall for over 30 years.

The Y will also continue our very popular fundraising event, Taste of the Lakes. Due to the internal timelines of the Y, the event will shift from November to spring, but the Y intends to provide the same great chef competition and beverage tasting the community has been enjoying for the past 35 years. To add greater continuity for these events, our current board members and myself will do all we can to ease the transition and maintain the level of success these events have had over the years. We want the entire transition of our programs and events to the Y to be successful, as that is the only way we can ensure our community can still benefit from our decades of mentoring services.

This is a bittersweet transition. So many local kids have benefited from Kinship since our inception in 1986, yet all businesses and organizations have a life cycle, and this is Kinship’s. I have a daughter graduating from high school this year, and this transition for Kinship feels similar to having a child leave the nest. While we reflect on our shared past with fondness and feel sad for that phase coming to an end, we are also really excited for what the future holds.

The Kinship board, staff, and I thank you for your commitment to Kinship over the years and for all you have done to support youth mentoring in our communuties. To keep our programs alive, we ask that you please donate to the Brainerd Family YMCA. In addition to continuing the programs we began so many years ago, they do so much to serve our local youth and our greater community.

Thank you again for your commitment to Kinship and local youth. It is because of you and our volunteer mentors we have been able to enjoy 38 years of mentorship in our community.

With immense gratitude,

Amy Gray
Executive Director
Kinship Partners, Inc.

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering our community through safe and trusting mentor partnerships. We welcome, value and affirm all youth, regardless of identity or lived experience.

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

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Coming Soon! This is where we will post articles about Kinship activities and mentoring in general.