St. Olaf College | News

Star Tribune highlights alumna leading Ann Bancroft Foundation

“I hope that, by giving girls grants, we will send them into the world feeling empowered,” says Katie Lauer ’13.

St. Olaf College alumna Katie Lauer ’13 tells the Star Tribune that her new role as program director for the Ann Bancroft Foundation “is all about encouraging young women to pursue their dreams.”

The mission of the Ann Bancroft Foundation, founded 21 years ago by polar explorer Bancroft, is to provide young women across the state of Minnesota the means to discover their passions and ways to achieve them. The foundation has awarded $1.6 million in grants to over 4,000 girls in the past two decades. And Lauer, just weeks into her new job, is determined to see both these numbers increase even more.

Having studied studio art and media at St. Olaf, where she also played basketball, Lauer is familiar with the underrepresentation of women and the need to lift up girls, no matter their area of interest. “Every grant shares a common goal of of helping girls push themselves, recognize their own abilities, and build confidence,” Lauer tells the Star Tribune. The Ann Bancroft Foundation grants are as diverse as its applicants, with options ranging from science to cooking to language, and more.

Having had leadership positions during her time at St. Olaf, including leading marketing efforts for the Student Government Association and serving as the social media specialist for the college’s Alumni and Parent Relations Office, Lauer sees the importance of maintaining a strong presence for those within and outside of an organization. In her new role with the Bancroft Foundation, Lauer looks to promote statewide outreach that spans beyond the Twin Cities metro area.

In Lauer’s eyes, success can start at any age and can have a lifelong impact. “I hope that, by giving girls grants, we will send them into the world feeling empowered,” she says.