Funding Your Retreat

We believe that Youth Frontiers retreats are a worthy investment for your school. We also understand the challenges of working within your school budget. If you’re coming up short, then check out the resources below for additional funding ideas. It’s important to note that schools often take advantage of multiple resources to cover their retreat costs. We encourage you to contact our office with any questions or with your school’s fundraising success stories. We’d love to share your ideas here.


Your school district could support your efforts to bring social-emotional learning into your school. Ask them to allocate a portion of their funds to subsidize your retreat. Ask your PTA/PTO to invest in your efforts to improve school climate. They can use crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe or Yubbler to fundraise. Ask students to pay a field trip participation fee. Organize a fun run. Host a fundraiser like a house show or a silent auction.

Success Story: Cottage Grove Middle School, Oltman Middle School, Minn.

Oltman Middle School (OMS) and Cottage Grove Lions (CGL) formed a partnership to help support anti-bullying efforts and fundraise for local students to participate in the Youth Frontiers Courage Retreats®.

The partnership began when OMS approached CGL to ask for help funding the retreats. CGL came through with $1000 for the first two years of retreats. Then CGL wanted to help all the eighth graders in the district, so OMS invited Cottage Grove Middle School to join the partnership.

The partnership has organized 5K walk/runs, raffles and student dances to raise money for both schools to attend the Courage Retreat (that’s four retreats a year) and to cover bussing fees.  Over the past five years, their retreat participant numbers have grown from 200 to 300.

Students standing with arms around each others' shoulders at a Courage Retreat

Connect with your local Rotary, Lion’s Club or Kiwanis Group. Ask a local business or generous community member to sponsor or subsidize your retreat. Post your retreats on to receive money from donors across the country who support character development.

Success Story: Wrightstown High School, Wis.

Wrightstown High School’s local grocery store sells Wrightstown apparel and donates the proceeds back to the school district. The school district has given Wrightstown High these donations to help fund their Respect Retreat®.

“I am lucky my school district feels these retreats are important. I have made sure to advocate for the retreats and have also been able to get administrators to attend the retreats so they see how powerful they are,” said Lysa Van Dyke, Health and Physical Education Teacher at Wrightstown High.

Students talking in a small group on a Kindness Retreat

Write a grant proposal that connects your own school’s mission to Youth Frontiers and the research behind our retreats. Download Youth Frontiers’ Impact Sheet and Evaluations Overview to supplement your application. Check out this guide to foundation funding from Pearson to get you started. To find applicable grants, search the Foundation Center.

Success Story: Northome School, Minn.

Northome School applied for a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) grant from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to help fund their Courage Retreat®.

“I had to get a lot of information from our business office, and there was a lot of coordinating between our schools because the grant had to be written district-wide, not by school. However, the evaluation process was easy, and the data provided by Youth Frontiers through the online post-retreat survey was great. That’s all I used for the grant evaluation, and they accepted it as sufficient,” said Christine Lundin, a counselor for South Koochiching-Rainy River District #363. “Ultimately, if MDE offered the grant again, I’d apply for it.”


Search your state’s Department of Education website for specific funding opportunities. Visit to search a comprehensive database of federal funding opportunities.