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Marcus Pope2013 Rising Alumni

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Marcus Pope builds cross-sector collaborations, and oversees research and evaluation initiatives for Youthprise. Founded in 2010 by the McKnight Foundation, Youthprise’s mission is to champion learning beyond the classroom so all of Minnesota’s youth thrive. He also co-chairs the Cultural Competency Committee for the Charities Review Council, an independent resource for people who make contributions to support charities.


Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach

CEHD Degree

M.Ed., Youth Development Leadership

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My maternal grandparents endured a lot of challenges in life. They persevered, stood for high moral and ethical standards, and loved their family. Some of the other characteristics they possessed were stability, humor, balance, persuasion, assertiveness, and a growth orientation.

What professors were most influential during your time in CEHD?

I connected with Michael Baizerman during my first year at the U of M, and at that point, I truly became comfortable as a student of color. He encouraged me to apply to a master's program and invited me to work with him as a graduate assistant. During this experience, I was actively and authentically involved in teaching, course development, research, and advising. Working with Oliver Williams as associate director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community was a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In over five years, I feel our accomplishments significantly transcended the years on the job. The late Ann Kranz is another person who had a significant influence on my career. She had an infectious sense of humor and exemplified remarkable leadership skills.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

My experience at the University as a former student and employee afforded me the opportunity to interact with leading scholars and communities from across the country, strategize with esteemed advocates on preventing violence against women, and travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland to serve as a facilitator for a research project focused on youth work in violent and contested spaces.

How do you describe yourself?

In my work I strive to be a human being first. I do not take myself or my job so seriously that I cannot find humor in my accomplishments or failures. I am not so preoccupied with immediate accomplishments that I lose sight of the people around me and how they are essential to achieving established goals. I hold myself to a high professional and ethical standard and believe in modeling tolerance, inclusion, and respect.