Region Nine Area, Inc. Utilizes Community Impact Grant From New York Life to Support Surge Youth Leadership Program

MINNESOTA- Region Nine Development Commission’s (RNDC) nonprofit Region Nine Area, Inc. was awarded a $10,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life which will help support the online migration of the Surge Youth Leadership program. The program fosters self-awareness and leadership concepts in youth ages 12 to 18.


The funding has facilitated the development of the Surge Youth Leadership Program online training for social workers, school counselors, and other administration that will replace in-person train-the-trainer certification courses enabling districts to more easily adapt the program to their students’ needs.


“We are grateful for New York Life’s investment in Surge, which will change many lives for the better,” said Sara Sinnard, Surge program founder. “Without the support from New York Life, we wouldn’t be able to develop an online train-the-trainer program to expand regionally, especially during these challenging times.”


“I’m proud to work for a company that encourages its agents and employees to devote their time, energy and talents to support the needs and priorities of their local community,” said Judy Ringler-Mountain, an agent associated with New York Life’s Minnesota General Office “We are pleased that our partnership will have a long-lasting impact on Surge and the population they serve.”


Over the last nine years the program has primarily focused on female youth. However, with this new backing, the program is aiming to become more gender neutral. Surge is designed to help youth understand their own ability to control their future through their strengths, positive thinking, goal setting, and planning. Program modules include self-awareness, stress management, financial literacy, and other core leadership skills.


Phase one of the migration included producing the online training videos was recently completed. Phase two will focus on the online delivery system. Lastly, phase three will incorporate a new district to implement the program and benefit from the grant, free of cost, for one year. While the grant is now entering the phase two, the Surge Program is already looking to expand into a new district and encourages anyone interested in this program to reach out to Sara Sinnard at for more information.


The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations, which are championed by New York Life agents and employees. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 600 grants totaling nearly $8 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the county.






Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of community development, economic development, transportation, healthy communities, business development, and leveraging regional resources.


Region Nine Area Inc. (RNAI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to support Region Nine’s efforts to increase social and economic opportunities for local community groups, non-profits, and government entities in the nine-county region.