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Youth Power, Youth Lead: Stories from the Youth Power Fund

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 -
1:00pm to 2:30pm PDT
Virtual Event
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How many times do we hear “the youth are our future”? Our guess is that each of us hear it, or think it, a lot. The Youth Power Fund operates from the participatory stance that youth organizers see their future in front of them and know what they need. Launched in 2019, the Youth Power Fund is a multi-issue collaborative grantmaking fund hosted in partnership between YO! Cali and Northern California Grantmakers. We are a network of foundations and individual donors whose individual missions span a range of issues, and who, collectively, value the role of youth organizing groups in advancing justice and equity for their communities today.  

We have just recently launched our second phase of grantmaking, and want to invite you into the excitement. Our central question continues to be: How can philanthropy see youth not as a means to an end (funding outcomes that matter to philanthropy), but rather center youth as their full selves and their full experiences. Simply stated, how should funders show up when “the moment” equals LIFE? 

The YPF has worked to create a container where funders, youth organizers, and youth share power and make hard decisions about limited resources. Youth participate in all parts of the design and decisions of the YPF, including design of each phase of the fund, grantmaking criteria, and grant decisions. Join us to hear stories from youth organizers and their experiences with the fund and hear from funders as to what they’ve learned from working collaboratively with youth organizers in this way.

Join Us To:

  • Get involved in the second phase of the Youth Power Fund!
  • Hear more about the participatory process of the Youth Power Fund
  • Hear stories directly from youth organizers about what they live, what they see, and what they need
  • Hear stories from funders about what they've learned from youth and how that's influenced their grantmaking
  • Learn about the second phase of the Youth Power Fund, launched recently on September 8th 


The featured voices on this funder briefing will be the voices of youth, from organizations like Californians for JusticeGSA Network, RYSE Center, and Urban Peace Movement. In order to protect privacy, we are not including their names or bios here. 

CJ Callen, Manager, CZI Community, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

CJ Callen’s career in the nonprofit sector was sparked by her passion for helping children and youth. Over the last three decades, As a philanthropy professional, CJ has managed grantmaking portfolios and strategic grantmaking initiatives; developed technical assistance and capacity building programs for grantees; and served on the boards of Women & Philanthropy and Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy. CJ has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to elevating the voices of those affected by problems, making sure they are part of efforts to forge solutions. Currently, CJ manages leadership development and capacity building for the Local Impact Team that oversees CZI’s Bay Area giving. She also serves as a Board Member of RSF, a regenerative finance institution. CJ’s career is anchored in personal and professional integrity, supported by a leadership style grounded in kindness and compassion, grace and humility, and rounded by a healthy sense of humor. CJ resides in Oakland with her husband Jeffrey who is an Ethnomusicologist and her pandemic puppy Pote named after her favorite character on Queen of the South.

Jeremy Gaspar-Lahoud, Co-Director, Youth Organize! California

Jeremy Gaspar-Lahoud is a fourth generation, mixed race Arab American and white organizer who has worked for and with grassroots organizations focused on youth organizing for racial and social justice since 1994. In 2004, he joined Californians for Justice as Long Beach Lead Organizer and subsequently served as Organizing Co-Director in 2007-2008 and Executive Director from 2009-2012. Prior to moving to California, he spent a decade organizing for racial and educational justice with African American, Latinx, and Palestinian youth at the Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago. Since 2018, Jeremy has served as Co-Director of Youth Organize! California. Jeremy lives in South Los Angeles on Tongva land with his partner, Maria, a high school social studies teacher, and their three children, Adila, Tecún, and Amar.

Dwayne Marsh, President & CEO, Northern California Grantmakers

Dwayne S. Marsh assumed the position of President and CEO of Northern California Grantmakers on September 9, 2020. He brings 27 years of experience in the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors with a career commitment to advancing racial and economic equity. Prior to NCG he co-directed the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and was the Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change at Race Forward. Prior to GARE and Race Forward, Marsh spent six years as a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and before that he was with PolicyLink and The San Francisco Foundation. Marsh brings to the movement his expertise and considerable experience in coalition building for regional equity and leadership development for policy change. His career has been defined by supporting communities traditionally marginalized from full participation in our economy and society to build power and leverage lasting systems transformation.

Prishni Murillo, Senior Program & Planning Specialist, SF Department of Children, Youth, and their Families 

Prishni Murillo was born in Mexico to migrant Central American parents and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where her family history and local culture led her into the world of community and youth development.  She has committed over 20 years to creating social change through a multitude of self-initiated projects, grassroots collaborations, community-based organizations, and in public service through current tenure at the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families where she has served as the Youth Empowerment Fund manager and Senior Program and Planning Specialist.  She has also served as an advisory and board member for multiple organizations whose missions match her passion for social and racial justice, community healing and youth empowerment including, the Funders Collaborative for Youth Organizing, National Latina Health Organization, Youth Together, and the EastSide Arts Alliance.  

Joshua Lee, Senior Program Officer, East Bay Community Foundation

Josh (he/him) has been leading in grassroots organizations in the Bay Area for over ten years. A focal point of Josh’s work is with youth organizing groups in his hometown, Oakland, such as Youth Together and AYPAL: Building API Community Power, centering the voices and leadership of some of the most powerful yet vulnerable populations in the region in BIPOC young people. He is driven by a commitment to building collective strategies towards racial equity, led by those most impacted. Formally the Director of AYPAL, he recently completed the Multicultural Fellowship Program at the San Francisco Foundation where he led their Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. He now is one of the leads on EBCF’s movement and power building grant making in Alameda County.


Contributing Funders:

The California Endowment, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Crankstart, The East Bay Community Foundation, Gerbode Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Stupski Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund