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Northern California Funders Invest Nearly $1 Million in Youth Organizing

February 2, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – The Youth Power Fund is pleased to announce a total of $870,000 in grants to 29 youth organizing groups in Northern California. The fund was launched in 2019 by foundations and donors that recognize the importance of youth organizing and its role in sustaining a vibrant, inclusive society. To this end, the fund invests in young people of color, particularly young Black and Indigenous leaders, who are creating the world they want to live in by reimagining and transforming communities and systems.

In 2020, the fund issued its first round of grants, awarding $30,000 each to 25 organizations. This second round of grants are also unrestricted grants in the amount of $30,000 each, for a one-year duration, with a planned second-year extension of the same amount.

In an effort to expand the impact of the Youth Power Fund, this round of grantmaking was extended beyond the San Francisco Bay Area to include far Northern California, Sacramento, and the Central Coast. Grantee organizations plan to use the funding to address issues such as mental health, migrant justice, environmental justice, lowering the voting age, closing prisons, and more. Beyond the grants, the Youth Power Fund helps strengthen the ecosystem of youth organizers, funders, and key partners; build capacity of youth organizing groups; and center youth as active leaders in grantmaking.

Youth leaders have been integral to the fund’s launch, design, and grantmaking decisions. “It was really great to learn about new organizations through the process,” said Joaquin, a 17-year-old organizer with the GSA Network who helped review applications for this round of funding. “Feeling like we made good decisions made me feel excited to see these organizations blossom and do good work.”

Read the Announcement


 

California Funders Announce Second Phase of Youth Power Fund 

September 8, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Following a co-design process with youth leaders, youth organizing staff, and funders, a group of Northern California foundations launched Phase 2 of the Youth Power Fund, which supports nonprofits that organize young people in the region and advocate for social change. In the current political climate in our nation, the fund recognizes that this is a critical time to invest in the power of youth organizing.

Grassroots organizing contributed to a pivotal youth voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election, with an estimated 10 million young people ages 18-29 casting a ballot — approximately 16 percent higher than in 2016 — according to research from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. In California, voter registrations for young voters aged 18-23 have nearly tripled since 2016 — from more than 800,000 to over 2.4 million — according to Political Data. 

The Youth Power Fund has released a request for proposals and will announce Phase 2 grantees by the end of the year. Eligible organizations are led by (staff and board) and organizing young people of color, women, immigrants, and LGBQ-TGNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or questioning and transgender and gender nonconforming) communities who are actively working to dismantle white supremacy, especially, but not limited to, Black or Indigenous membership groups. 

The Youth Power Fund centers youth in its design and grantmaking decisions. Phase 2 funding decisions will again be made in collaboration with leaders from Youth Organize! California, a statewide youth organizing network. 

“Before participating in the Youth Power Fund grant review committee, I had no experience with grantmaking ever. I learned a lot, especially about all of the youth-led organizations making real change throughout California,” said Joaquin, 16, who helped determine the fund’s first set of grants. Joaquin is a member of the Oakland-based GSA Network, an LGBTQ organization that empowers youth leaders.

Launched in 2019, the Youth Power Fund was developed as a result of foundations organizing and working together to maximize impact for collective change. Foundation participants provide funds and/or resources like staff time and are committed to relational work, community building, and community-driven grantmaking. Northern California Grantmakers and Youth Organize! California provide administrative and strategic support to the fund.

The Youth Power Fund is eager to connect with additional funders interested in supporting this work. Learn more here. To discuss partnership opportunities, please contact Kate Seely at kseely[at]ncg.org.


Investing in Young People on the Frontlines of Social Change

December 7, 2020

We forget, sometimes, just how young movement leaders often are. Representative John Lewis, who we lost this year, was only 21 years old when he and 12 other Freedom Riders launched a movement to protest illegal segregation on interstate busses. Looking back at his storied career as a champion of equity and civil rights, it is easy to see how Lewis’ experiences as a youth organizer set him on a lifelong path of civic leadership.

Youth organizing resonates with me on a personal level as well. Growing up, I was surrounded by youth leaders and organizers. The elementary school I attended in Oakland was founded by the Black Panther Party, and many of my teachers and mentors there were young adults who saw teaching as part of their work in advancing the movement for racial equity. They were young adults with a clear vision for the kind of community they wanted Oakland to be, and they drew on their experiences as organizers in their commitment to raising a new generation of activists and to creating a community where Black children and youth could thrive.

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California Funders Announce New Fund To Support Youth Organizing for Social Change

December 2, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today a group of Northern California foundations launched the Youth Power Fund, which supports nonprofits that organize young people in the region and advocate for social change. In the current political climate in our nation, the fund recognizes that this is a critical time to invest in the power of youth organizing.

Grassroots organizing contributed to a pivotal youth voter turnout in this year’s presidential election, with an estimated 10 million young people ages 18-29 casting a ballot — approximately 16 percent higher than in 2016 — according to research from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. In California, voter registrations for young voters aged 18-23 have nearly tripled since 2016 — from more than 800,000 to over 2.4 million — according to Political Data.

Read the Announcement