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

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


Contact: Kayla Ballard, Northern California Grantmakers 

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. 

The Youth Power Fund is pleased to announce its first 25 grants to youth-led organizations throughout the Bay Area. The $20,000 general operating grants will support youth-led, grassroots campaign work that advances racial equity and economic inclusion in the Bay Area. Two-thirds of the organizations are led by Black leaders and/or have a significant Black membership base. 

The Youth Power Fund centers youth in its own grantmaking decisions. As such, this year’s funding decisions were 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 Cruz, 16, who helped determine the fund’s first set of grants. Cruz is a member of the Oakland-based GSA Network, an LGBTQ organization that empowers youth leaders.

The Youth Power Fund was developed as a result of foundations organizing and working together to maximize impact for collective change. The fund is supported by Crankstart, the Gerbode Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, San Francisco Department of Children Youth and their Families, San Francisco Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, The California Endowment, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. In addition, Northern California Grantmakers and Youth Organize! California provide administrative support to the fund.

The Youth Power Fund is eager to connect with additional funders interested in supporting this work. Learn more at To discuss partnership opportunities, please contact Daniel Lau at dlau[at] 

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