Youth philanthropists have made +$19M in grants since 2001, new data show
Spirit of giving is strong year-round for young changemakers
Manager of Stakeholder Engagement
New York, NY — December 6, 2017. Young people around the world care about causes ranging from the environment to the arts to mental health to sexual safety, and they’re putting money where their hearts are. Through programs organized by foundations, nonprofits, schools, and local government, young people learn grantmaking skills and make funding decisions to impact real issues in their communities. Data from YouthGiving.org shows that since 2001, they have made over $19 million in grants ranging in size from $100 to $50,000.
Funds for distribution come from endowments, foundation budgets or grants, or direct fundraising by the youth themselves. Most of the programs feature a high level of engagement, where youth identify community needs; solicit, research, and debate proposals; and ultimately determine funding allocations. Participation in these programs is an important outcome in and of itself. Shares a 15-year-old participant from a Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada program, “I learned to get involved more. I have always known that women's rights are important. But never have I felt the way I do now about fighting for it. The people from the charity I researched made me feel like part of the fight.”
YouthGiving.org was developed by Foundation Center and a multi-generational advisory to capture the story and breadth of the youth giving movement. After robust data collection efforts, there are now 855 known programs in 34 countries, using a variety of models to shift financial decision-making power to youth. Jen Bokoff, Foundation Center’s director of stakeholder engagement, shares, “As the go-to place for data about philanthropy, this project allowed us to add essential detail to the funding landscape while empowering youth grantmakers to learn from one another. The data and knowledge about these grantmaking programs and their funding didn’t publicly or comprehensively exist before this. The power of young people to create positive change in communities is now backed by data.”
Participatory grantmaking—including these models that specifically involve youth—is on the rise, so sharing knowledge about curriculum, structure, tools, and practice across programs is key. YouthGiving.org has collected 270+ freely accessible resources so that programs don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Additionally, more than 30 youth and adults have been featured as experts, answering top-of-mind questions that youth grantmakers bump into such as how does knowledge get shared from a youth grantmaking program with funders, grantees, and the next group of youth leaders, and what are the top things to know about site visits?
Cecilia Clarke, President & CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation, shares how she sees youth grantmaking having positive impact on youth, their communities, and philanthropy more broadly: “We believe that investing in youth is not just about the future, it is about their ability to be leaders in their communities today. Our youth grantmakers direct support for youth-led projects and inform our overall strategy. They hold us accountable to the challenges they face every day growing up in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods as they actively engage in problem-solving around those issues. Young people are honest brokers, with contagious energy and vision for their communities that we should all leverage in our institutions.”
Learn more about the youth grantmaking movement and hear from engaged youth themselves.
Youth giving anthem video made by our youth giving community, with creative concept by A Different Kind of Animal (adifferentkindofanimal.com) and photography sourced from VII (viiphoto.com). This video is for internal purposes only and not for public distribution.
About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional hubs and its network of more than 400 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230, or tweet us at @fdncenter.