Elevating Youth Voices
2019 marks Bright Promises Foundation’s 150th anniversary. In honor of our long-standing commitment to promoting bright futures for children and youth in greater Metropolitan Chicago, Bright Promises Foundation will be offering a one-time, special grant opportunity honoring and elevating the voices of the people who mattermost to us – young people themselves.
Youth-led change is nothing new, from the sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement in the1960’s to Malala Yousafzi, who fought and continues to fight for the rights of girls to receive an education after surviving an assassinaion attempt by theTaliban at age 15. Youth-led change happens globally and it happens locally. We believe that Chicago youth have the power and tenacity to make positive changes in their communities.
Far too often, youth voices are not invited to be a part of conversations on how to address issues that directly impact youth, their families and their communities. We want to help change that by providing grant funds for programs/organizations that amplify youth voices and facilitate youth-led community improvement.
$50,000 to Create Positive Community Change
Bright Promises Foundation believes, and research supports, that valuing youth engagement and leadership puts the focus on the positive contribution that youth of all ages make to programs and their effectiveness; this moves programs from being done “for” youth to “with” youth. According to the experts:
- Youth engagement supports positive mental health. An engaged youth is making healthy connections with peers and supportive adults. This is linked to less risky behavior and increased participation in activities that build community. Compared to their peers, youth who are involved tend to have fewer problems and better skills.
- Engagement is empowering. As the process unfolds, youth see that their voices can make a difference; they can help make their communities better places to live. Feeling empowered leads to many other positive benefits for youth.
- When youth take the lead, it helps organizations achieve program objectives. Successful groups give youth plenty of opportunities to provide input, which results in better programming.These organizations actively seek youth as decision makers and tap into their creativity, energy and drive. Safe spaces are created for youth voices to emerge.
- When youth take the lead, it is good for communities. Engaged youth tend to be more civic minded. Involving youth builds communities, which are then better able to support the youth and families that live in them.
(Summarized from CYCC Network (2013) report “Youth Engagement: Empowering Youth Voices to Improve Services, Programs, and Policy.”)
Throughout 2019, Bright Promises Foundation will amplify youth voices and help to facilitate youth-led community improvement through a series of special events and initiatives. Furthermore, Bright Promises will invest $50,000 in programs that engage youth of all ages to get informed, form their own opinions, take the lead, and work together to create a more just and equitable society. Five organizations will receive a grant of $10,000 to sustain and grow their youth leadership programs.
Who Can Apply
This special grant program is open to 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organizations from the greater Metropolitan Chicago area serving children and/or youth that have ongoing and existing youth programs where youth take the lead on recognizing issues that negatively affect their communities and actively work to create positive change. Programs must have been in existence for at least one year.
Organizations must be invited to apply. Invitations will be sent to organization in December 2018. If you think your organization has a program that is eligible, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2019 with the following information: (Note - Inquiries only accepted by e-mail.)
-- Organization Name and address
-- Contact Person and contact information
-- Age range of youth participants
-- Number of youth participants
-- Communities served
-- Short description of the youth-led actionable change program including how long ithas been in existence (no more than 1 paragraph)
How You Can Get Involved
Spread the Word
Help spread the word about this exciting funding opportunity on social media. Use the hashtag #givekidsachance and tag Bright Promises Foundation to join the conversation!
Submit an Organization
Do you know an organization where young people are taking the lead and getting powerfully engaged to solve a problem in their community? Send an email to Lauren Krieg to email@example.com so that they can be considered for a special $10,000 grant.
Attend the "Elevating Youth Voices" Nonprofit Youth Fair
At this, fun and family-friendly information fair hosted in 2019, youth representatives from 20-30 organizations across Metropolitan Chicago will have a booth where they will showcase how they are creating positive change in their communities. The “Elevating Youth Voices” Fair will include music, performances, speeches, art, food and more.
The goal of this event is to provide a platform for youth leaders, activists and change-makers to promote and advance their work, and to help engage more youth in creating positive change in their communities by providing information and access to other young people and organizations doing this work.