Guidelines Now Available for Elevating Youth Voices Special Grant Initiative

December 20, 2018

Elevating Youth Voices Special Grant Initiative Guidelines


Elevating Youth Voices is a special initiative and grant opportunity launched in celebration of Bright Promises Foundation's 150th anniversary. This initiative is focused on elevating the voices of the people who matter most to us– young people themselves.

Throughout 2019, Bright Promises Foundation will amplify youth voices and help to facilitate youth-led community improvement through a series of special events and a $50,000 grant program.

We believe that youth are powerful and that young people can make significant, positive changes that will improve the lives of people and improve the world. We want to support and celebrate Chicago youth who are actively working to improve their communities by expanding opportunities to showcase their powerful work and byproviding funds to organizations that promote youth-led social change.

Opportunities for organizations participating in the Elevating Youth Voices special initiative include:

        * Youth representatives from your organization will be featured in a year-long video series shared on the Bright Promises Foundation webpage and social media;

        * Youth leaders will display and present their work at a booth at the Elevating Youth Voices Nonprofit Fair (Saturday in May or June 2019, exact date and location finalized by mid-January), which will be attended by hundreds of people;

        * Your organization will be in the running to receive one of five $10,000 grants, which will be awarded Fall 2019.


501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profitorganizations from the greater Metropolitan Chicago area serving children and/or youth that have an ongoing youth program where youth take the lead on recognizing issues that negatively affect their communities and actively work to create positive change. This means that youth meet regularly and that the program must have been in existence for at least one year.

Youth must be responsible for identifying the needs in their communities, seeking solutions and actively working to fulfill those needs by championing change to address the issues that directly affect them. The organization’s staff provides the platform andsupport for youth to do the work.


Your organization must be invited to apply. The application has two parts once an organization has been invited to apply. Once you are invited, the a link to the online application form will be sent to you. The application includes:

·  An online form that includes the background and context of the youth-led program, a description of your organization’s approach to youth-led positive change, how youth might share their work with others, and how funds would be used.

·  Organization’s 501(c)3 tax exempt letter

·  Organizational budget from most recent fiscal year

·   Budget for the youth program, if applicable

·   A short video (at most 3 minutes) created by youth participants explaining: (1) The issue they have identified and how it affects their community, (2) the work they do to address it, and (3) how receiving this grant would be helpful/how funds would be utilized.

Specific directions for video submission will beincluded on the application form.

If you have not received an application invitation but think your organization is eligible, please send an email to by January 15, 2018 with the following information:

·  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 changeprogram including how long it has been in existence (no more than 1 paragraph)

Note - Inquiries only accepted by e-mail



 1. A selection committee will review applications and videos and select organizations to participate in the Elevate Youth Voices Nonprofit Fair (date and location announced by mid-January.) At the fair, each organization will be provided a table where youth representatives can share their stories, perform, present and showcase the impact they have made in their communities with event attendees.

Only organizations that are able to participate in the fair will be eligible to receive a grant. Not all organizations that participate in the fair will receive grants; however, there will be other opportunities and prizes for youth fair participants as well.


2. Organizationsthat submit videos may also be highlighted in our Elevating Youth Video Series, spotlighting young people in communities across Chicago who are getting powerfully engaged in creating positive community change. The series will be shared on our webpage and social media.


3. Five organizations will be selected to receive $10,000 grants in support of their youth-led community improvement work. Organizations will be notified in August. Grant recipients will be announced at the 2019 Awards event in October of 2019.



December, 2018 – Invitations to apply are sent to agencies and guidelines posted on website

January 15, 2019 - Last date to submit a letter of interest email to

March 8, 2019 – All proposals are due in the office by 5:00pm

April 15, 2019 – Organizations are notified if they are invited to participate in the Nonprofit Fair

June 1, 2019 – Elevate Youth Voices Nonprofit Fair

October, 2019 – Grant recipients announced at 2019 Awards event


Download the Elevating Youth Voices Guidelines