Youth Speaks, a San Francisco-based youth arts organization, has received a combined $10 million donation from two anonymous Bay Area donors, as well as The Ford and Surdna Foundations – both long-time supporters of the organization.
The funding will be used to launch the Brave New Voices (BNV) Network Initiative, a seven-year commitment to support organizations nationwide who combine youth development and arts education. The initiative will award 25 grants ranging from $175,000 to $550,000 a year to BNV member organizations.
Applications for the first wave of grants are due October 1. Click here for more information.
Eligible organizations are those that provide youth with the opportunity to engage in spoken word and/or performance poetry. The grants may be used for general operating support, technical assistance, and staffing support.
“We are looking for partner organizations that are missions aligned, and have a strong desire to build their organizational capacity to better serve their youth and communities, and to help us build the field of arts and education/youth development organizations across the country,” Paula Smith Arrigoni, managing director of Youth Speaks, said in an email to The Chronicle.
In addition, Youth Speaks will host an annual conference to work with up to 100 grassroots organizations to develop their capacity. The conference will include experts in the field and the focus will be on expanding sustainable arts programs for youth nationwide.
“Ensuring young people are heard and mentored by well-equipped adults and organizations is essential. Small organizations can be highly effective, yet stretched thin and lacking meaningful resources,” notes James Kass, founder of Youth Speaks, in a statement. “This project aims to change this dynamic. By working as an intermediary, we can provide resources to the people on the ground, working with teenagers every day. Ultimately, stronger organizations mean more opportunities for young people to find and present the power of their voices.”
Judith Fenlon is the Money & Business Editor for The Imprint.